Our current sending students are doing a wonderful job adapting to their new homes! Here are two letters from students in Brazil.
I have just recently returned from a 12 day expedition in the Amazon with a bunch of other AFS Exchange Students from around the world. It was amazing to connect with them and make friends. It was great being able to talk through both the struggles and highlights of the exchanges without the weird looks of your friends not understanding why that’s weird for you since it is totally normal for them.
Portuguese is such a difficult language with so many rules around pronouns but picking it up has definitely been the highlight of my trip. I can have basic conversations with the people around me and learn to improve to more in depth conversations without it being choppy and slow. Coming to Brazil with the knowledge of ‘Obrigada’ ‘Por Favor’ ‘Licença’ ‘Desculpa’ ‘Socorro’ ‘Sim/Não’, and now almost being able to have in depth conversations with people without them knowing I’m not a native Portuguese speaker? I always scream with my friends out of excitement when I am able to pull it off. Again, the key word in that sentence is when!
Something I think is important to take out of my short time in Brazil is that change is okay, that change is constantly happening around me at all times, and how to be okay with the unknown. Because of the language barrier, the disrespect for time (showing up at 9pm when they said they’d meet you at the restaurant at 6pm) and the cultural barriers, change is bound to happen.
The first day at my new school I was taken in by this lovely group of girls and they have been super nice to me over these past weeks. School right now is very confusing to me because it’s all in Portuguese but one of my friends who speaks English will help me to understand. My Portuguese is going ok, I’m still not able to speak sentences but everyone is helping me learn more everyday. I’m trying to understand and ask people what words mean but sometimes I get a little nervous but my friends here are super encouraging and they help me whenever I need help!
At the moment we are doing heaps of tests and I’m kind of not doing too well but the teachers and my friends have reassured me that it’s ok and I don’t need to stress about it considering I still don’t understand the language. At the moment my favourite class is probably chemistry because the teacher is so nice and I kind of understand it.
I have also tried a few new things that I would’ve never tried, like açaí which is like a smoothie-like texture made from the açaí berry that comes from the amazon forest, and you can add tons of food on top of it as well. It’s probably my favourite thing that I have tried so far, but i have also tried a drink called tereré which is kind of like lemon water with herbs on top.
Could Brazil be your destination? Find out more on our Brazil country page!