Gracie, Outbound to Brazil

Here we are already in the last day of March. When I started exchange, the thought of spending a whole 9 months here was very intimidating. I thought that it would last forever, and that I'd never get to my last months. I can still remember the very first day I arrived here, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking to myself "9 months here", over and over. It seemed impossible! But as the time passed, the days became brighter, and I started finding Brazil in my own heart, everything started to go uphill. I was interacting with some of the most beautiful parts of the country and the culture that you would only expect to find in movies. I was able to truly connect with the Portuguese speaking natives and learn so much about all the individuals I have been surrounded by since August. I changed families from December to March, and after I returned to my first host family. It is very interesting to see how much I can now learn about these people now that I can communicate with them, and now that I am willing to learn so much more. Now I only have two months left, and I feel like the time is going by so incredibly fast! I want to use this journal to send a message to the brave future Outbounds: I won't try to glamorize all aspect of exchange. This year has most definitely brought me some of the hardest times of my life so far. But exchange is not about living 9 months in paradise, it's about learning to be the word that you will hear over and over before and throughout your exchange: resilient. You will be faced with the challenge of leaving behind every comfort that home can offer and throwing yourself into a new culture, language and lifestyle. It will be very educational, and the most beneficial year of your life. Just the fact that you're willing to do this shows that you have a lot of bravery, and the ambition an exchange student needs to be able to explore the world. You will have times of hardship, but the support system around you is so strong, all you have to do is reach out, and I guarantee that you will find someone to lean on. You will discover so much about yourself, and how to be an independent thinker. Exchange is not easy, but it wasn't made to be easy. It's made to be a challenge, one that you will learn and grow so much from. I understand the fear of facing dark times in a new country, without knowing the language or knowing the people very well either. But as long as you approach every situation with an open heart and an open mind, everything will surely work out, and you will find home within your host country. You are going to do so wonderful, and share not only your country, but yourself with people from all over the world. You will make unbreakable connections from all over the world, and you will take the lessons you have learned throughout your whole life. This exchange is going to completely change the trajectory of your life, opening new doors to bring you to places the past version of yourself wouldn't be able to imagine. Good luck!

Click HERE to read more about Gracie and all her blogs