As the sun rose on our last full day in Rio, many people decided that relaxing from the hectic, exciting and preparing for the coming travel days was important, but others went out to squeeze precious fun out of there last hours in the city. I really wanted to get people’s thoughts on our short but insightful trip in Rio de Janeiro city and so I asked a few of the GATE students a few questions and recorded their responses.
Q1. What was your favorite experience from your time in Rio de Janeiro city?
Q2. What was the hardest experience from the time in Rio de Janeiro city?
Q3. Talk about your experience with the Favela Tour?
Q4. What was the experience that you found taught you the most on the trip in Rio de Janeiro?
Khaliah Al Niomi:
Q1: “I really enjoyed the ability to escape to the beach and being able to just walk away from the stresses of life. Also, I loved talking and listening to Leticia; where she is in her life is where I want to be and being able to talk to her one on one helped me along the journey of finding myself. This trip is helping me to find myself, and find out what I want. I am trying to live in the day.”
Q2: “I had a lot of trouble with the language. It’s similarities and differences between Portuguese and Spanish made it really difficult to learn.”
Q3: “Poverty isn’t misery. This was the quote that meant the most to me from the Favela Tour. They told us that poverty is a give and take and it seemed that most of the Favela people actually seemed pretty happy. It really made me wonder what defines happiness and what is really necessary to be happy.”
Q4: “I learned a lot about public transportation. It was very stressful and difficult to navigate and understand where I was in the city, but I certainly learned to be more confident about it. “
Q1: “Spending time and interacting with Leticia, our MindRio tour guide was my favorite experience in Brazil. She was so helpful and understanding even through the language and culture barriers and she really put a lot of effort into supporting us in going out into the city and finding what we wanted to do.”
Q2: “The language of Portuguese was very difficult. It was difficult to communicate what I wanted to know or what I needed and it was really challenging to get around.”
Q3: “It felt really awkward having the people of the Favelas put on display and showing them to us. I really wanted to know their story and get their feelings on the tours. I really wish we would have been able to participate in a social project instead of just taking the tour through the Favela.”
Q4: “Communicating was the biggest learning experience. I felt very uncomfortable and unwelcome and really wished I could communicate effectively to all the people we were seeing, because I just felt that we were seeing them and not meeting any of them.
Q1: “I really enjoyed experiencing the city on foot and alone as opposed to the common tourist tours and stops. I really enjoy the feel of just living in a city and don’t like being singled out as a tourist. People treat you so differently when they feel like you belong and I really tried to experience that while in Rio de Janeiro.”
Q2: “I personally, had the most trouble with the climate. I am very cold weather oriented and though it is winter in Brasil, I soon realized that the oppressive heat and my lack of being in shape made walking around the city hard for me.”
Q3: “I felt that seeing the Favelas was a necessary part of experiencing Rio but that the tour is one of the least valuable and most exploitative ways to pursue it. I don’t feel that people should be held to some kind of silent permission to allow tourists into their homes and I believe that the people of the Favelas should be able to speak for themselves, rather than having an outsiders speaking for them.
Q4: “Learning the language and experiencing local hangouts was truly the best part of Brasil. I loved hanging out with Leticia and learning about her home town since she was not from Rio. It really served to show me that even in country, the people from the different places are very different and enjoy different things.”
Q1: “My favorite experiences came from visiting the places around Rio, specifically Cordoba and Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugarloaf and the Maracana Futbol Arena in central Rio. The first two are huge national wonders and futbol is truly the spirit of the people of Brasil.”
Q2: “I felt the hardest experience was visiting the Favelas and trying to be the least offensive and trying to avoid acting superior during the tour.”
Q3: “It was really inspiring to see the people of the Favelas striving to make their lives better and that they did the best with what they had. This made me really proud of them as a group.
Q4: “Learning to communicate in a country in which you don’t speak the native language and using non-verbal communication was a really interesting learning experience for me.”