Jade Sierra – Florianópolis, Brazil

Jade Sierra (Photoblogger)

Year in school: Junior

Major: Linguistics

Minor: Latin American Studies

Program: USAC – Florianópolis (Academic Year)

Have you traveled abroad before? If so, where and why?

Yes. As a child, I frequently visited Colombia to spend the summer and visit family at least once a year. I recently visited my home country as an “adult” earlier this year in March 2019 to re-experience and re-claim a part of my identity. I have also visited Morocco and Spain with friends, and Italy, and Portugal by myself. I travel to open my mind; to make myself aware of the different ways of life that exist out there, to taste different flavors, and experience the different people of the world.

Have you studied abroad before? If so, where, when, and for what? 

Nope, first time!

Where are you studying abroad this time and why did you choose this location & program?

I will be studying abroad in Florianópolis, Brazil. I chose Brazil because I wanted to challenge myself linguistically while being surrounded with South American culture- an attempt to be closer to my roots. However, I chose this program because it was one of the few programs offered in Brazil. I also chose this program because I will be part of a group of students not just from Florida, but other states around the country, and even students from different countries.

What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad program? What are you most nervous about? 

I am most excited to be able to live a “daily, commoner” life in a country and culture different from my own. Although I’ll still be considered a visitor, I look forward to doing the regular, ordinary things of daily life, like having responsibilities and running errands while navigating all of this in a different language. I am also very excited to try all the fresh fruits that Brazil has to offer!

What is your favorite subject to photograph (people, cityscapes, landscapes, daily life, etc.) and why? 

I would say my favorite types of subjects to photograph are people and activities in my daily life. I find a lot of joy in taking pictures of people, I would say this type of subject makes up the majority of my pictures. I specifically like taking pictures of people because of the emotions I’m able to capture. Most of the time, the body language and expressions on people’s faces is reflective of the environment the picture has been taken in, helping my friends and me feel all those same emotions well after we have left the scene. I’m also really fond of photographing the small, minute things of daily life because although they’re so routine, they’re the easiest to forget. I like being able to look back at a picture and instantly remembering what I was doing, who I was, and what was going on in my life all through one simple, “mindless” task.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I would say I’m a very simple person. I spend a lot of time cooking- my favorite foods including anything with cilantro and lime, lots of coconut milk, and curries. When I’m not cooking, I enjoy spending time with friends outside, swimming, taking pictures, or once again- cooking.

Aside from these, I’m very interested in increasing my global knowledge. I enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds, learning about their culture, and learning bits and pieces of their language. Lastly, I really enjoy helping people, in whatever form that may be. To me, this means becoming more educated about social issues (there’s many), advocating for marginalized and unrepresented communities, or simply listening to others share their stories.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I think the animals I resonate with the most, or at least deeply admire, are whales. Although each kind of whale is majestic and unique, I have a strong connection to Blue Whales. As the largest animals on the planet, I often wonder to myself if they are truly aware of their enormous power. Found usually only small groups or even pairs, I would say they are incredibly independent with just a few strong and trustworthy crutches around them, which I can also say about myself. They’re also one of the loudest animals and are known for their songs- and who doesn’t like singing? (Especially when this is their form of communication!?) These gentle giants of the ocean are truly so one of a kind and beautiful; I would be honored if I was ever compared to them even the slightest bit.

Zagora, Morocco

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