I have always had a great interest in getting to know Brazil better. Only the question how to finance my adventure has always been an obstacle (classic student problem). Thanks to the acceptance of the AWARE scholarship the problem was solved and I had the chance to spend a semester abroad in Brazil. During my flight to Rio de Janeiro I wondered what the next half year would bring. Once again the typical worries and doubts came up, which you may also have at the moment:
- Is Brazil really as dangerous as everyone says?
- How will the Brazilians welcome me? (Justified concern after the 1 to 7 clap against our national team)
- How will I get along with the language?
- Are the learning contents and quality of the Brazilian university at all comparable to a German university?
- How will my internship in Brazil be?
After spending a few days in Florianópolis, I quickly realized that my fears were unjustified and that my expectations had been exceeded by far!
The city of Florianópolis will probably not mean much to most people. It is a big city (comparable to Nuremberg) and capital of the state of Santa Catarina in the south of Brazil. It is important to know that within a country as big as Brazil there are big differences in infrastructure, crime and quality of life even within the individual regions. The south and southeast of the country is prosperous compared to the other regions. All important economic centers are located there and it can be compared with North America or Europe. Florianópolis is considered the state capital with the highest quality of life and security, and is also the fourth best city to live in the country. With my personal experience I can only confirm these statistics, as I never felt uncomfortable or threatened at any time (I often came home after 3 a.m.).
Florianópolis and its surroundings are also known for its natural beauties and beaches, for the Brazilians themselves it is also the number one vacation resort. As soon as I was asked by Brazilians where I come from during my travels, I could always answer truthfully: "I live where you spend your vacations". :)
Study and internship
The university in Florianópolis offers a wide range of courses, but almost all lectures are held in Portuguese. This may sound a bit daunting at first, but it is not that bad, since fellow students and professors are very helpful, everything is generally negotiable (e.g. deadlines), the grade consists of several papers, rehearsals and presentations (no big exam at the end) and there is a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the lectures. The quality of the courses is very close to that of a German university.
I was allowed to do my internship in a company of the research institute CERTI. My activities were very varied and interesting and I was allowed to choose some of them. I was given a lot of freedom, my colleagues were always friendly and helpful, I was also allowed to take on responsible tasks relatively quickly and was involved in all projects. In addition to my work, my employer also offered me various workshops and information events. I can only recommend an internship in Brazil, because besides work there is still enough time for hobbies, friends and travelling.
Living in Brazil
My time in Brazil was incredible, beautiful and I would go there again immediately. The openness and warmth of the Brazilians really surprised me and it is easy to make friends with the Brazilians. The joy of life is contagious and in Florianópolis there are many opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest. The difference already starts with the campus culture, because the students organize public parties with hundreds of people coming to them, privately they also like to throw house parties, invite to barbecues or go to festivals together. Besides the Brazilians there are also numerous exchange students from all over the world who are also very nice and enterprising. Personally, I already met about 15 people on my first day and every day I met more and more people. To make friends in Brazil could not be easier and there are many things to see and do. Numerous sports activities like surfing, kite surfing, playing tennis, of course also playing soccer or even capoeira are offered. Country and culture are worth discovering, there is music, good food, exotic fruits and drinks or finally learning to dance properly. Because you are always on the road and have a lot to do with the local or exchange students, learning Portuguese is very easy and I don't know anyone who hasn't made great progress in a short time.
Finally, I would like to thank the AWARE team again for allowing me to come to Brazil and helping me to find an internship. I recommend everyone to leave their comfort zone and get involved in the Brazilian adventure - I promise you won't regret it for a moment! Half a year of life in a paradise awaits you :)
Cristiano Pinto, Bachelor student of THI for business informatics