Finals are finally over, I have my grades and I feel extremely accomplished. Studying for International Trade and Brazilian Economics entirely in Portuguese was a challenge for me, but well worth it. Through those classes, along with International Finance, I have learned an incredible amount of vocabulary and have seen a completely new perspective on international business, the United States, and world politics. Even though finals are over, I continue to work on my Portuguese. I am very proud of how much Portuguese I have learned over the past five months, but it is never ending. Vocabulary, idioms, and slang are continuous work and still can be frustrating sometimes. Despite that I’m still motivated!! I love when I finally master a difficult pronunciation or learn a new idiom.
The end of finals was a signal for the start of the World Cup, which was no coincidence. PUC rearranged their schedule to finish classes by the start of the World Cup. Just about everything in Brazil surrounds the World Cup. If you’re in a host city, there is early release from work on game days and it’s early release for all of Brazil when Brazil plays. In the days and months leading up to this event, I was starting to get the feeling that not a single Brazilian was excited for the World Cup. The phrase “Imagina na Copa” was all I heard. It was a common phrase everyone used to say, “you think that’s a problem now? Imagine during the World Cup.” There are many things made more difficult by the World Cup, but despite that there is such a high energy here! Now that it has actually started, there’s a slightly better mood as everyone gathers to watch the games every day.
As a soccer fan, I am absolutely enjoying all of this minus watching one of my favorite teams play horribly and some of those annoying horns that don’t stop even after midnight. Copacabana has turned even more into tourist central. It is actually difficult to find someone speaking Portuguese. When Argentina played, you would have thought you were in Buenos Aires, not Rio de Janeiro.
You can watch a game just about anywhere. This place is a Swedish bar and restaurant on the lake.
The FIFA Fan Fest entrance is right by the famous Copacabana Palace and only about two blocks from where I live. It is by far the second most energetic place I have ever watched a soccer game, only after the stadium itself. For some games, it could even be better than a stadium! Thousands of fans gather in front of the giant screen, fired up and chanting for their country.
Quick snap on my way home from work of all the Chileans and Spanish fans heading to the Maracanã stadium. They are all chanting, but the famous, catchy Chilean chant clearly drowns out the Spanish one. I even found myself saying it in my head even though I was rooting for Spain.
I was about 1 of less than 100 Spain fans in this crowd! It was quite intimidating, but I supported my team until the end. For those of you not watching the World Cup, Spain has not been doing well. Another Spain fan came up to me on the way out and said with a look of disappointment, but somewhat hopeful, “nos vemos en cuatro años” or “see you in four years.” Viva la Roja!
The USA game was amazing! It was so strange to be surrounded by so many Americans, but so exciting! I have never seen so many American soccer fans. I don’t think I’ve even ever seen American football fans go this crazy for their team. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the USA has the highest number of World Cup fans here after Brazil.
Try to find me in this picture!
Given that classes ended a little bit earlier than scheduled, I have a couple weeks here without classes. In this time, I’m living the life of a carioca. Every day I take the metro to my internship, get work done, talk about the World Cup, and head home usually a little early because of all the game day early releases. I absolutely love my internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce because I get the chance to learn so much about international business and trade and to work alongside Americans and Brazilians.
Overall, I am just taking in every minute I have left here.