Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be 18-years-old and travel to another country, fly for the first time, and not know the language? Well, I can give you first-hand account on how this all happened to me.
To start off, an agriculture instructor from Hawkeye Community College talked to me about studying abroad in Brazil the first semester of my freshman year. I thought it would be an awesome experience; what a great way to travel and learn! Fast forward to a few short months later and I found myself landing in Brasilia, Brazil.
I was elated by the way everything looked; it was so different from the Iowa scenery. The buildings were all open with no doors; it felt so nice with a little bit of breeze and seventy degree weather. Right away we met people that were so welcoming and friendly.
The first few hours in Brazilia were spent in a mall, a perfect place for a broke, 18-year- old, college student. The mall consisted of shoe, shoe, and more shoe stores! Of course clothing, jewelry food courts, and small coffee shops could also be found.
After taking in a bit of the culture I stopped and rested for a little while, not realizing how hungry I was. This brought me to my first challenge: ordering a meal in another language was easier said than done!
Over the next week I experienced so much: museums, churches, government buildings, grocery stores, departments of agriculture and the nightlife. We visited different types of farms and so much more.
What I felt was a whole world of other thrills. It’s so hard to justly describe an experience on paper because how I felt is so much more then words can describe.
Dining out was always a new adventure. One night we walked to a pizza restaurant. On our journey, we walked along the riverside where the culture was alive and thriving. I saw locals going for walks with their kids, groups of runners, and my favorite part, the soccer courts. Many soccer courts were filled with people on hillsides watching.
On our way back we stopped to watch a soccer game. I was thrilled when a younger boy signaled for us to come play! Since I have been playing soccer my whole life and currently for Hawkeye Community College, of course I deep down wanted to play, and here was my chance. My friends were a little hesitant, but the Brazilians were encouraging. The feeling was welcoming, and even though they were speaking another language, a wave, smile, and a soccer ball connected us.
Another connection was the music; so many people were laughing and singing as we went out with friends from Brazil who previously studied at Hawkeye Community College. I saw a live band, and even though I had no clue what the lyrics meant, the presence of people dancing, bouncing around, and enjoying life was inspirational.
Some days, learning and traveling wore me out. At the hotel, it was nice to relax at the top in the pool reviewing the day, cracking some jokes, and kicking our feet up. Another day we were in the hot fields with agronomists from Eres Agrob. They took us out on their boat on the along the same river we played soccer by. It was so fascinating to be on the river on such nice nights. Again, my words fall short of fully detailing my experience, but I hope my Brazilian thrills could give you a glimpse of what life is like in Brazil.