BLOG # 2 Host Country “BRAZIL”, Welcome Week, Homestay, Apprenticeship.

After the amazing pre-orientation meeting in Stanford with beautiful motivational speakers, we started our journey to Brazil. I was so full of excitement and nervousness. I was happy to see the most beautiful country of my life. After a long journey, from Stanford to 4 more different places, we were so tired but still excited for Brazil. Now, we were in Florianopolis, in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. I remember it was very cold and foggy at the airport. As we just left from the airport and headed to our hotel, I saw lot of vegetation and smell bits of Amazon Rainforest. We reached at our hotel for our Welcome Week. The hotel was awesome with all Brazilian buffets and other enjoying services like sports court. Our hotel was nearby one of the beautiful beaches of Florianopolis. I was amazed by the beach as it was my first time, I saw Brazilian beach and a part of the Atlantic Ocean.

It was such a great pleasure to see our team leader​s, mine was Marcella Raphael. She seemed very cool and a nice person: it felt like she would take a good care of us. During our Welcome Week, we experienced so many new Brazilian things, like food, dance, samba and capoeira. The food was different, but some were alike to some Pakistani food like rice and beans. About the samba, it was whole different thing to me. I found it very special but intimate as you dance with your legs tucked into other person´s legs. Capoeira was also unfamiliar to me. It felt like I was like I was playing with wooden sticks and a bit of martial arts. In ancient history, people used Capoeira as a defense mechanism, as I learned from my staff. We played Capoeira with some professional team. It seemed irons in the fire, but I realized, it was quite a fling. Our Welcome Week was handful of great activities and training from our GCY staff.

Welcome Week is finished, and it is time to meet and live in our host community for the next 7 months. From now, I with some other fellows were separated to go to a different city, Garopaba. I was excited to see my host family, consisted a mom and a son with plenty of cats. I chose this family because I found out they have a garden consisting some vegetables and fruits trees. I´d imagined I´d be living in a small but beautiful place and there I was in a great wooden house with mountainous views. I loved my room because I had a big bed. I was nervous because I didn’t know anything to talk to my host family except few words that I educated myself from Welcome Week like Oi (hello), Tudo bem (How are you) and obrigado (thank you). I´d remembered I tried to communicate by every means possible. This is when I was anxious that I´d not learned much out of my gap year, but I managed a lot afterwards. I used the google translate and sign language (kind of) and tried to play games with my little host brother. I found out that my host brother loved playing games and crazy stuff like dancing. It was first day tired, overwhelmed and did not have any plans for the day except unpacking. I also didn’t know what to talk to my host mom. But I did go and see and tried to communicate them through google translate. I don’t remember exactly what I talked but I´m sure I asked her something related to her work and daily routines. We spent some good together then I started unpacking and shower and rested a bit. My mom named Rosana and my brother Arthur: I really liked them. In the house, I wasn’t nervous but curious to see new things out there. My mom showed me everything, like my room, which was a separated place at some footsteps from our residence, bathrooms, kitchen, and other important things. In my room, even though it was nice and big, it was like I’d not been honest, I mean I feared of mosquitos as my host mom said.

However: I was glad I found a Wi-Fi, so I could talk to my Team Leader; Marcella for some help. But my host mom helped and gave me some natural spray-like shit to kill the mosquitos, and she saved the day. It was my first day, I learned that she works only three days per week, just the mornings. I was glad to hear that so we could have more learning about each other. Afterwards, we made some dinner and went to bed. The next day, it was Friday, my mom was home and free, I suggested if we could go out and explore something new. so, we both decided to hang out and explore some markets. And, we went out and my mum showed my apprenticeship. We bought some snacks and went back. At home, we made some dinner which some chickpeas and bread, which I appreciated her for amazing cooking skills.

It´s another day, it´s afternoon, we ate lunch and biked to the beach was distant. In Portuguese, beach is called Praia. The praia we went was praia do Ouvidor. It was a ride of half-hour and taking all shortcuts possible, and enjoying the fresh air coming from trees, and going all the way through the shades of trees and green plantation and beautiful lagoons and buffalos. On the beach, we talked and chilled. I didn’t really swim because I´d forgotten my swimsuit. My host brother went swimming and played with sand. It was very good to be there and appreciated the nature. At sunset, we headed home from the same way through forest. We were home now. I rested a bit and started preparations for the dinner. I really appreciated my mom for showing all the beautiful nature. So far, I was glad for everything in my homestay.

Stay Tuned 😊😉


Haider Ali
UWC Robert Bosch College