Students Studying Abroad in Brazil
By Ben Lewis, Director of Communications and Special Projects
Over the summer, Destiny Jackson, a senior majoring in Sociology and Film Studies, took part in Ohio State's Global Gateway Study Abroad program in Brazil. The program is open to students of any major who are interested in learning about the global significance of Brazil. Destiny received a grant from the Office of Outreach and Engagement to help fund her month-long experience abroad. During the trip she went to the cities of Sao Paulo and Araraquara in the southeast, and Salvador in the northeast of Brazil.
What sparked your interest in study abroad and Brazil?
I always wanted to study abroad. I'd never been outside of the country, so I really wanted to do that. I never like to travel places just to go out, I like to learn something as well. I also like the fact that this program wasn't just focused on one part of Brazil, it was all about Brazilian culture. You learned about a lot of different things such as farming, tourism, or race and gender issues and policies in Brazil. You also got to visit three very distinct cities so you weren't stuck in the same place the whole time.
What were some of your favorite moments when you were there?
Some of my favorite moments were just times that we got to really immerse ourselves in the culture. When we were in Araraquara we got to go to a festival for a Catholic holiday in Brazil. It was this huge festival that brings out millions of people and we got to go there and experience that. It was a lot of fun. I'd never been to anything like that. We got to meet a lot of different people there and it was fun to actually engage with the people instead of just sitting in a classroom learning about them or going on field trips, we were actually there with people doing what they do.
We also got to visit this non-profit organization where kids from urban areas got to play drums after school it was an incentive to keep them in school because they had to have good grades to stay in the program. If they did well they got to travel the country to play. It was great to see something positive that Brazilians were doing to give back to the youth there.
When you were there, what did you learn about yourself or the Brazilian culture?
I talked with the others on my trip about how we're not as technology oriented now as we used to be. We realized we don't need it to survive. Before, we thought it was crazy if we had to go a few seconds without our phones or laptops, but in Brazil we didn't need them at all and neither did the people around us. Being able to live without technology constantly being there was definitely something I took away.
And also learning to respect different cultures and just to be nice to everyone and respect everyone and be patient with people who might not speak the same language as you. My Portuguese is horrible and people were still really nice and patient with me, so coming back here I definitely want to be more patient with people who don't necessarily speak my language.
Do you have any tips for other students?
Just go for it! Go into it with an open mind. Don't go in with any prejudgments or expectations because whatever you think of it, it will probably be completely different when you get there. Be sure to enjoy every second because not a lot of people get to have experiences like that. Try not to judge. Just take it in and try to learn whatever they're doing. When I was in Brazil, time didn't matter there. People would just show up 20 or 30 minutes late and at first I would get really upset because to me that seemed rude, but I had to learn that's their culture and how they do things so I'm here to immerse myself in the culture and not judge what they're doing. I'm here to learn not judge.