It is hard to believe that I am across the world in one of the most beautiful beach cities in the world. I know it has been over a week since I have gotten here but I have barely had the time to sit down and write about the experiences that I have been having out here. The reality of this program set in this week as we have already had two quizzes in Econ and a midterm in Marketing. Aside from the large workload that this program has, I have been able to explore this city while making some incredible new friends.
To say the least, I have been in culture shock. Between only knowing a few words of Portuguese and constantly applying bugspray, I have truly begun to see how the people of Brazil live. Communicating with the locals has been tough as only 5% of the people speak English. I have been able to get by using the google translate app. I have finally begun to get used to the 85% humidity and warm weather!
As much as I have loved eating at our favorite restaraunt Dom Churascos multiple times a day (great food and drinks), I have started to cook my own meals in our apartment. The feeling of being on vacation is starting to fade as I realized that I am here for school and my money is limited. My roomate and I have decided to cook most of our meals at home so that we can save money to do fun things like go to clubs, bars, surf, paddle board, banana boat and try new foods on the weekends.
It has been difficult to get used to the feeling of being foreign. Everywhere a group of us walks feels like we are animals being watched at the zoo. I now have a better understanding of how foreigners must feel. Also, the fact that the technology here is emerging has not been so helpful when trying to complete online homework as the WiFi is terribly slow and unreliable. Our hotel has not been able to provide us with a comfortable area to study in, so it has been a challenge to study but we have all been making it work.
I have noticed that Brazilians do anything they can to conserve energy. For example, the lights in most hallways are controlled by a motion sensor and everything is unplugged from the outlets by the maids when the rooms are cleaned. Yes, we do have maids that clean our rooms...very lucky.
To say the least, I have already learned alot about the Brazilian culture and about the culture we have in America. I am very lucky to have grown up in America.
This past Wednesday, we were able to visit the Esmaltec factory, which produces household appliances such as washers and refridgerators. It was amazing to see how well the workers are treated, yet paid less than R$800 a month. This company along with a major water company and the University of Fortaleza are all owned by the same guy. Talk about a businessman! After that, we went on a tour of a newspaper factory, TV and radio station. Very cool experiences that many people do not get to do.
Today was a national holiday here, so there was no school and most businesses were shut down. After a quick meeting with my team and professor regarding our business project, we hit the beach for a few hours and enjoyed the sunset.
This weekend, we are going to the second largest waterpark in the southern- hemisphere which has one of the largest waterslides in the world!
Next week, more components to our project are due and we already have our second midterm in Marketing. More details on the project and on my amazing trip will come soon.
I hope you are all doing great and I look forward to telling you more about these experiences in person.
Thanks for reading!