Tag Archives: Brazil

Academic Year in Brazil = Done

After one final, hectic round of tests, my third year, and academic year abroad, are done. At my university, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, the exam season was marked with the same signs: students sleeping in the libraries, coffee consumption skyrocketing, and the worried looks on faces. But just like every year, we all manage to get through it in the end.
This exam season was a bit different for me, however. Of the 4 exams I took, 2 were in Portuguese. When I first arrived in Brazil, I never even imagined that I would be able to do the high-pressure exams in Portuguese. And they were tough, don’t get me wrong. But in the end, I completed them (and am now awaiting my test scores…)
With the exams ending, most of my exchange-student friends are leaving. Some are heading straight home, others heading to far off places in South America to travel. Now that we are on vacation, more travel ensues. Despite the diverse end locations, I noticed a commonality between all of those leaving, which is a commonly held affection for São Paulo. For a city like Buenos Aires, or New York, or Paris, I can understand this attachment after so little time, but São Paulo?
When I first arrived here, all São Paulo felt like was a huge, at times austere concrete jungle. Arranha-ceus, or skyscrapers, dominate the landscape, like huge, concrete blocks dropped throughout the city. Not exactly stunning.
But as the months pass by, São Paulo grows on you. The wild orchids growing in trees above your head. The small alleyways hiding excellent restaurants. And the dizzying array of culture, food, and people is impressive. São Paulo is not a tourist’s city, because so much of what is great is hard to find. For such a huge city, the best things are in the small details.
-Alex Wolz

How I Hacked Portuguese

One I first arrived in Brazil, I spoke, at best, 10 words of Portuguese. Sure, I spoke a bit of Spanish, but Portuguese, the language of Brazil, Portugal, and a sprinkling of African countries, is quite different from its next closest cousin.

One I first arrived in Brazil, I spoke, at best, 10 words of Portuguese.

Fast forward to today, May 12, and I am mostly fluent. I still struggle with complex grammar, masculine and feminine (why does this exist!), and some pronunciation. But the key is that I speak without needing to think beforehand; I can convey what I feel or want, and, best of all, I understand jokes and ‘girias’ (slang).

Life as an Intern in Brazil

Several weeks ago, I was in one of my classes at Fundação Getulio Vargas, and a small business consultancy came and hosted a ‘How to Pitch 101’ session. It was an engaging pitch that included episodes of SharkTank, and even some impromptu pitches from members of the class. I was impressed with the presentation, and the company seemed like a cool, exciting place.

A few interviews later, I start working at 7bi, the company, as an Operations intern. My job title is intentionally broad; in just three weeks, I have developed proposals for clients, dabbled in graphic design, and created my own business concept. For me, it has been the perfect startup experience; lots of different roles, fast-paced work, and a relaxed environment.