How it begins

A few days ago we finally received information about what lies ahead – our host families, where and with whom we will be living, and what our apprenticeship will look like. I can still remember the nervous tingles in my fingers once the email loaded. This was the moment I had been waiting for many weeks, as it would have been the first encounter with some solid facts about my stay. I am really ecstatic to tell you about my expectations.

Reading about what I will be doing as my on-site project made my heart jump a little, as I will be working in an institution founded in 1980 focusing on ocean wildlife preservation with a focus on sea turtles. I am especially curious to learn about these threatened species, the institution’s research areas, and the many other sites fighting for environmental conservation in Brazil.

My host family lives in Florianópolis, a city on the coast of Brazil about 700km south of São Paulo. It is a town said to be popular among surfers and fishermen, sparking excitement but even more so, curiosity. I have always dreamt of living close to the sea and this wish is now about to be my reality. Angela, her husband Ari, and their two children live in a house with a garden and like to cook. Apolo and Aurora, who are nine and three respectively, go to school in the afternoon, but I wish to bond with them on the weekend. With immense gratitude at the opportunity to join their daily life, I hope to learn a lot from my host family; some Portuguese, new recipes, how they plant their own vegetables, and maybe even a glimpse of capoeira.

This journey is to begin now, at this very moment… sitting on the plane departing from San Francisco on our way to Floripa. Leaving the gathering of all fellows at Stanford behind, we will travel to different destinations, embark on our own adventure. This excitement can be felt in every heart-warming goodbye when leaving just-made friends for eight months, however, it paints a smile in every now so familiar face. Happiness accompanies our small group in the prospect of finally breathing the salty ocean breeze of Southern Brazil.