“Gannon has certainly grown to feel like a home away from home.”
Class Year: Senior
Major: Sport and Exercise Science
Interests: Sports – Soccer (Playing with plenty of intercultural students at the Recreation and Wellness Center)
Favorite Place on Campus: Recreation and Wellness Center
Q: When did you move here?
A: I arrived here before classes started in the Fall through a travel program called the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, and I’m here for one year.
Q: What made you want to come to the U.S.?
A: It was a dream since I was little. I had family here, and they would talk about it. I would hear about how nice it is and how different it was, so I grew up with a wish to come here and study and work.
Q: Had you grown up around the English language at all?
A: I had been studying English since first grade, but it was never too intensive. Before actually coming here, I took two years of private courses and then took a test for placement in the U.S. If you aren’t prepared enough, the program can even send you to a school once you’re in the U.S. to learn more about the English language.
But a big part of growing up in Brazil is that our pop culture is actually the same as yours – shows like Two and a Half Men and the Big Bang Theory (which I apologized profusely for – ed.) It can be hard if you don’t stop and try to understand slang.
Q: Did anything lead you to Gannon specifically?
A: Well, when you subscribe to the travel program, they randomly place you at the same area. But you can indicate three schools you’re interested in, and Gannon offered Sports and Exercise Science!
Q: Did you run into any awkward or confusing situations when you first arrived here?
A: Hmm…not necessarily, but one of the things that immediately surprised me most was the campus life here. We only go to university to study in Brazil – there are no sports, extracurricular, etc. You commute from home. Here, your here on campus 24/7, and that’s awesome – getting to experience arts and theater with the other students.
Q: What was one of the biggest differences you noticed between the U.S. and Brazil at first?
A: Again, it has to deal with campus life; where I came from, we had classes at night (every night) for four hours.
Q: How else is school different in Brazil?
A: Well, for starters, people here are way more polite. *Laughs* Here, they hold doors and say
“please” and “thank you.” In Brazil, it seems like a lot of those things are afterthoughts for some people.
Q: Have you come around to Gannon feeling like a home away from home?
A: I first arrived here in August of last year. Since then, Gannon has certainly grown to feel like a home away from home. Things like waking up every day in an apartment with your roommates really help you establish relationships in a community that truly makes you feel welcome. If that hadn’t been the case, I would feel much sadder here on campus without my family.
Q: Is there any particular way you combat homesickness?
A: I usually try and speak with my family and friends via Skype, Facebook, etc. once or twice a week, and that definitely helps.
Q: Do you have any advice for students thinking about traveling internationally?
A: Be prepared. It’s tough at first, especially when homesickness begins to set in. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to travel like this is that once things start to go south, it can feel like there isn’t always someone to fall back on.
Q: But would you still recommend it?
A: I would strongly recommend it. You will grow as a person; you will leave some habits behind, as well as pick up new ones.