Em, Outbound to Brazil

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It’s been over 11 weeks since I arrived in Brazil, and I can tell you I could not believe my eyes when I saw 11 weeks. Life on exchange has gone by so fast and I want it to slow down. Living in brazil for almost the past 3 months has changed my life forever. I have already made great friends that’ll last forever. When you live in another country you must change your way of life and your way of thinking, and it teaches you so much more about the world. This is the best choice that I have ever made, even through the difficult times.

I pretty much have a daily routine down, I wake up at 6:30, head to school that starts at 7:05 and walk home after school around 1:10, school ends at 12:50 but I stay for a for minutes to talk with my friends. Then on Mondays I go to Portuguese class at 2, and on Tuesdays I go to volunteer work at 2, and on the other days I stay at my house. I live in the city of Arapongas and there are a lot of stray dogs in this city and every day on my walk home from school, the same dog follows me to my house.

For my volunteer work, I go to Das Damas, which is a place for elementary age girls can go if their parents work all day. I go for 2 hours a week on Tuesdays and I help teach them how to play the guitar. These girls are some of the sweetest girls that I’ve meant in my life and they always want me to teach them words in English. I also go to Interact on a weekly basis and I go whenever they have volunteer work. A few weeks into my exchange we went to a nursey/day care for underprivileged kids, and I went to the nursey to play with the babies and when they went down for their nap I went to play with some of the older kids. I learned with this is that even with a language barrier, you can still make underprivileged kids smile and laugh.

I have gone to Londrina (which is the biggest city in my district) which is about a 40-minute drive to hang out with the exchange students there two times. I am in love with that city and I love going there, especially since my city I’m in is so small. We went out with some of the exchange students but also with Brazilians and I have made so many great friends there and they want me to come every weekend, but I can’t because getting there is not easy, and the transportation here sucks. I also sometimes go out with my friends here in Arapongas but it’s difficult because my friends here are still in high school and they study a lot because here in Brazil you must take a big test to be able to get into college. I went to São Paulo within my first week of being here to drop off my host sister Ana, who is on exchange in Nebraska and I just got back from the beach with my second host family. We were there for a week and I loved it so much, it has been the best week of my exchange so far! That I didn’t want to come back. But school starts up again tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it. Like school is okay I guess but like I said people here study so much.

I have my first Rotary trip on Oct. 31st- Nov. 9th and I’m going to Pantanal and Bonito, and then on Nov. 15th we have our first district trip, and I’m also switching host families in November. Oh, and we also start our summer break in November, so you could say that the month of November is filled up, because my birthday is also in November. The people of Brazil have been helpful with helping me adjust to my new life. Not everything about exchange has been easy. Exchange is just a normal life of your country, not everything is perfect like you see on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. It’s a normal teenage life here and yes you get to go on trips occasionally, but it’s not every day.

Exchange is not easy, but I wouldn’t give this up for anything. I am in love with Brazil, and I never want to go home.