Tudo Bom? Tudo bem.
Blogger: Kyle Beasley
It honestly doesn't even feel like it has been 3 months, but sure enough, it has. Between the countless amounts of Acai that I’ve consumed, the very frequent beach days, and the days I spend laying in a hammock, I can say that Rio de Janeiro has most definitely been treating me well. It doesn't feel real almost, but then I get emails from Oxy reminding me about selecting courses for the fall and to start thinking about my housing situation for next year. It is then when I realize that this is actually just a six month study abroad program.
Since the last time I posted, I had the incredible opportunity to experience Carnaval! During the 4 days that Rio celebrates Carnaval, all schools are closed so that young people can all go out and enjoy the street parties, known as blocos, as well as all the other great times to be had. These blocos varied, while there were themes ranging from AfroReggae to Michael Jackson, there were some events with 1,000 people and many that had over 100,000 people in attendance. My favorite was a community bloco located in the Cabritos and Tabajaras favelas in Copacabana. While it didn't have the thousands of people like some of the larger events in Centro or Ipanema, it was much more personal and it really felt like everyone was there to have a great time celebrating their community. Another really cool part about Carnaval was that we had the unique opportunity to parade with this particular community. The event wasn't held in the famous Sambodromo, but there were still large floats and plenty of flashy costumes to go around. It was a great opportunity to dance, sing, and represent for this community that has welcomed us with open arms. Being apart of this community’s Carnaval celebrations has been the highlight of my trip thus far. To sum up my entire Carnaval experience, would be too difficult. I will say however, that it was unforgettable.
But, now that all of the Carnaval festivities have come and gone, everything is much more calm. School is back in session and I have also started an internship. In terms of classes, this semester I am taking 3 courses: Portuguese Language, Brazilian History, and Brazilian Social Debates. So far I have been enjoying what I have been learning, especially the portuguese since, it is quite helpful to be able to communicate with the locals. The classes on Brazilian history and culture are really helpful in gaining a better understanding about the dynamics of the country and the origins of its government policies. Hopefully they remain interesting. My internship is with Education USA, a US Department of State sponsored organization, that is dedicated to providing international education and cultural exchange opportunities for students all over the world. I am looking forward to working alongside the advisors in assisting some Brazilian students with the opportunity to study at colleges and universities in the United States.
Aside from that, myself and other students in my program have been working on a community garden in one of the communities in Copacabana. So far, we have been trying to just get the project started, but the main goal is to get the young children in the community involved so that it can be a place for them to not only grow food and other plants, but also for them to have a unique space to hang out and call their own. It has been a cool experience getting to know a lot of the kids living in the community. They are really funny and also really good soccer players, which I have noticed from watching them kick the ball around a few times.
As you can probably guess by reading this post, I am keeping myself pretty busy down here. Fortunately, I have been able to make time to just relax on the beach, watch the amazing sunsets from Aporador, and grab drinks with friends to just shoot the breeze. I cant wait to see what the next three months have in store for me, especially with the World Cup only a few weeks away!