by Demi Lammers
Olá Amigos, my time in beautiful Rio de Janeiro is coming to an end. It feels like yesterday I was at home arranging plans for my 6 months stay in Rio and my internship at Caminhos. I was so excited and nervous at the same time, doing research on the internet to find out what are the must-do’s in Rio. You all probably been in this stage, looking on the internet and imagining yourself visiting Cristo Redentor and Escadaria do Selarón.
Now it seems like the most normal thing to live in Brazil and enjoy life like a Carioca – from dancing samba in Lapa and in my apartment (where lots of parties have taken place) to drinking cocos gelados and caipirinhas on the beach and eating feijão and coxinhas.
I had an amazing time at Caminhos and met a lot of funny, nice and inspiring people from all over the world. I am happy that I had the opportunity to do my internship here and want to thank everyone who participated in making my time so amazing. I will miss the team and the atmosphere around the language school a lot, but I am also very excited to go travelling and explore the Northeast of Brazil.
So in this blog I will tell you my last impressions about Rio.
Let’s start with those crazy Cariocas. ‘Cause in the end they are the one who give you the real Rio experience. I was working with a lot of Cariocas. What I like about them is how welcoming they are. When you come alone to Brazil as a foreigner it is not always so easy. And when you have people around that make you feel at home, it makes everything a lot better. I look up to the cariocas because they are always happy, smiling and enjoying life. They are positive and don’t focus on the negative things in life too much. Also most of them are proud of their country and love to show gringos like me the Brazilian habits and wonderful places.
I’ve lived with a few Brazilians and what I found out from them is that they are very sharing –from sharing food to sharing clothes! I borrowed a lot of cute outfits from my crazy friend Gaby and she picked up a few things from me. We became like family.
Another cool thing about the Cariocas is that they are very social. A lot of times I was just walking home from work next to the boulevard in Copacabana and random people started a conversation, with me. Questions like “Hey, where are you from?” or “Do you have a boyfriend?” are very normal here in Rio.
Corruption in Brazil
I don’t know if you immediately see this when you come here, but when you stay here for a longer time, you will definitely see it or hear about it. Corruption is a big thing in Brazil and also in Rio. It still surprises me how can be possible that there is such a big difference between poor and rich.
Also when I did a favela tour to Morro Dona Marta, the guide told us that there have not been any shootings in the favela in 8 years because the drug dealers pay the police every month and that way there won’t be any problems. This is just too crazy – the police going in to a favela (an underprivileged area) to take money there.
Homeless people in Rio de Janeiro
There are a lot of homeless people in Rio, as well as people living in the favelas. For someone who didn’t travel out of Europe before, this is shocking and eye opening, especially when you see young children living on the street or in underprivileged neighborhoods. It makes me sad.
Living in the favelas
At Caminhos, the children from Mais Caminhos are always hanging around. Those children come from favelas. They are so cute, sweet and happy that sometimes you forget the bad situation they come from. Last week there were shootings in the favela where one of the little girls from Mais Caminhos lives. She told me about this and asked me if she could come home with me to my apartment. It broke my heart, I really wanted to take her. She had to wait for her mom though, and that is understandable.
The other day some children of Mais Caminhos asked me if I could take them to the Mc Donald’s. I found this funny and it reminded me of myself when I was young. It also showed me that children are the same everywhere, no matter where they grow up. Seeing all of this and hanging around with the children of Mais Caminhos makes me realize how privileged I am growing up in Holland. This was one of the big lessons I learned here – to appreciate more what you have.
These were the most important impressions and lessons I learned during my timein Rio. I hope all of you have as much as fun as I had here and enjoy your time to the fullest, because before you know it, it’s over!
Demi, Intern of Caminhos Language Centre
Portuguese for foreigners in Rio de Janeiro. Study the portuguese language at Caminhos Language Centre while supporting a great cause. We offer portuguese classes at 9 different levels. Learn portuguese at Caminhos and enjoy free activities every day.