Love Letter

by Erica DeBarge

Dear Spain,

Is it possible to miss you even though I have three months more? The inherent kindness of strangers—their naturally open, welcoming, and talkative nature. The terrazas—why would anyone eat inside when the weather in Madrid is almost always beautiful, sunny, and breezy? The winter sunsets (and sunsets in general). The abnormally long hours of sunlight. The late nature of everything from sleep, work, and school to meals—I feel like I get more out of my day. The free museums—El Prado and Reina Sofia. The social nature of food and meals—people take their sweet time and chat.

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My 1+4 Story: Evan Robison

“This experience has been incredible. I have learned so many things about Spanish culture, food, history etc. from talking to my fellow teachers at the school or the kids who are always eager to talk to a tall, blonde Americano. Everyone has been very welcoming to me and always helps me with my Spanish language skills. I’ve seen much greater improvement in the English level of the classes that I spend time in than those that I go to less often, which is a sign of the difference I have made so far. I’ve also noticed in myself a deep desire to keep learning. I see kids every day who do not take advantage of their opportunities in class, and I cannot help but think that I have done the same for much of my time in school.

Being in this service-learning program has been a very enlightening and beneficial experience to me and if you are curious, I strongly encourage you to take a closer look at the program to see if it interests you. With all of the stress that built up for me in high school, I would be so incredibly overwhelmed if I were at Tufts right now. And being away from school for a year has only increased my desire to go back to Tufts and continue with my education. The program staff and my 1+4 peers have been so supportive of  me.”

-Evan, #1plus4spain fellow, shares his #my1plus4story on his #tufts1plus4 bridge-year!

Family Life

by Sophia Carroll

I went last weekend to visit my host family in Curitiba, the city that I stayed in for two weeks when I first got to Brazil for In-Country Orientation. My family in Curitiba is a couple with no kids, and they are both doctors, (financially comfortable and extremely well-educated), and spoke English. I was very much in my comfort zone, living with the same language, socioeconomic status, and habits I was used to. I remember worrying when I was there that my experience wasn’t “Brazilian” enough or simply different enough from the life I had just come from in the US. Visiting them for the weekend was a nice little vacation back into my American life of speaking English and having a clothes dryer. Seeing my family and Curitiba again after four months also allowed me to compare the Sophia of September who had just arrived in Brazil, homesick and terrified, to the more confident, Portuguese-speaking Sophia of January.

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Carnaval!

by Eugene Henninger-Voss

photo by 1+4 fellow Di Wu

February was crazy! It started of finished “Training Seminar 2”, the second of three program retreats. This time I was hanging out with all of my friends in the state of São Paolo. On the second weekend of February I went to Blumenau, the city with the largest Oktoberfest in the world after Munich. The next weekend saw me in Rio de Janeiro. Then I was barely able to return home before heading out again to Iguacu Falls (worth the google image search if you don’t know what it is). I finally returned to Florianopolis, for probably the last time, the day before Carnaval. If I thought the rest of the month was crazy, I had another thing coming to me.

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