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Brasão da PUC-Rio

Coordenação Central de Cooperação Internacional

Incoming Students

International Students' testimonials

United States - Santa Barbara - University of California

Miguel Valdivia

If I had to describe Brazil in one word it would have to be the word ‘extra’ as they always seem to be operating on the next level of friendliness, quirkiness, relaxation, joyfulness, and culture (at least compared to what I am accustomed to). The most blaring example of this is the fact that they’re linguistic outliers in their respective region of the world maintaining the Portuguese language despite it  being geographically encircled by Hispanophone countries. However, to befriend a Brazilian is as easy as sending a friend request on Facebook, unlike in the US where it is easy to become an acquaintance but considerably more difficult to break into a circle of friends.

Furthermore, hands are never used to handle food—including pizza and burgers. All is done with silverware or napkins. Also, Brazilians enthusiastically participate in the Black Friday madness but they do not observe Thanksgiving or anything resembling it. They just unabashedly storm stores for Christmas deals on the 3rd Friday of November as another form of expressing their ‘Extraness.’

Moreover, inserting myself into a culture not my own where hardly anyone spoke English only compounded to the shock I experienced while abroad. Still it was a healthy shock that I believe everyone needs at least once in a lifetime. I cultivated an independence and cultural literacy that was unlike anything that simply ‘going away to college’ could have ever accomplished. I’ve met countless people from around the world, of different ages, ethnicities, and linguistic backgrounds in Brazil that it has made me want to work abroad in some capacity in the future. I also now intend on declaring a Minor in Portuguese upon returning to the University of California.

Thank you to everyone at CCCI por tudo!


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