That Time I … Spent a summer in Brazil

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Aidan Rivas is a junior communication studies major with a focus in digital media production and a passion for graphic design.

If you’re familiar with Hialeah, Florida, and you can use your imagination to multiply it by ten, then you can picture Sao Paulo, Brazil. The city is a sprawling mish-mash of Brazilian culture placed smack dab in the southeast portion of the gigantic South American country. The place is enormous, ranking as the world’s third largest city. You could be driving for three hours and only be through a third of the city’s expanse. This past summer I was there for an internship, however, so I stayed mostly in the northwestern part of Sao Paulo for the duration of my trip.

As an intern I worked for multiple companies. I worked on motion graphics at the advertising company Z+, video production at an agency called Delicatessen and sound production at a place called Satelíte.Professionals were more than happy to have me since their schedules were usually jam packed with work. To them, I was like a breath of fresh air, since they got to take a break and explain what they love to do to a neophyte. I was met only with hospitality and general good vibes the whole time and it really felt like I was part of a team, regardless of any language barrier. I spent about two and a half weeks at each of these companies, while the rest of my time was spent enjoying Brazil, which was a magical new experience.

While I was there, I felt like a Pokemon Trainer who ventured into a new region because of all the unfamiliar wildlife I was seeing. Toucans and little marmoset monkeys just stroll around among tall trees like they own the place. Often, I would forget I was in another country since it was such a huge city, but seeing unfamiliar bugs, differently colored pigeons and even uncommon dog and cat breeds would snap me right back to reality.

It was winter while I was there — since their seasonal cycle is the reverse of ours which I’m ashamed to admit was news to me — so it hit a nice 40 degrees fahrenheit daily. During my trip, I took small vacations on weekends to explore some excellent vacation spots, one of which was Campos do Jordão. It looked and felt like a quaint mountain village, and as you’d imagine it got even colder the higher up you went. The temperature peaked at Imbiri Peak, with a crisp 8 degrees fahrenheit at noon. From that crest I could see 15 different cities scattered across Brazil.

Going to Campos was probably my favorite part of Brazil. There was a kind of ‘Oktoberfest’ vibe in the town area, where everyone was hanging around trying to beat the cold with fondue and beer. The roads were closed to accommodate the hundreds of people filling the streets while everyone waited in line at various restaurants or just laughed and had a good time. It was completely different from Rio; granted I didn’t go to Rio during any huge events like the Olympics or Carnaval.

The beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana were the cleanest, brightest, and largest I have ever seen. Those beaches look just like a postcard and it’s hard to believe even standing there. Of course, it was still 40 degrees out during this trip as well, so swimming was out of the question, but taking in the sights and digging a seven foot hole in the sand also have their merits.

Brazil is absolutely a beautiful place and while I was there on business, I highly recommend taking a trip, whether it be to Sao Paulo, Campos do Jordão or Rio. I, for one, am really hoping that one day I can return solely as a tourist.

Printed with permission from: A. Rivas

Caption: While interning over the summer for multiple companies, Rivas was able to take in the sights of Brazil.

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