O-week, Homestay, e Dia Da Independência

7 Sep

Felicidades Independência! Hoje e dia da independicia no Brasil.

I have now been in Brasil for almost a week, and it has easily become one of my favorite places in the world, since the moment I took my first steps off the plane in Rio de Janeiro.

For the first few days of the program, my classmates and I stayed in a convent, Casa Betânia, in Itapuã for a five-day orientation. While at Casa Betânia, all 21 students got to know the Academic Director, Damiana, as well as each other, while delving into studies concerning the Brazilian health care system and public health methodology.

On the third night, we went together as a group to Pelourinho, perhaps the most popular touristic site in Salvador, to attend a performance of Balé Folclórico da Bahia, a show featuring an enriching display of Brazilian dance and culture.  We saw capoeira (a Brazilian dance/martial art created by the slaves), Samba de Roda, as well as portrayal of Candomblé  culture. Not only was the show very entertaining, many of us left inspired to try Brazilian Capoeira (haven’t done so yet).

On Monday, all the students were divided into groups and “dropped-off” in a different location in Salvador where they had to find their way around, communicating in very limited Portuguese, and then get back to the convent in time for lunch. My group and I visited Feira de São Joaquim, a farmer’s market about 15-20 minutes away from Pelhourinho.

Last night, we finally met our host families. I live in Federação (centro de Cidade Salvador) with a mother and daughter (Raimunda e Monica). Raimunda is an administrative assistant at UFBA (Universidade Federal da Bahia), while Monica also works at UFBA in the Sociology department. I also live 30 seconds away from another member of my program. Our host families are best friends, and we spent the whole day walking throughout Salvador. We went together to the Fiesta Independencia in Campo Grande (a nearby neighborhood) and then to visit the Palacete das Artes (Museum of Art) with one of the most popular restaraunts in Salvador, Solar Café, a very upscale spot.

After a long day of walking around Salvador, we finally got back to our home in Federação, where my host sister, Monica, and her best friend, Isabella introduced me to Samba (another Brazilian dance I really wanted to learn). Isabella explained to me that there are three types of Brazilian music popular in Bahia: (1) Samba de Roda, (2) Pagode: Saiddy da Bamba, Black Style and  Prangolé, and (3) Partido. She and Monica then taught me the basic movements of each style.

Since I’ve only just begun my stay here in Salvador, most of the emphasis has been upon getting assimilated with the culture and the language. We start classes next Monday, and that’s when the real work will begin. Until then, I want to continue to learn as much about Brazilian culture and the language as possible.

I’m getting ready to join my group to go to Rio Vermelho to listen to a Brazilian singer, but I will post later on more about my stay in Brazil, specifically the major differences I’ve noticed between Brazilian culture and the way of life in the States.

Also, I’m turning 20 tomorrow.


One Response to “O-week, Homestay, e Dia Da Independência”

  1. Yisrael Safeek September 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Happy 20th Bday.

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