Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Become a Paulistano in 10 minutes!

Interested in learning a little bit more about Sao Paulo...read on! We had a great city tour today in the fantastic 50 degree rainy weather...for all of you who think I'm living some tropical dream, think again! I haven't worn a t-shirt yet here!

Sao Paulo is the third largest city in the world (don't shoot the messenger)...this is what our tour guide told us. Although most of you know, you can prove anything with statistics, so read with caution.

1. Tokyo
2. Mumbai
3. Sao Paulo (20 million people)

10% of the Brazilian population lives here in Sao Paulo and over 25% of the country's wealth is here in the city as well. Over 50,000 people live here with over $1,000,000USD in free assets, that doesn't even include income!

It's the worlds #1 market for private helicopters and in fact, there is a neighborhood here with more helipoints than bus stops. Most of the real estate on Avenida Paulista will never be sold unless there is a helicopter landing pad on the roof. It's actually a pretty neat sight at about 7 AM to watch all the helicopter traffic land in the central business district...most of which are the executives commuting in from their multimillion dollar estates in the mountains. I saw a few ads in the paper the other day for homes for sale well above the $500 million USD mark...which is incredible.

This should give you a good idea about the social classes here...which are ranked by asset, not income level here on the street.

Wealthiest...do you own a helicopter?
Next highest...do you own an armed vehicle?
Next...an imported vehicle?
Next...do you have a car?
Next...how about a motorbike?
Next...a bicycle?
Next...you walk or use public transport! (This is my Brazilian class level haha)

There are about 13,000 homeless people here in Sao Paulo. It's been evident but there really isn't a need for it. The government has space for 15,000 in homeless shelters and offers multiple meals per day but most of the potential inhabitants don't like the restricted hours (i.e. must be in by 7 PM), so they just inhabit the street anyway.

Other stats....

There are more than 7 million vehicles here in Sao Paulo, 85% of which are run on ethanol rather than regular gasoline. Despite this surprising statistic, the pollution here is still killing me. I can barely breathe and it's a true pain to wear contacts as well. It's definitely not as bad as it could be though considering there is a nice West to East wind flow in between the mountains on the North and South and quite frankly, this city does have a fair amount of green space for its size, so I'll have to get used to it.

There are also more than 1 million motorbikes here. It's really the only way to circumvent the traffic because despite multiple efforts by the government to have them take up space on the roads just as a car would, they find it much easier to drive in between the cars. While I think it's quite dangerous, it's really an art here in Sao Paulo as only 3 casualties occur per day for motorbikers. Considering the amount on the road, I'd say that's a pretty good success rate.

The population here in Sao Paulo grew dramatically and quickly. In the late 1800's, the population here was only 25,000. By 1900, 100K and then doubled every 10years after that. In 1960, 4 million and it's estimated that it will cap at about 25 million.

Coffee is how the country got rich and in the 1900's 80% of exports were from our favorite aromatic bean! There's a big fight with Colombia as to who holds the #1 ranking. If it's by income, then it's Colombia. If it's by weight, then it is Brasil. You choose the winner. Although it was such an economic factor back in the 1900's, Brazil's economy has significantly diversified. Coffee now only accounts for 1.1% of the economic GDP, which should tell you something else about doing business in Brazil. It's swiftly turning into a service economy, with banks holding most of the real estate on the main strip. It may be the only industry that can afford it as one square meter of space on Avenida Paulista costs about $12,000USD. This is where the action is though. Most Fortune 1000 companies have their South American headquarters here in Sao Paulo. Up until the 2008 economic crises, Bovespa (Sao Paulo Stock Exchange) had annual returns over 20%. They're expecting a big boom here in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

I think the other telling tale of my time in Sao Paulo is the diversity! You name it, it's here. Back in the late 1800's more than 750,000 Italians came to Sao Paulo and in the early 1900's, over 1 million Japanese. The saying here is that there is no single person who's four grandparents are from the same country. So, I'm hoping this is giving you an idea that I'm not sticking out as that one white American amidst a sexy tan population! There's a great blend here and everyone looks Brazilian! In fact, I might call Sao Paulo the true melting pot. That melting though has led to some busy busy streets. I can barely move walking to class and at peak hours, it's estimated that 7 people fit into one square meter when commuting via the subway system...which is two less people per square meter than Tokyo, which along with Beijing, actually hire people in the subway system to shove more people into the metro trains so the doors can close.

Why else do people come to Brazil aside from business...health tourism! 8% of foreign travelers come for cosmetic surgery, organ transplants, and dentistry. It's not really encouraged by US insurance firms, but not contested because on average, the cost of medicine here in Sao Paulo is 1/3 the price of a US treatment.

I think you'll also find funny how the government sends out mass messages to its population...through soap operas! The most popular one here is called Avenida Brasil...I'm already hooked. It's a typical blackmail tale of a daughter holding her stepmother hostage because homegirl was cheating on her husband with some other man. All I can say is that soap opera arguments in Portuguese are like nothing you've ever seen before. If you think Sammy can throw a good fit with Nicole on Day's of Our Lives then you should see Avenida Brasil...they'd give Stefano and friends a run for their money on "REAL" dramatic acting. Nevertheless, I digress. When the main villain of Avenida Brasil died in one of the premier episodes of the show, television companies reported to the government that 90% of the televisions in the country were tuned into Avenida Brasil for that episode...so soap operas (telenovelas) became the primary way to air commercials on government, education, politics, etc.

So, I'll end with another little tale from last night that got me thinking about who I am here in Brazil. We were out for some appetizers and drinks with some other international students. We were introducing ourselves and one of the students was from Miami, Fla. We were talking a little bit and then the waitress came up and asked where we were from. He responded with "Canada...Toronto". I didn't say anything at the time but later on, I asked him why he didn't say he was from Miami and he went on to tell me that as he traveled around the world that he found that other's attitude changed towards him depending on what English speaking nation he was from, that being from the US was a sin.

While I could see what he was saying and have experienced the same (not here yet but in other places), I am sticking with who I am...an American from the great state of Ohio in the great city of Cincinnati. Why? I'm here as a representative, a diplomat for the US. How are we as a nation ever supposed to change the perception of who Americans are, what they stand for, and our wish to build better international relations, if I'm from Canada? I have nothing against Canada, except for the fact that US toll booths won't accept their beautiful quarters when I drive through Illinois haha. Of course, if you're going to be the arrogant person who talks down to others and thinks our way is the only way, then go ahead...claim somewhere else as your homeland, but if you make the effort to go out of your comfort zone, learn another language, immerse yourself in another culture, learn another way of life, and give all of yourself in the best way possible, then you're impressive and you better be from America, because that's the type of person I want to call neighbor, ally, and friend. And that's the person I'm pledging to be here in Brazil and I hope the next time you have the opportunity to travel abroad and build a relationship, you'll choose to do the same.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Explore your city!

So after the last post, I need to get every updated on all the "things" we've been doing here in Sao Paulo!

1. Intensive Portuguese classes every morning. Really starting to pick up on this language. Definitely not fluent yet but 5 hours of Portuguese every morning and then being surrounded by it in the city and at home has made life here much easier!

2. Beco de Batman "Batman Alley". You'll see some of the pictures in my album link posted below. A very neat graffiti area in the city. The artists come by and change their art as they please and when an artist passes away, their last piece of art stays there forever.

3. National Soccer Museum. Definitely one of the highlights of my week. In Brazil, soccer is king, so it was neat to see the museum. Very interactive, lots of highlight reels, intense and energetic stadium clips, 3D soccer movies, and lots of displays about what Brazil specifically means to the sport. I was going to walk away with some gifts from the gift shop but the cheapest thing I wanted was a good $150USD so I decided to withhold so I could eat this week haha.

4. Sao Paulo cultural center. A great place for studying with a rooftop for relaxing. Neat architecture and lots of spaces for concerts and art exhibits.

5. Liberdade. Asian neighborhood with great sushi (although I'm not a fan) and even better markets for bargain shopping and delicious food.

6. Praca Por do Sol. We went to a nice park to watch the sunset before stopping for a nice dinner.

I also got a chance to go to the Orthodox Cathedral for church on Sunday. It was beautiful! A beautiful church and it was nice to have some familiarity in my life once again, with a church service very similar to home...although it was in Portuguese, not Greek how I'm used to. It was only two subway stops away from my house so I'm pretty pumped that I'll get to go every Sunday.

If there's anything that I would encourage everyone to do who's been reading this blog is...EXPLORE YOUR HOME CITY!!! Seeing the ins and outs of Sao Paulo has made me regret not exploring my own city, Cincinnati, as much as I could have. I got so caught up in doing what I did normally, that I never even ventured to places like the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Krohn Conservatory, the Bourbon Trail or the Aquarium. Even places like Mt. Adams, the Zoo, and OTR I've only been to a time or two. I really think the more you explore your own city, the more you will love it, at least that's how I've felt here in Sao Paulo, my new city.

Here's the link to the lastest edition of my album: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4395556969812.180697.1315085436&type=3&l=d5bc6c0f97

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Eu nao sou da sua rua...

Anybody up for some deep cultural reflection?!

Eu nao sou da sua rua
Eu nao sou o seu vizinhou
Eu moro muito longe, sozinho
Estou aqui de passagem

Eu nao sou da sua rua
Eu nao falo a sua lingua
Minha vida e diferente da sua
Estou aqui de passagem
Esse mundo nao e meu,
Esse mundo nao e seu.

We listened to that song in our Portuguese class today. Here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXsuW8UiLxE

Mildly translated it says:

I'm not from your street
I'm not your neighbor
I live far from here, alone
I'm here travelling

I'm not from your street
I'm not your neighbor
My life is different than yours
I'm here travelling
This world is not mine
This world is not yours

Even though we weren't doing any deep reflection in class when we listened to it...only learning possessive tenses, it led me to thinking about international relations and some of the deeper problems that exist amidst them.

Perhaps the last two lines say it all, the world is not yours nor theirs. If I could sum up my international travels in just a short phrase, it would be with one that my Honors-PLUS trip to Asia brought to our attention frequently: IT'S NOT BETTER OR WORSE, IT'S JUST DIFFERENT!

The real question we should be asking amidst international discussions is..."What is your motive?" or "What are your goals?" These questions give us a direct route to what is trying to be achieved. But...most intercultural discussions (I'm generalizing here) end in an angered or enraged analysis of different methodologies and often result in a natural dissent of opinion and natural failure of relationship building. Or one person leaving the conversation feeling superior or inferior, based on something outside their control, or with a feeling of arrogance...most notably from US citizens, whose robust economy, government, culture and socioeconomic wealth afford us the opportunity to claim many top rankings in many of those categories.

I've seen many a things in my international travels that I thought to myself...."hmmmm....now that's different!" How about live animals to buy as food in a Chinese Walmart? Or an unscaled fish to eat in Nicaragua? Maybe a government that shuts off the city's access to water to conserve energy...again in Nicaragua? Or is it eating dinner at 10 PM in Barcelona? Sleeping with bugs, birds, and lizards in El Salvador anyone? Or having a house maid there that is paid less than $1 per day? Grocery shopping with Kimodo dragons on a river gondola with monks in Thailand? Or buying gas out of glass coke 2-liters while driving on the other side of the road there too? Maybe you think it's odd that most Latin Americans don't wear shorts, despite the incredibly hot temperatures? Anybody surprised by different forms of governments, religions, racial differences, the list goes on? You name it, it exists! That's what makes the world such a vibrant and exciting place to live. In fact, the more you travel, the more you begin to ask yourself what is considered normal? Quite frankly, I don't even know what's "normal" anymore.

For me, it's hard not to pick up a newspaper nowadays and see an article describing a meeting between nations that doesn't involve an imposition of values, morals, policies, relgions, human rights, etc. from one to another. It makes me wonder how far the respective parties have dug into one another's customs and cultures to understand what it truly means to be one of them...before, making such an attempt to impose.

So that's my challenge to you all. Employ it in the simplest of forms or on the grandest task you've undertaken: do your very best to understand the other party's objectives before scrutinizing their methodologies. I suspect the conversations that will follow will be very different from having had that perspective.

While this account provides no solution, it's simply a thought-provoking post. What's good and what's bad? Is this world mine or is it yours? It's all relative. One of my friends and I have a quippish saying when we see something that we initially think is "wrong" but which steers us to a new thought of it being "different".

Friend one: "That's a recipe for disaster!"
Friend two: "Or success, if you're looking for disaster!"

While we use it when we need a good laugh, perhaps this explains some of the world's most tragic occurrences in my opinion...terrorist attacks, wars, shootings, petty crimes. "Bad" by my definition but a "success" for the perpetrators.

I've strayed from the lighthearted and simple song that I started with but its simple verses, for me, have a profound message, most notably in the 7th line: My life is different than yours.

And when you can fully accept that fact, then I think you'll find paradise, not frustration, in being different. For it's the discovery of differences that makes life and traveling addicting adventures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Check out the following link for some Sao Paulo pics! For some reason none of the vertical pictures loaded...so I need to figure my camera out but here's a little taste...many more to come!


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's the little things...

Well, some of you noted that I haven't noted those little differences in culture that make international travel so unique. So...per your request, here are a few of the things I've noticed in Brazil that are just a slight difference from the good 'ole US of A!

1. Arguably the most frustrating thing I've encountered here in Sao Paulo are the napkins. I know what you're thinking..."napkins, are you serious?!" YES! The napkins here are like wax paper, they don't actually soak up the grease, they just spread it, making my post-meal appearance very unattractive.

2. A close number two here...coffee sizes. No double venti gallon-filled ice jamocha frappakappa here. A cup of coffee is just about 4 ounces. Despite how strong it is...it's still not enough to keep me going so I end up ordering a few. Everyone here takes it with milk and sugar, putting me in a major minority because I like it black.

3. Much to my dissatisfaction, Brazilians are not like the rest of the Latino world with their napping schedule. They don't sleep much at all! Maybe this is a Paulistinho thing, work hard all day and play harder at night, every night. I've begun a new tradition here in SP called napping, population: 1.

4. Brazilians share. They share the food and the tip evenly. Forget claiming your salad and water on the bill because you're helping to pay for someone else's filet mignon. Choose your friends wisely here in Brazil!

5. PDA is more than acceptable. I'd be a rich man if I could collect a nickel for every public make-out session I've seen on Avenida Paulista. Brazilians are open with their affection towards others. There are more hands holding others than not.

6. More of a personal difference than a country-wide one, but I got a Brazilian cell phone and opted for the cheapest and most simple LG model I could find. I had to re-learn how to text with a phone that assigns at least three letters per key. I put lots of effort into communicating!

7. For you more frequent travelers, this one should not be a surprise: used toilet paper goes in the waste basket, not the toilet!

8. Lunch is the big meal...not dinner. And Brazilians love dessert!

9. And finally, thank god I packed lots of toiletries for the year because one bottle of eye contact solution is over $20 US dollars. The Brazilian tax system is very complex and compliance with it drives consumer good prices through the roof.

Yesterday, we took a historical tour of Sao Paulo in the old downtown. It's much more run-down than the newer parts but there was a beautiful cathedral and we enjoyed walking down the old cobblestone streets. Our tour guide had been extremely active in many of the social movements in Brazil so he gave a unique perspective on where the city has come from and where it needs to head in order to stay atop its world-class ranking.

Perhaps one of the more interesting things I noted during our tour about the country's history were the racial struggles that Brazil has encountered...mirroring those of the US. In fact, the government imported nearly 4 million Europeans to Sao Paulo back in the early 1900s to help lighten the population. Discrimination of class rank and access to education, both public and private, remain at the top of social agendas (public is better here than private) while efforts to streamline the tax code and create a welcoming business environment for both permanent businesses and temporary businesses entering the market for the World Cup and Rio Olympics are of the utmost importance.

Our Portuguese classes began today. I think my vocabulary has quadrupled since I arrived less than a week ago. Every day I'm feeling more and more confident. I was even able to use enough of it to navigate a little bit more of the public bus system en route to Parque Ibirapuera (think Central Park NY). It was a beautiful public park with bustling activity (runners, soccer, skateboarding, etc.) I think it will be a once-a-week place for my running schedule.

Many more cultural activities planned for the rest of this week in addition to Portuguese language classes. My homework calls! Ate mais.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stereotypes may be true, they're just incomplete

Alright team, life in Sao Paulo has started to set in a bit more. The short honeymoon is behind me and now it's full steam ahead for this year. I completed orientation yesterday for the study abroad program, not the University just yet. For my Honors-PLUS readers, it reminds me a lot of the program...family style. The program directors and coordinators have our best interests at heart and have a great year planned for me. It looks like we'll be doing lots of city exploration and we have a few weekend trips planned, not to mention the students' own planned trips. I've heard Paraty, Rio, Macchu Picchu, Montevideo, Amazon, Buenos Aires, Patagonia, and Vina del Mar all thrown out as suggestions. Any of which would be great, all would be fantastic!

Yesterday's orientation also oriented me with my first typical Brazilian lunch, filled with fruits, vegetables, churrasco (grilled meats), and desserts. We were also oriented on some of the public transportation system and I successfully navigated my way back by bus to our hotel from the study abroad offices, which is a big feat in Sao Paulo, thus I left orientation feeling confident. Not to mention that I think I did well on my Portuguese language placement test, so I was feeling good about that too.

I'm picking up the language way more than I initially thought I would after my first day here. Like anything, once you calm down and relax, things become much easier...the same goes with Portuguese. Much of that can be credited to the many conversations I've had with my AWESOME host family. And when I say awesome, I mean it. The program put on a reception to introduce the students to their respective host families last night, dinner included. I'm pretty sure everyone was jealous of mine haha. We had a great dinner conversation getting to know each other (family, interests, food, religion, studies, friendships, etc). They brought me some very delicious chocolates as a gift. They've been hosting students for 10 years so they have lots of experience. So the house rules are 1) respect it and 2) have fun. Which I'm all in accordance so it's going to be a great stay.

I moved into the house this afternoon. Perfect amount of space for my things. In addition to having great hosts, I also have a great location! I'm two blocks from the main street, Avenida Paulista, where all the main restaurants, shopping, etc is and I'm just four blocks from the University. Better yet, I'm probably in one of the safest neighborhoods of Sao Paulo. Lots of traffic and things to do. The meals have been outstanding and my hosts have been more than hospitable.

So, I've also been asked already if I've taken lots of pictures. And the answer is "no". Unless of course all you want to see is a bunch of buildings that look alike. Brazil may be a picturesque country but Sao Paulo is as far from picturesque as I've seen. I could literally take one picture on Avenida Paulista and copy it one hundred times and I would have successfully shown you every part of the city haha. I'm hoping that some of our cultural visits around the city, to parks and museums, will provide some photo ops. In the meantime though, I'm in no rush...trying to blend in like a local and talk like a native...then I'll get more confident with the picture taking. After all, I do have a year to document it.

So, in an effort to be more local, I do need to step up my social game. Paulistas are partiers. I thought the streets were busy during the daytime, until I saw them at 1 AM. It seems like young people go out every night of the week, which despite my Fraternity days, is still a personal struggle haha. The Brazilian drink of choice is a caipirihna. It's a fruity drink with this god awful alcohol called cachaca (pronounced "cashassa"). I only had one before I realized that you could have them with vodka or sake instead, thank god.

So, as a means of closure for this post, during orientation we watched an awesome TED talk and I think it's the perfect way to describe the many conversations I had in the US before coming to Brazil. I was questioned often, "Why Brazil?" "Isn't it dangerous?" "Brazilians are agressive." "Isn't Sao Paulo the mugging capital of the world?" and on and on and on. So now that I've been here for a few days, the lesson has been this: Stereotypes may be true, they're just incomplete. Yes, those things are all true to a degree, but I've been opened up to a vibrant and energetic culture, with incredibly open people who want to show everyone the best that Brazil has to offer. So everyday that I'm here and I experience the exact opposite of what everyone questioned me about, at the core, is the reason I decided to study abroad. After all, I've already encountered many that have claimed the US as the most dangerous developed country in the world. We must remember that things are relative, that all these "stereotypes" may be true, but that they're incomplete. Another story exists. With that, I encourage you to take the time to watch this short TED talk clip...I think you'll further understand what I mean and will have gained a new perspective about intercultural differences from reading my blog. It's worth the next 20 mins of your time.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Day Has Come

Well, friends. I have officially arrived!

The last few days have been especially memorable. I spent some time with my parents and got everything squared away. I had multiple tussles with the purchase of my MagicJack so I could make free international calls (and it's still not working properly) and then spent an hour or so setting up my Slingbox so I can access US TV stations on my computer...again, difficulties. We've all said it, technology is so good and so frustrating.

And on another frustrating note, Delta continued its streak of poor flight service that I've had recently with a nonfunctioning monitor and a cabin light that flickered on and off every two seconds above me...not to mention we were delayed two hours. But that was all a good test of my Latin American patience.

Nevertheless, I landed and bolted through customs, jumped into some Portuguese talk in no time and successfully found the study abroad program coordinators waiting for me outside the gate. Everyone in the group seems great (and I'm not just saying that because this is a public blog haha). After getting everyone together we boarded the bus for the one and a half hour ride into downtown.

The hotel rooms weren't ready yet so we headed out for some lunch, a delicious Paulistinho sandwich (Brazilian sausage, eggs, greens, beans, potatoes), and then spent an extremely lengthy time in the TIM cell phone store. We all bought Brazilian phones so that we can call each other here in Sao Paulo.

We haven't really had any time to do any city exploring yet but here are my initial reactions...

Sao Paulo is GIGANTIC! I wish I would have snapped a photo from the plane when we were landing. The city is endless, I couldn't even see the edges of it from the air....just miles and miles of buildings and lots of smog. We're staying in the business district on the main street, Avenida Paulista. There are tons of people, very diverse. I barely look foreign here. The main street was very clean and the people were vary fashionable.

Portuguese is going to be a great language to learn but even despite my frequent dates with Rosetta Stone and significant experience with Spanish, I'm going to be climbing a steep hill.  Paulistas talk very fast and everything just kind of merges together. I'm at the stage where I'm picking out key words that I know to try to understand. Lots of the vocabulary is similar to Spanish but the grammar is more complex. But, I'm still able to speak and read it quite well which is helping.

We've got about an hour break here for a nap before our orientation begins and the program is taking us out for dinner thereafter.

Looking forward to sharing more with you all...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Counting down the days

To help avoid the simplicity of post-travel questions like..."how was Brazil?"from a very complex experience like the one I'm about to embark on, I decided that sharing my Brazilian adventure as it happens, is what my friends and family would like most. After all, aren't travel stories much better to share as they occur rather than when you're back on the daily grind?

The last few days leading up to my departure have been complete madness. Not only was I finishing up my final co-op at Ernst & Young, I had to manage my time to make necessary visits and calls to doctors, insurance companies, banks, post offices, moving companies, Brazilian and US consulates, the Boren office, family in Chicago, friends in Cincinnati, the list goes on. I moved out all my stuff from PIKE and got a moving truck loaded from our storage unit up to my brother in Michigan. I often look at a list and ask myself, "how the heck is all of this going to get done?" and well...realizing that in a few short days, I'd be moving to another country, I asked myself that question more than ever. But somehow and someway, I always find a way to get it done, just in time. Or in this case, maybe one pair of socks away from my car trunk not shutting as I made my way to New York to visit my parents for the last few days before departing for Sao Paulo.

While in no way do I think you can be completely prepared for something like I'm about to do, I think I have everything that's within my control, prepared and ready. My previous international travels have taught me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and certainly my first few days will be just that...a new culture, new language, massive city, new friends, classes, and again, the list goes on. I think the thing that's getting me most right now is that I'll be living an entire year in a language other than English. Rosetta Stone and I have become close friends over the last few weeks so I'm feeling a little more confident but of course, the only way to become fluent in another language is to have full immersion...so time will tell. Good news is that my host family does not speak any English, so I'll be forced to practice...not to mention half my classes will be taught in Portuguese, including my international tax class...that should be fun!

For those unfamiliar with this opportunity, last Fall I was encouraged by the University to apply for a Boren award. The Boren award is a funding apparatus for study abroad programs made possible by the US Federal Government, Institute of International Education, and the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars study in areas of the world and in languages that are deemed critical to national security as denoted by the US State Department. The best part about the term "national security" is that scholars get to broadly define that term based on their academic discipline...that's why you see an Accounting major like me jet setting south. My application focused on US national financial security and economic diplomacy between Brazil and the United States. I explored differences in financial reporting, foreign direct investment, complex tax structures, and major economic engines such as the World Cup (Rio 2014) and the Olympics (Rio 2016). Thus, I proposed that study at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Latin America's premier business school, in Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic capital, in their International Management program would be most beneficial to me and my career goals. As a result of winning the scholarship, scholars agree to a one-year service requirement to the Federal Government in a national security role. While there are a number of ways the service requirement can be completed, I'm planning to pursue an opportunity in economic diplomacy in the State Department or in financial intelligence. If you're interested in learning more about the Boren program, feel free to check out their website at: borenawards.org.

Well, I'm already realizing that this post is getting a little long and well, in an effort to not mirror the academic work I'll be completing, I'll do my best to keep them short and sweet...because after all, I want everyone to read them...not get half way through and think...good lord I don't have time to live this Brazilian adventure with this kid. I'll link pictures too! Thank you to everyone who helped make this opportunity possible for me and I can't wait to share it with you all.