Olá meus amigos, tudo bem? Due to popular demand (my mom) I have been requested to keep writing to update you all on the carioca life! Here’s my attempt to consolidate two months into one post. Wish me luck!
I’ve been living in a homestay with a “mãe brasileira” and an Italian photographer (check out some of his work here (http://www.claudioserpentini.it/) in Copacabana, about two blocks from the beach. My “Brazilian mom” currently has one son who is currently studying in Switzerland. She can speak English, German, Portuguese, Italian, and a little bit of French (I think). Similar to many other cariocas, she doesn’t let her age deter her from having a good time. There’s been several nights when I’ve rolled in at 4 am or later, and she still hasn’t gotten back from going out with friends!
View from my room
During the month of January I participated in an “intensive Portuguese language course” at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, the university in which I’m currently studying at. The course was 5 hours a day/5 days a week and taught by two separate professors who looking back, were probably two of my favorite teachers of all time.
Learning to barter at a market in Leblon
I can easily say I learned more Portuguese in this one month than the 3 years of Spanish I took in high school, followed by another year in college. Not being able to communicate with anyone during the first few weeks was extremely frustrating so it’s safe to say I had a little bit more motivation to learn Portuguese, however. I also knew that my international business classes during the actual semester were going to be taught solely in Portuguese.
Last day of class for the ILC
The university itself, PUC-RIO (pronounced pookee), is said to be one of the best in Brazil. It’s located near the Tijuca forest in Gávea, a very wealthy area of Rio. It’s a little bit more aesthetically appealing than the University of Tennessee believe it or not, being basically in the middle of a rain forest.
After a few weeks of taking classes in Portuguese, it looks like it’s going to be a tough semester. Rather than taking notes, I’ve been spending most of the class periods writing down words I don’t know and translating them (there are a lot of them). I can see that I’m picking up more and more each class so I’m hoping it won’t be as difficult to understand what the teacher is saying in the next few months.
John F. Kennedy Building
We had a week off in between the ILC and the regular semester so a few of us decided to take a trip to Buzios, a beautiful city about a 3 hour drive from Rio with tons of beaches in a small area. We stayed in a House for a fairly cheap price when compared to beach house rental prices in the US. It was great to get out of the mega city for a few days to relax.
Statues of fisherman
That’s all I have time for right now, but stay tuned to more posts coming up in the near future!