My name is Douglas, and I am an exchange student from Brazil. Some interesting facts about my home country are:
- Soccer is the leading sport, but Formula One auto racing and volleyball are also extremely popular.
- Brazil is the only country in South America where the people speak Portuguese, not Spanish.
I decided to come to the United States because I wanted to experience learning about another culture, challenge myself, and to learn the language. The first few days after my arrival were pretty funny because I didn�t understand the language here, and so I just kept nodding my head in agreement. Actually, the first thing that I understood was, "You have to go to school tomorrow." Since my arrival in the U.S., I have learned many things. It feels like I have met thousands of people; however, only few whose names I can remember!
School is one area of my life as an exchange student, which took a while to get used to. In Brazil, we begin our classes earlier in the morning and are finished around 1:00 p.m. (I would then go home and take a nap!) Here in the United States school goes until 4:00 p.m., and sometimes I just want to take a nap while still in class. I have met the majority of my friends in athletics and have had the most fun at school. I play varsity soccer and was able to travel to tournaments and learn more about Texas and the U.S.
I believe that the most interesting discovery that I have made here deals with church. In Brazil, I attended church for weddings, baptisms or other special events, but we did not attend weekly. I was told that when I came here that most host families attended church much more often than at home. At first, I thought that going to church that often would be boring, however after I started going each Sunday; I realized how different it was from home. Church in the U.S. is more than just talking about God; it is about having a "family" that helps each other. It is about having fun while doing things to learn about God through Bible studies, services and other events at church. Church has been a good surprise for me!
Another surprise for me this year is that I found another family. My host family has treated me with lots of love and compassion since the beginning, like I was one of their own kids. That has made me feel really comfortable here in the U.S., and they have taught me a lot about the language, culture and family.
In conclusion, my experience so far has been great! Lots of funny things have happened to me, like watching my host brother drive a 4-wheeler into a pond. I have learned so much about the U.S., about Americans, and about myself. I hope that I have taught some about my home country in return.