When you first introduce yourself as a Foreign Exchange Student, everyone will look at you like a new creature in the world. It's funny to observe their expressions, some showing enthusiasm and some showing confusion, literally you'll figure out what they're thinking about you!
But, if you're in the same position as I was and I bet the most exchange students were, be patient! They will ask you about your family, about your host family, why you are doing that, how long you're staying and so on...
I'm Brazilian, and you know what everyone in America thinks about Brazilians... Well, with all these stereotypes, they will also ask you some stupid questions, such as:
- "Do you speak Brazilian?" NO, in Brazil we speak Portuguese. It's the same if I ask Americans if they speak American (?)
- "Do you play soccer?" NO, I'm Brazilian and not a soccer player. Even thought Brazil is known as "The Soccer Country", not everyone knows how to play it.
- "Wait, do you have two mothers? " NO, you first have to understand what a host family means. I have TWO separate families, my "real" one and the one I'm living with.
- "Carnival is the same as naked woman and parties all the time, hangover is only a consequence, right?" NO, Carnival does not mean naked woman everywhere and neither parties all the time. Brazilian CARNAVAL is amazing, we save Samba, parades, and exotic costumes (yes, they're vulgar, but they're incredible). And our parties are the best ever, everyone gets crazy in Brazil, this is the only part you got right!
- "Do you go a lot to nude beaches?" NO, and we don't even have that much.
- "Have you ever eaten McDonald's and stuff like that?" OF COURSE I HAVE, Brazil like any other country has countless types of foods.
It's all about time, don't ever give up!
One thing I’m learning with this experience is the energy you put out is the energy you get back, and spreading happiness around me is getting me back only positive emotions. I go visit my family and friends whenever I can and it gives me energy to come back and work harder every time, it feels good to know I’m welcome and loved wherever I go.
The deal was for me to stay here 1 year, and I extended it to 1 year and 6 months, now it’s almost time to go back home and face a new change again, find a way to adapt to the "new" environment.
But I would do it all over again!
- Travel opens your eyes
- It helps you learn who you are.
- You break out patterns and routines
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.