As a director, I would change...

Sao Paulo Travel Blog

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    If I were the director of this study abroad program, I would only make a few changes to the actual agenda. Buenos Aires is a very interesting city, and I definitely feel that a month in this city is well worth it. The Residencia is a very interesting and worthwhile place to stay. I also like the idea of a long weekend in which students are free to travel, but I would announce it a little earlier so that plans for travel can be made. When giving the students the freedom to travel, I would highly recommend a trip to Mendoza to them. The weekend I spent in Mendoza was one of the best weekends of the trip. I also feel that the one night trip to Colonia is well worth it and is very relaxing. Other than more communication, there is really nothing that I would change in the first month in Buenos Aires.
    I had a wonderful time in Brazil, and Florianopolis was great. It was nice to have time to do some outdoor activities and sit on the beautiful beaches. I also felt that the long bus ride to Iguazu Falls was worth it completely. I think that another night should be added to this trip, though because I felt that weekend was cut a little short. Curitiba in my opinion is a great place to take the finals and do school work. I also think that everyone should go to Curitiba because there is alot in that city for everyone to learn and see. However, I also felt that 10 days was too long. I think that a few days could be taken off of this city and be added to Sao Paulo. I enjoyed the visits in Sao Paulo, but I didn't feel that we had enough time to really explore things to do and get a taste of this city's culture. I also believe that there should be no opinion to end the trip early. Instead I feel that everyone on the program should have to go to Paraty and Rio. Finally, I would strongly recommend to all that the internet can be hard or expensive to come by, so laptops are good things to have.
    I enjoyed this year's program and am happy to have had the chance to participate in it. Thanks.
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Brazil is known as a country of beauty both in its land as well as its citizens, but I have never realized that Brazil could also be considered a country of diversity. Brazil is full of all sorts of different types of people, particularly in the cities of Curitiba and Sao Paulo. Curtiba is a city of advanced industries and an economic hub for the country; therefore, many people from around the world have made this city their home. In the historic area, I noticed an abundance of Germans, Ukrainians, Polish, and Arabic people. Many different types of restaurants serving their ethnic foods could be seen as well. During the Sunday market these different ethnicities will sell goods or sing songs in groups promoting their pride in heritage. However, it is very interesting that during the rest of the week these people blend together and only show that they are Brazilian. This is a phenomenon is my opinion. Why is it that these groups want to find a common culture among each other? It can be seen in the promotion of arts, dance, and music as well as the many festivals within the city. I believe that although Curitiba is a city of diversity it is striving the also become a city of its own unique culture and heritage. On the other hand, Sao Paulo is a city of great diversity like Curitiba. There are more Japanese in Sao Paulo than anywhere else in the world outside of Japan. There is also a very large Italian population in the city. Unlike Curtiba, Sao Paulo’s immigrants stick more to their past heritages. One example of this could be seen in a discussion several of us had with a Greek restaurant owner. He said that he has lived in Brazil for 40 years, but he is still 100% Greek in his heart. The Japanese neighborhood is also another good place to look and see this holding on to of a past heritage. Brazil is a country of much diversity, but it seems to be up to the city whether this diversity is noticeable or whether it is integrated in with the culture and society.  

 
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photo by: Eric