Studying Abroad: Brazil

This week I have been reminiscing about a place that still has a piece of my heart and soul. A year ago  I traveled 6,000 miles to study abroad as Sao Paulo, Brazil. I had just finished my first year of college and it was my first time traveling internationally. Very scary, but so much fun. After three different flights and 18 hours,I began my 2-week trip, that little did I know at the time would change my life completely. 

Travel Airplane Sky Sunset

First things first, Brazil was beautiful and so much fun. I went to Brazil for a study abroad program with ASU and ended up making amazing (best) friends - that go to ASU too. My group was very small, there was a total of six students and two teachers, so you can imagine we got really close, considering we shared a hostel and spent 2 weeks straight with one another and even making some local friends along the way. 

 

While in Brazil my group visited various nonprofits all around Sao Paulo. The nonprofits we visited were: Natura, 4YOU2, YouGreen, Boomera, and lastly Quilombaque-  which we were more involved with throughout the two weeks. These organizations all drive with the mission of improving Brazil to be more eco-friendly and pursuing its community at the same time.

The mission of the trip was to have a cultural experience like no other. We learned about so many different aspects of each nonprofit and the struggles they face too. Quilombaque was the nonprofit that the education component of this program was mostly based upon. They asked our group to form a plan to increase their social media presence and engagement on their different platforms. We spent many days going to different historical locations that Quilombaque owns and preserves, like an abandoned cement factory, a children’s theatre, and a children’s library that still was running. 

 

After forming great friendships with the owners, staff, and even community members it was very easy for us to form a plan with motivation to raise awareness for this group. 

 

Looking back at it now, this was when I realized Public Relations was what I wanted to focus on at the Cronkite School. Crazy to think about that, but little did I know that plan changed my outlook on my future. 

Person eating nachos  

On the weekends and during our free time in the afternoons, we would all split off and go explore, grab dinner, and during that time we got a chance to feel a part of the local community of Vila Madelena. One very popular dining spot for us was Boteco de Urso. The staff there is by far the best staff in Brazil, in my opinion.  We were there almost every night and they always had us try something new each time we went too. 

new york city street taxi

My group also got to visit Paulista Ave, which is where the city shuts down some of its streets on Sundays and a GIANT Street fair happens. It was only a 15-minute subway ride from our Hostel. 

 

The subway system was not as confusing as you may think, except for the fact that everything was in Portuguese. But thanks to our 24/7 tour guide we traveled to and from safely.  We went to many tourist attractions like Faros Santandor, which is one of the most amazing views of Sao Paulo.

Throughout the trip I got to learn traditional dances and play some Brazilian instruments. As a group, we hiked up to one of the highest viewpoints too - where I almost had an asthma attack.

 

We got to visit a small city called Perus which was our tour guide Raul’s hometown , we would've been completely and utterly lost without him. The city has so much culture and history and the community itself contains some of the nicest and most welcoming people you will ever meet. 

 

On our last Saturday before leaving Sao Paulo, we got to go see a professional fútbol match and to my surprise we met another group of students who were working with our same program from the University of Notre Dame. Some of us even met up for dinner that night. It was so crazy meeting fellow American college students where we were in Brazil, but overall all it was so much fun hanging out with each other.

 

Lastly, we went to Ubatuba which is a 4-hour drive from Sao Paulo. Let me tell y'all that place is beautiful. The beach was amazing and we all just had a blast and enjoyed our last 2 days in Brazil.

three women standing on the top of a cliff looking down on the water

We did some tourist attractions too,  like visiting Project Tomar, which is a rehab center for turtles who have been injured from pollution, trash, and plastic from the ocean. 

 

Then our very last night we went out for a final dinner at a pizza place. The next morning we went to the beach and reminisced about our time, the memories, and all the experiences we had in the past two weeks. After a few hours, we packed up and started our journey on our sprinter bus to the airport.

pizza slice pulling from whole pizza

Overall Brazil was so unbelievable, all the people and friends I made I am so grateful for. Looking back a year ago, I never realized how big of an impact this trip had on my future. I miss this place, the community, and everything about it with every fiber in my body. Big thanks and appreciation for my new friends.  I love you guys so so much, and hopefully we get to travel with each other again someday. Sinto Sua Falta Brasil ( I miss you Brazil )

Bay Beach Brazil City

Note: None of these photos are from my trip to Brazil. If you would like to see pictures check out my "travel" story highlight on Instagram!