Brazil is Real Blog by Bryan Berkowitz

Bryan Berkowitz - Brazil


September 4, 2019

Well, it’s off to Brazil! I thought the day would never come. You know how on the first day of school, you go over the course syllabus and you’re thinking, “There’s no way we’re ever gonna do all of that.” And you’re praying going over the syllabus will take months. And then all of a sudden, before you know it, you’re off to the races. You’re taking tests and learning so much more than you honestly hoped to learn. And then the end of school is near and administration is talking about what school is going to be like next year, and how you have to prepare. And you’re thinking, “That’s never gonna come.” And sure enough it does. Every time. Whether you want it to or not. And here we are. I’m in Brazil. 

When I signed up for Global Citizen Year, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity. Go out of my comfort zone, learn a new language, live in a new country, take a year off from school, no homework, what could be better? It seemed like a great challenge, and I like challenges. I like to go out of my comfort zone. In theory, it seemed great. I would grow immensely, learn all about a new culture and the world I’ve been sheltered from my whole life. All that jazz. But this is all what I get from completing the year. This is the end result. 
The whole summer I was thinking about other things. My mother kept hounding me to pack, do this for Brazil, get that, do some Rosetta Stone. C’mon Mom, you didn’t really think I was going to ever go, did you? It’s so far away. I was focusing on the present. People would always ask, “Bryan, are you excited for Brazil?” “Yeah, sorta. But I’m focusing on what’s coming in the near future first.” A trip with friends. A trip to New York. A trip to Boston. And finally, orientation starts the next day. There’s no more hiding. There’s no more pushing it off. This is now the present. It hit me.
I don’t know a soul. I don’t speak a word of Portuguese. Why the hell did I want to do this? This is terrifying! But then again, that’s the whole point. As the time has progressed, I have become more and more comfortable. More and more excited. Less scared, but still scared nonetheless. On the plane I asked the person next to me if they had seen something I lost. She didn’t speak English. That was an eye opener for me. I really have to get on my feet and learn some Portuguese. And fast. As much as I hate to admit it, I should have learned more Portuguese over the summer. I knew I should have, I just didn’t prioritize it. YOU WERE RIGHT MOM, OK? ARE YOU HAPPY? But alas, I’m here, and I didn’t. Thankfully most other people didn’t as well, and so I’m not alone. 
However, I’m on my own now. No more mother telling me to do this and that, and to learn Portuguese. I’ll do it because I want to. And if I don’t, I’ll suffer the consequences. This is where the new chapter of my life begins. The one that will never end. Because you didn’t really think this program would end and I would ever come home, did you? 

Bryan Berkowitz