There are not many people who can personify the word “passion” as much as Bobby Mook does. In his 20 years he has traveled all over the world. These trips don’t include resorts and fine amenities, but a real immersion into the culture of each respective place. In an interview with Bobby I could not help but be impressed and inspired at the amount of living he has done already. To name a few places this guy has been would put any of us to shame: Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Greece, Italy, France, Honduras, Belgium, Panama, Chile, Argentina. Yeah, I know...kind of makes you feel a little less cultured and a lot less experienced. I sat down with Bobby to hear a little more about one adventure specifically: teaching English in Brazil.
HC: Tell us a little about your adventures in other countries? Even though I’m sure that’s a hard task.
In England: I watched my little brother get in a staring contest with the royal guard. As a 9th grader, English stereotypes were still hilarious (and as a sophomore in college that hasn’t changed).
In Greece: sunsets in San Torini, a Greek volcanic island, were the most beautiful I have ever seen. The way the light hit the island, ocean and white housing can’t be beat.
In Italy: both the Vatican and Venice were incredible but I think my favorite memory was throwing the coin in Fontana de Trevi (the wishing fountain) and wishing for another delicious gelato.
In Honduras I got scuba certified during one week, and later stayed in a jungle lodge where I one day while cliff diving came so close to drowning that I had a dream where I saw the light. During our trip to Mexico, I would say seeing one of the wonders of the world is always awesome, so I’ve got to say Chichen Itza was the coolest but also swimming with dozens of 18+ foot whale sharks so close I could touch them was exhilarating.
HC: And would you say Brazil was your favorite?
Bobby: My favorite trip was Brazil for many reasons but the main one being I went somewhere completely new with no friends or family and set down roots and made a Brazilian family, fell in love with their culture and learned their language.
HC: Tell us more about your trip there.
Bobby: My time in Brazil was incredible. I had only taken a few Portuguese lessons before going but over my two months spent in near-complete immersion I developed very strong Portuguese. For the first six weeks, I did an internship at an NGO teaching English to 15 different classes of over 150 high school age students.
The NGO, Guardinha, is an amazing organization in that it is a completely sustainable charity. They are funded by local companies and business and then educate poor children from the slums and if the children graduate they are guaranteed a job at one of the sponsoring companies ensuring that these poor families will have a breadwinner.
The real exploring started after the internship where my best friend from campinas, Hari, a good friend from the US, Max and I went to 7 different cities in 3 different states in 2 weeks. Over those 2 weeks we pulled 4 all-nighters, went to our first gay bar, saw a giant forrol concert for free, were invited to many Brazilian BBQ’s, surfed, saw countless tourist attractions like Christ the Redeemer, Pao de acucar, churches in Ouro Preto, we went to a funk party in Rocinha, the biggest slum in all of Latin America and were the only white people there among 2000 favalados, we went hangliding, and all in between meet many amazing people from many places around the world.
HC: What’s your favorite quote?
Bobby: “Live today as if you were to die tomorrow, learn today as if you were to live forever.” – M. Gandhi
HC: What’s your favorite memory at UNC so far?
Bobby: So many to pick from … I would say Spring Break in Miami, the food fight on the AIESEC retreat, or every sunset I was able to watch from Morrison’s roof are at the top of the list.
HC: What do you plan to do after graduation?
Bobby: I want to be doing business for firms that focus in international public health. Ideally, I will do consulting first then enter an industry where I can make a sustainable difference.