Three women from Brazil, who are currently students at the University of La Verne, shared their American experience with the La Verne community on Monday.
The Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and CAPES put on the event, which included Brazilian food and the three students’ interesting takes on American culture.
The women involved were Soraia Teodoro da Silva, Christiana Miranda David Gossani and Nathalia Florencia Barros Azeredo.
“I think it is essential to have international students on our campus and for our own ULV students to study internationally,” President Steve Morgan said.
The three students spoke about their four months at La Verne, as well as their off-campus experiences around California and other states. Their main focus while in the United States was to understand poverty and the environment in a different country.
“I wanted to overcome prejudices and stereotypes I had of American politics,” Teodoro da Silva, a social science major, said. “I was able to do that during my time in America.”
All three women found American technology to be far superior to the technology of Brazil. The students felt the technological capabilities of the United States create a higher-level education, which they were excited to experience.
On the other hand, the students felt cell phone capabilities and other technologies lead to many distractions when trying to have successful face-to-face communications with others. In Brazil, people speak without looking at their phones and have long dinners without distractions.
“They were used to a long leisurely dinner,” said Julie Wheeler, director of development and host mother of Teodoro da Silva. “I did not have time for that with work and meetings.”
Wheeler has rented rooms to Asian students for some time, but this was her first experience with a Brazilian student. She said Teodoro da Silva was warm, friendly and really enjoyed her new experience.
Although the students were busy, they also had time to travel and sight see while in the United States.
“When I went to Las Vegas it was like nothing I had ever seen,” Gossani said. “I cannot even explain the experience, as it was truly amazing. Gambling is illegal in Brazil, so that was exciting.”
“My best experience here was being able to go to new places with really nice people and to have the academic experience I had,” Teodoro da Silva said.
The three students found that it was difficult at times to just walk up and speak to someone or to make lasting friends, even though ULV students were nice to them.
“I thought I would have very few friends here because America is considered a closed society in Brazil,” Gossani said. “I was actually able to become friends with many nice people.”
The students also had internships while studying at La Verne. Teodoro da Silva interned with Habitat for Humanity, where she learned how important ethnic diversity has been to the development of American society. Gossani and Azeredo interned with Jay Jones doing environmental studies.
“It was a culture shock to hear that people thought global warming was not a real thing,” Azeredo said. “I had never heard an opinion like that.”
During their time in America, the students were able to experience a higher level of education, learn new ideas, meet new people and experience life in a different part of the world.
“I hope this exchange will pave the way for future collaborations and give other students the opportunity to experience a different culture,” Azeredo said.
“I am really happy with the outcome of this opportunity,” Teodoro da Silva said. “I definitely grew as a person and I was really happy to study here and be a part of the university.”
Blake Humphrey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.