Volunteering in Curitiba, Brazil by Susana Mpinge

Growing up I have meet so many people from different countries in Namibia and with that came the curiosity of wanting to experience a different environment and culture. So an opportunity arose and I grabbed it. I came across AIESEC Namibia exchange programme and decided to go do a volunteering internship in Curitiba, Brazil, for 2 months.

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I was working in the Gira Mundo project in a NGO responsible for young girls who have suffered abuse, crime or cannot stay with their families due to the place not being safe. I with other interns from other countries taught the girls through workshops, lectures, games and other activities on four different subjects: social responsibility, entrepreneurship, cultural differences and sustainability.

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Before I got to Brazil, I was expecting it to be as they advertise in the movies: everyone beautiful with perfect bodies. Don’t get me wrong they are beautiful but not perfect but I must say their culture is amazing, loving and unified.

During my stay, I traveled to the following places: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio. The language (Portuguese) was the main challenge but I was crazy enough to go without knowing even basic Portuguese. The trips were amazing and I got to meet different types of Brazilians from different states of Brazil.

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I would say that the experience has made me a better individual. The way I reason is different, the way I see life and opportunities are different. My personality has defiantly improved, so is my understanding of other peoples cultures. I have built a network of friends around the world. I can go somewhere now and know I am safe as I have friends that I know personally.
I would recommend anyone interested in the exchange programme to go abroad, it’s a different world out there. It was the best challenge andI now know how it feels like to overcome my fears.

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People will always have something negative to say about any place but it is until you get there and experience it yourself that you realize it came be  a home away from home. I now have a family in Brazil that I can go back any time. My host family have treated me far better than some my own family. I love them so much.

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