Journal of an Exchange Student
I recently came across my journals which I kept while an exchange student. Using them as a starting point, I will try to write posts by topic, so as to assemble a sort of guide to Brazil by topic. I will include direct quotes from my journals whenever they aren’t terribly embarrassing.
Brazilian articles can be found here http://stuporglue.org/category/brazil/.
My Brazilian Qualifications
Brazil is an incredible place. My first encounter was in 1998 during my 11th grade year of High School. I participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange program, spending 280 wonderful days living in the small Brazilian city of Sacramento, Minas Gerais. I was able to also take several trips around Brazil including to the Amazons, the beaches of the North East, Rio de Janeiro, and the Pantanal.
In 2001 I was called to be a missionary for my Church. I spent two years working as a missionary in the greater São Paulo city area. I did service and taught people who lived in shacks to people with homes I could never hope to afford. I wandered and worked through twisted alleyways of some of São Paulo’s slums, through drug infested streets and through neighborhoods where each property took up a whole city block and where Jaguars and BMWs were more common than VW bugs.
Both the exchange student experience and the missionary experience exposed me to wide a wide variety of people. The understanding I have of Brazil is, I think, greater for having lived the two different lifestyles while there. I love Brazil and the Brazilian people. I hope that by sharing some of the things I have learned about Brazil that you will also learn to love it.
To finish off my short list of qualifications, I have read the Hunt for Red October, Sophie’s world and the Book of Mormon in Portuguese. I have taken a Brazilian literature class, and the Brazilian music I brought home with me from my trips are still in regular rotation on my computer and the family iPod.
Questions for a Former Exchange Student / Missionary
If you are going to be an exchange student(or missionary) to Brazil, if you are the parent of an exchange student (or missionary) to Brazil and have questions or something you would like me to write about, please contact me through this website or email me.