By Antoinette Myers '12Guest Writer
Boa tarde e saudações do Brasil!
Hey y’all! My name is Antoinette and I’m currently studying abroad in one of the most diverse cities in the world, Salvador da Bahia, in the beautiful country of Brazil! I’ve been living here since June and what an adventure it has been! I live in the neighborhood of Barra, (pronounced ba-ha), about two blocks away from the beach, and it is absolutely gorgeous. From my window, I can see the Atlantic Ocean and the island of Itaparica. In the afternoons, the sounds of MPB and Pagode music float on the hot sea breeze towards my room. In the kitchen, there is always bread, beans and rice on the stove, and usually I wake up so late in the afternoon, that my family friends are in the kitchen crowded around the T.V. watching novelas and American movies and TV shows dubbed in Portuguese, like Life Size and Everybody Hates Chris. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been to Praia do Forte, a beautiful beach up the coast; the Pelourinho, an amazing colorful part of town filled with Baianas selling acarajé (deep fried bean fritters) and men doing Capoeira; and my favorite place in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is beautiful and it’s filled with gorgeous beaches, lush natural beauty, and amazing restaurants. I stayed in Ipanema, ate an American breakfast at Chaika, and danced to Adriana Calcanhotto’s “Maresia” at Copacabana. If you ask me what my favorite thing to do here in Brazil is, I’d tell you that I absolutely love going to the beach and reading in the sun, and I really enjoy painting in my room while the sunshine streams in through my window. In my city, the people are easygoing and time isn’t really of the essence. During my first week of classes, none of my professors or fellow students showed up for class. And even in October, it’s not unusual for professors to not assign any work nor show up to give a planned lecture. While it took awhile to get used to, it’s honestly helped me to be a more relaxed student who enjoys the free time that I have a lot more. I’ve also read a lot of books, blogged for hours on end, watched a lot of movies, and a lot of reruns of American TV shows like “The Golden Girls,” “The L Word,” and “Law and Order: SVU.”
Since I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot of Portuguese, but it bums me out that it will be hard to keep up once I return to Claremont, due to the lack of a Portuguese program at the Colleges. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help out with a Portuguese table during lunch and of course, I’ll be at the pool in my Brazilian bikini waiting to practice the language with anyone who wants to join me for a chat about life and the world! Some of the best experiences that I’ve had this semester include going to the Cristo Redentor, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, learning the dance of Orixás in Pelourinho, dancing Samba at the very popular school of Samba, Mangueira. If you decide to come to Brazil for study abroad, I recommend that you remember to bring things that you’ll miss from America, like your favorite hair products, must-have clothing items, and favorite books and movies. For me, and you might laugh, I constantly craved Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and maple syrup, two things which absolutely do not exist here in Brazil. If you can, try to learn some Portuguese before you come! Even though we have a required Portuguese class throughout the semester, it’s best to come with some grasp of the language because just speaking Spanish doesn’t cut it. I highly recommend the Living Language series. Also be sure to let go of your pre-conceived notions and misconceptions th
at you have about Brazil, read more than just the Wikipedia article about the country, and be aware of the privileges that you have when you travel abroad as an American.
Brazil is an amazing country If you have any questions about my experiences here, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer any questions, or you could just bug me when I’m back on campus next semester. Until then, tchau tchau and beijinhos!