It’s just about impossible to travel to another country without making constant comparisons to life at home. Since arriving in Brazil, I’ve noticed countless differences in everything from the food to the way that people greet each other. In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten used to the taste of espresso every morning since my usual drip coffee is nowhere to be found here, and I’ve also learned to use some Brazilian slang with the help of our class monitors and my host family.
Finding and leaning into these differences has made my experience worthwhile, but I also have to be aware of how I am comparing life here to my life at home. I need to make sure that I am both being respectful and open to the unique culture of Brazil while also being sure to not disrespect my home in the USA.
Before going to Bertioga, some of the locals told me that it was nice there, but there are far better beaches in the north of the country. Even with that in mind, the beach at Bertioga was absolutely breathtaking to me. The view of the mountains from the beach was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I thought to myself, “If this is supposed to be average, I can only imagine what the best is.” It was then that I realized how careful I need to be to not throw away my appreciation for all of the wonderful things I have seen and am surrounded by at home while still wholeheartedly accepting everything that there is to offer here.
Whenever I travel, there’s always a small part of me that doesn’t want to be seen as a tourist. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that I am an American visiting Brazil and that I am only getting a glimpse of the unique culture in Brazil. By recognizing this fact, I hope to finish strong. I will continue to be open to new, amazing experiences here while still being proud of who I am and where I come from.