Capstone Reflection- Leonardo Ruiz Sanchez


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This year was full of laughs, friends, struggles, coxinhas. So much that I decided to create a video to showcase some of the highlights of my time in Brazil.

There were many times during this capstone process that I found a picture or a video that reminded me about a memory that I had completely forgotten about. The many emotions that combined created a roller-coaster as I tried to create a video that accurately encapsulated my year in Brazil. But as a human in a society that prioritizes status, I recorded and took pictures of the nice and shiny things about Brazil. Having to live in one of the wealthiest and whitest states in Brazil, I didn’t see an accurate depiction of the poverty and daily life of the majority of Brazil. Therefore, my independent travel was very important to me because I was able to, in a way, escape the island of Florianopolis and see another aspect of Brazil.

The people I meet during my time in Brazil has made a lasting impact on me. There’s an interesting thing that happened to me during my time abroad and that was that my empathy grew. I always considered myself to be kind. The strong empathy I developed in Brazil was something new to me. I looked closer into people’s lives and I learned to see a person better. It is impossible to truly step into someone else’s shoes but the many experiences in Brazil made me learn that. Curiosity before judgement—trying to look at something with another perspective because one knows that they have they’re own internal bias. My realization that I could never really know what another is experiencing is part of what I learned. I learned to see people clearer, I noticed their idiosyncrasies, and this led me to want to get to know a person better.

This way of thinking also translated to the way I saw myself. I learned to go beyond myself to question my intentions. I forced myself to look and reflect with myself and to realized how my actions, no matter how minute, can have a great influence on the surrounding climate. This new sense of introspectiveness, I believe, is a new tool that I can use not only for college but also for life.

My time in Brazil was truly life changing. I learned so much about others and about myself. This is my last post on this for GCY. Thank you for following. Thanks to everyone that was a part of my bridge year experience. Thanks to Tufts 1+4 and GCY for allowing me to go on this adventure. I will always miss the days I spent under the Brazilian sun. Tchau!!