My name is Dylan, and in about 20 days I’m leaving for São Paulo, Brazil with AIFS. I live in Maine, and work as a waiter in my grandmother’s nursing home. I live in and look after her home, and I looked after and took care of her here for the past two years before she had to go into assisted living. While I’m in Brazil the house will be put on the market. So this trip is sort of a new chapter for me.
I’m an International Studies major minoring in languages. This trip isn’t just some summer vacation; for me it’s a step in the direction of a future career. I chose Brazil because of it’s vibrant culture and it’s economic growth in recent years. I think going there to find work after graduation would be a sound move.
Above all, I am a bit concerned with the transition: I live in a small quiet suburb, and I am heading to the third largest city in the world. I purchased Portuguese language learning software last September. However it’s no secret that immersion is the best way to become fluent.
I’ve been talking via email with Fabianna, the woman who owns the house I will be staying in. Along with another AIFS student, I’ll be there living with her mother Benedita. Benedita is 75 years old and speaks no English, just Spanish and Portuguese. The language barrier is going to be a tough thing to maneuver, however I feel that my language comprehension will skyrocket.
This is indeed complete immersion into a country, a language, and a culture that is not my own. It’s pretty scary, but I can’t think of any truly incredible part of my life that didn’t start out as being a little scary.