Preparing for Takeoff

Overview of my semester in Brazil

I will be spending 4 1/2 months in an apartment with a Brazilian roommate in São Paulo, Brazil; It is the largest city in Brazil with a population size of approximately 11.5 million people (New York City is around 8.5 million).  During my time in Brazil, I will participate in the illustrious celebration of Carnaval, immerse myself in the rich African-influenced culture of Salvador da Bahía, squish my toes in the sandy beaches of Rio, and so much more! I’ll be directly enrolled in Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC), a Catholic university in São Paulo, studying Portuguese, Brazilian Culture, and International Relations.

The program I am studying through is CET Academic Programs.

Brief Background

Why Brazil?  I’ve taken 4 semesters of Portuguese and 6 years of Spanish, so I decided to expand my understanding of the Lusophone world.  Initially, I began studying Portuguese because Brazil has strong global agricultural influences.  Now, I’ve become intrigued by what Brazil has to offer in every aspect.

Legwork leading up to Brazil

Planning, packing, and more planning.  Studying abroad is a lot of work, and I’m not even abroad yet.  One of the greatest challenges thus far has been obtaining my visa.  After the paperwork, snail mail, and stress of it all, I was happy to receive my right-to-Brazil two weeks before departure.  In addition to this, I had to submit various papers to my program and to the U of M’s Learning Abroad Center, prepare for my trip mentally, and eat at plenty of restaurants with some pretty great people- Going abroad for a semester requires this.  Packing, although viewed as a treacherous task, was the easiest part of it all thanks to Delta’s 2 free check bags at 70 lbs. each.  I only used 65 of the 140 pounds allotted to me. Win.  Lastly, I said goodbye to mom: quick and painless… for the most part.

Now, I sit back, put in my earbuds, attempt to sleep, eat salty peanuts and pretzels, sip on complimentary beverages and enjoy 12 hours on a plane to São Paulo.

*As a side note, I did bring special bug spray to keep the Zika-carrying mosquitos away while in Brazil.  I’ll keep everyone updated on this exciting part of traveling to Brazil.

Until next time, goodbye hello, hello oi!

Portuguese pointers:

  • Oi/Olá– Hi/Hello
  • Muito prazer– Nice to meet you
  • Por favor– Please
  • Obrigado/a– Thank you (masculine: -o, feminine, -a)
  • Sim/Não– Yes/No
Want a live update? Add me on Skype (jeni.haler) or send me an email (!



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