A year in Brazil
I took off at the beginning of August 2006 for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to do my Master’s 1 at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. As it was the southern hemisphere, I landed in the middle of the Brazilian winter… a perfect transition from summer in Brittany, 25° at departure and arrival!
After having set myself up in an apartment that a friend who had arrived before me had already rented, I began classes at the Fundão campus. A large island to the north of Rio, the campus houses the faculties of medicine, chemistry, physics, engineering, languages, letters, fine art and architecture! A bit different from the scale of Rennes!
My level of Portuguese was roughly zero (I looked at the first 10 lessons in the method from the French Assimil books when I arrived) I chose project material which would enable me to communicate through graphical elements: Architecture project, Urban design and landscaping project, and a class in natural lighting in museums. As well as these very architectural subjects, I registered with other French people (from Brittany, Versailles and Paris) on a Portuguese course for foreigners… the term was underway!
Next to the university is obviously the town… and everything in it was striking. Whether it was the immense scale of the favelas to the north, the hills plunging into the sea and brushing the sky-scrapers, or the famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, Rio is like nowhere else. It is also the perfect spot for discovering the many facettes of Brazilian culture. From the Samba to the Forro, via Funk, it was compulsory to learn a few dance steps to not remain forever branded a Gringo.
The summer vacation means you can live the constant party that is Carnaval – drum concerts in the street and of course the lines of samba schools in the sambodromes…. eight hours of non-stop processions.
In the second term, I began my master’s course in parellel with my own university, which included among other things lessons on the history and modern architecture of Brazil….a lesson in concrete.
In short, an unforgettable year of exchange. Full of memories and new friends…. As the Brazilians would say, "Otimo!"
A year in Poland: