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Coming To America: Leticia Nunes

When the topic of Brazil is brought up people tend to first think about the extravagant nature of Carnival,  the grandeur of the 2016 Summer Olympics or even the exoticness of the Amazon rainforest. Movies gravitate towards the same stereotypical theme of a continuous party, such as Rio, James Bond: Moonraker and Fast and Furious 5. Although Brazilians cherish parties, their culture is much more complex and personal.

Leticia Nunes is no normal Florida State University sophomore. Born in São Paulo, Nunes grew up in a developing country with a completely unique set of values and culture, distinct from the United States. Moving to Chile at the age of 5, she cultivated a deeper understanding of the English language, after attending a private school taught primarily in English. Fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, language was capitalized in the private institutions of Brazil and Chile. After returning to her birthplace, São Paulo Brazil, at the age of 8, Nunes was reunited with her childhood home and life.

Deciding to provide a greater range of opportunities for herself and her family, Leticia Nunes advocated that they move to the United States where she would finish high school at the benefit of going to an American college. University in Brazil differs from the United States in that the Vestibular exam is a more advanced and more cumulative form of the SAT. Questions directed at a range of topics rather than just simply reading and math, the Vestibular favors the rich with greater schooling advantages. Whereas, the SAT’s are more generalized. But leaving Brazil meant leaving her friends, family and her home of São Paulo.

Hollywood films depicted high school’s in the United States to be filled with mean girls and jocks who projected little warmth to their classmates. Coming from an environment of love and caring relations with everyone she knew, Leticia Nunes was nervous about adjusting to the new climate. Strictly basing her concerns on her knowledge of the United States through teenage angst movies, Nunes cultivated a hardened persona to fit in.

In Brazil, life is celebrated. Not simply Carnival and other parties, but all aspects of family, religion and culture. Whether she was going to her grandparents for Sunday dinner or going to the beach party for New Year’s Eve, celebrations were had and memories were made. Nunes described her life in São Paulo as closer and more affectionate. Everyone from her doctors to her teachers was part of the same community- treating one another with respect, while also cherishing the strong and loving bond formed. Leaving all that behind, Nunes was unsure of what her life would be like without the sense of community she had been raised with.

Moving at the age of 16 to Orlando, Florida from São Paulo, Brazil, Leticia Nunes began her new life. Pleasantly surprised by how different the United States was from its movies, Nunes found her place and worked hard in school to achieve her goals of receiving the greatest opportunities available. Continuing her education at Florida State University, Leticia Nunes started a new life, always honoring her roots of São Paulo, and remembering to celebrate the little things in life every day.

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A fourth-year student at Florida State University, Gabrielle is striving towards a major in Digitial Media Production with a minor in Innovations.
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