High School - Brazil, High School Abroad

Birthday Parties and the Excitement of Starting School in Brazil

by Marjorie McVay, CCI-Greenheart Travel High School Abroad Participant in Brazil

My first weekend in Brazil was a busy one. The second night there, I went to a traditional Brazilian party, a birthday celebration for a family friend that was turning 15. It was a mask party, and all of us dressed to match our masks. The party took place half inside, half outside in an open deck space. A huge room was decorated in black and gold, with roses on all of the tables. A buffet table was set up in the back, and a dance floor took up one complete side of the room. Outside there were candles and couches, surrounded by tables covered in candy. It was absolutely beautiful.

The party started at 10 p.m., and everyone was on the dance floor dancing to traditional Brazilian dances. Everyone seemed to know the dances but me! There are so many different dances, a different one for every song! Pamela helped me follow along. At about midnight, the birthday girl made a grand entrance with her mom and dad, then she had a dance with her father. We then watched a video of baby pictures up until the present. (It was very sweet). Her best friend and her older sister made a closing speech, and everyone rushed to the buffet for dinner. There was all different types of Brazilian food. My favorite was a chicken breast cooked in creamed corn (it’s one of my new favorite foods!). After dinner, everyone went to the dance floor and danced for 3 more hours! Brazilians sure like to dance. I can understand why, it’s so much fun!

Sunday we woke up around 11 and headed to a picnic thrown by my host dad’s company. It was a BBQ, which included baked bread, rice, beans, and beef and chicken on a stick. Everything was simple, but it was so good! Everyone just sat around and chatted, I couldn’t understand anything but I listened as best I could. It was a cloudy day but it was full of kids laughing and fishing, and there was a live band with Brazilian ‘country’ music for everyone to dance to. It started to rain pretty hard around 3, so we left and headed to the supermarket to get some things.

The supermarket was HUGE, it had two stories. The first story was like mall food court, a McDonald’s (They’re everywhere), a Subway, and other fast foods. You parked in a parking deck because the supermarket was in the middle of the city. You took an escalator with no sitars (so you could bring your cart), and traveled up to the supermarket part of the store. Although the word ‘supermarket’ in Brazil means something quite different to ‘supermarket’ in America. This supermarket was more like a Super Walmart, it had absolutely everything. From TVs, to DVDs, school supplies, clothes, shoes, and every kind of food you could think of. (I am not sure what most of it was, my Portuguese classes haven’t started yet). We went past many sections, including a fresh pizza bar where a chef would make the pizza, and wrap it up so you could bake it at home. We got a couple of cheese pizza’s for dinner that night. There was a mix of cheese’s, they didn’t taste like anything I’ve ever eaten, but it was delicious! The cheese was some what sharp, but white, and mozzarella like. (What ever it was, it was sooo good!)

Monday was my first day of school. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep Sunday night. I’m going to a private school called Colegio Ser, it’s a private high school here in Sorocaba, and it has about 400 students grade Kindergarten through 12th grade. It’s considered a really big school here. It’s about 15 minutes away from my house, and my host mom and sister took me. School starts at 7:10AM, which isn’t bad because I’m used to school starting at 7:15AM. The school has two entrances, one on each side. Each student gets a card with with their name and picture. To enter through the gates, they scan their card, this is also true to leave. This way, the teachers and administration can keep track of attendance.

I was very excited to start school. We were met by the assistant principle, who then took me to my classroom. The students are assigned a class at the beginning of the year, and they are with the same classmates all year, the teachers are the ones that move around. All the kids were standing outside waiting for the new students. There was also one more new girl in my class, her name is Carolina. He father lives in Brazil, but her mother lives in Denmark. She decided she wanted to live in Brazil, so she moved here. She speaks Portuguese, though, so I was still the only one in the class that couldn’t. But at least I had someone else to share the spotlight with!

Classes are 50 minutes long with a small break in between each one. Every day there are 6 classes, that change each day. The first day we had Physics, Literature, and Math. The teachers come to the class twice a day. I couldn’t understand a word because I hasn’t started my Portuguese classes yet, but I listened to the sound of the words, which I’m sure will help me when I start. School ends at 12:30PM, and everyone goes home for lunch.

I’m now starting my adventure into school!


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


One thought on “Birthday Parties and the Excitement of Starting School in Brazil

  1. MJ, Good luck with this exciting adventure. Sounds almost overwhelming to me, but I think you’ll benefit from it forever!

    Posted by Barbara | August 23, 2011, 2:54 pm

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