Barbara H. Padnos International Center
130 Lake Ontario Hall
Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?
A: I think of the beautiful beaches, hot weather, incredibly delicious food and fresh tropical fruit juices, the vibrant music -which always seemed to be playing, and the never ending warmth and friendliness of the people.
Q: Why did you choose this destination?
A: I chose to study in Recife, Brazil because I wanted to challenge myself and live in a place with a culture and language very different from my own. I had previously traveled to Recife and had fallen in love with the vibrant culture and laid-back beach atmosphere and I had desperately wanted to go back.
Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?
A: I enrolled at a Catholic university that was very old and in the heart of the city. A huge cultural adjustment for me was getting used to the laid back mentality that many Brazilians often have. I usually arrived to class 5 or 10 minutes early but the professors were often late - very late. Up to 30 minutes late! I quickly discovered being on time is not nearly as important.
I also had to get used to the "chic" Brazilian life style. Many households, including my own, have one or multiple maids. I had to adjust to having meals cooked for me, my room cleaned daily, and laundry done for me. It seems like a lovely luxury to have, but it was actually difficult for me to acclimate to having things done for me without feeling like I was being lazy or rude.
In general, Brazilians are also extremely outgoing and open. It was always really fun and exciting to meet new people and try new things. I always felt welcome wherever I went. Especially at family gatherings, like Christmas or Easter, when all family members would enthusiastically embrace me and kiss each cheek as if I were part of their family and always had been.
Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?
A: Recife, Brazil is a historical city on the northeast coast of the Atlantic. It is host to an abundance of entertainment and an exciting culture. It is a large city and there is always something to do or see. The culture is fun and exciting and the people exude never ending kindness and warmth. Also, the food is downright amazing.
Q: What advice would you offer?
A: Step outside of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to go out on your own and explore a country or culture. Don't let language be a barrier. Interacting with other people is one of the best parts of traveling. You will be surprised how much you learn and grow!
Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?
A: I wanted to become fluent in Portuguese and learn more about international affairs from a different point of view other than that of classes in the U.S.
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