Wow… I really don’t know where to start. I just booked my flight, with one stop in Panama-to Rio, Brazil last night. This post will probably be all over the place. There are a lot of things I want to get out!
This is quite a random post after having just completed my postings for a trip in Eastern Canada I finished, but what the heck.
To make sense of it more…
The idea to go to away for school came from a friend who got back on a university exchange program a year or so back. Think he went to Australia and of course had a blast. He always had good marks though, and told me you needed at least B cumulative grade average. Which was true and a reason I never tried to apply for a whole year (I was about 5% off from a B)
This was something I didn’t have because I screwed up my first year like many students do! Although the last 3 years have all been over a B average.
I had never considered studying abroad, because I was slightly ignorant in thinking that my marks could never be good enough.
But anyhow, I figured I’d give it a shot, this was my last chance (with only 4 elective courses left). I went to an info session in December 2012. Everyone seemed interested mostly in Paris (I live in Quebec), and Sydney, Australia. Both uninteresting to me and way too expensive at that. PUC Rio in Brazil though, offering only 8 courses in English, fairly cheap living/food looked bloody awesome! So I was all in at this point..
So after months of filling forms, applications, letters, interviews, obtaining references and WAITING. I got it….
Photo by: Ivars Krutainis
About 8 or 9 students applied for the university in Rio de Jeneiro while there was only one spot. I don’t think i’ve ever been so grateful and ecstatic in my life. It may not seem like I’m excited but I have no way of showing this in writing. Let’s just say everyone around me-whether I knew them or not- at the time got the biggest bear hugs and kisses of their life!
The semester starts on July 1 and goes till December 2013. After the semester I’m going to float around Brazil surfing, eating great food, meeting interesting people and photographing and filming it all for another 6-8 months. I will be graduated from university and FREE.
Thinking I will couch surf for the first two months ( I already have willing hosts), meet people, and then find someone that I can rent an apartment with.
I hope to make a couple documentaries over the 1 year period (or more).
Some broad ideas right now are: Freight Train Hopping in Brazil, Graffiti culture, Reggae Culture in Rio, beer & food in brazil, and maybe a general one about the diversity of people of Brazil.
I’ve learned from a 30 day cycling tour that planning too extensively and in too much detail is stupid. On the contrary, I have had such amazing and memorable times while acting spontaneously and going where the wind takes me, so to speak. I am going to Brazil with an open mind and that means wiping the stereotypes of the people from my mind. I am not going to do nearly as much planning or research on the areas as I did for my bicycle tour. I’ll let the locals teach me the ways and point me in the right directions. They are the ones that have lived in Rio their whole lives. Much rather listen to them than taking pointers on a forum from someone who stayed at an all-inclusive beach resort for 7 days. Of course, I do not look Brazilian and this may cause issues. For the most part, I don’t think anything can be done about this. And anyways I don’t even know what it means to be or look Brazilian. Like saying your Canadian? What is that supposed to mean anyway? The idea that Brazilians and Canadians look a certain way is absurd and is a product of our love for generalizations. Brazil has a very diverse range of inhabitants. I’ll blend in, hopefully knowing some basic Portuguese by June!
My experience with answer forums have been mixed. They can be misleading and from the ones I’ve seen so far about Brazil are outdated and quite bias.
Everyone likes to travel in their own ways. Some people prefer to sit in a pool for 7 days in a row and drink at their hotel with the friends they came with. I met some university students who enjoyed this type of thing in Mexico this past February. I tend to find happiness in little things like a train rolling by, a neat scribble on a dumpster, or chatting with grandma at her families’ chip stand. These types of activities will be highlighted in some way through my films.
Anyways, I’m rambling.
But just to make you aware! There will be some interesting photos on the way