Study Abroad Testimonials

Sophie Adelman, Intersession 2016

Five weeks of tropical weather, eating tapioca, and listening to music in the streets was enough to convince me that Brazil is the best place on Earth. All thanks to Flavia and the Hopkins Portuguese Program, I got to embark on a journey of Portuguese learning, through classes and field trips in Salvador, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. I’m really glad to have been able to take part in Hopkins’ growing Portuguese programming, and to anyone who’s thought about going one of the Hopkins trips even once, I’ll say that you’ll always remember your time in Brazil.

Milena Berhane, Intersession 2017

Having the opportunity to travel to Salvador, Brazil was an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. Before the trip, I was anxious about the language-barrier, living with a family I knew nothing about, and managing to make my way around the city. But, I was also very excited to experience the stereotypical images I had seen and known about Brazil: sunny skies, beautiful beaches, and energetic people.

When first arriving in Salvador, Brazil, I was captured by the diversity of the population as we passed by a myriad of individuals having many different skin shades and hair textures. I had never seen anything like it, and it was quite overwhelming—in the best way possible. Multiple sounds enveloped the city; sounds of drumming and music, people talking and laughing, cars in the streets, etc. The people of Salvador were extremely kind, and the majority of people I encountered were understanding when they knew I could not speak Portuguese. Walking throughout the city and learning about Brazil’s rich culture explained the varied diversity and lifestyle of the Brazilian people. During the trip, we also visited many historical sites that began to unfold the multiple layers of Salvador’s history, from the years of the slave trade to the present day issues both Salvador and Brazil face with race, education, etc.

Staying with a host family was one of the most eye-opening experiences of the trip. The family was extremely kind, and I learned how customs and lifestyles differ in Brazil compared to the U.S. Residing with a host family also allowed me to practice any Portuguese I was learning, and even learn useful words and phrases that I needed for tasks like ordering at a restaurant or giving directions.

Overall, traveling to Salvador, Brazil was an amazing exposure to Brazilian culture, Brazilian people, and the Portuguese language. I have never experienced such culture shock in my life, but I am glad and extremely grateful that I was a part of the first group from Hopkins to travel to Salvador. This intersession trip was one of the most memorable voyages I have ever been on, and I hope that I will be able to revisit the wonderful city of Salvador someday in the near future.

Lucy Delgado, Intersession 2017

Salvador is a place that stays with you long after leaving. Its vibrant culture from the music to the food is what draws you in, but then the engaging Brazilian kindness and openness makes you feel at home. I wish I had known about Salvador sooner and it was one of the best decisions to go abroad there for intersession. What I learned in those three short weeks keeps coming up in conversations inside and outside of the classroom.

Allie MacManus, Summer 2016

Traveling to Brazil this past summer was an incredible and unforgettable experience. My Portuguese language skills improved tremendously, I learned so much about Brazilian history and culture, and got to witness the Olympics preparations firsthand. I would go again just for the pão de queijo and suco de maracujá!

Max Morris, Intersession 2016

It was my first time doing study abroad and traveling alone internationally, and Rio was an amazing first experience. The natural beauty of the city, warmth of Brazilians, and the Carnaval preparations were so different from anything that I had seen here in the U.S. I learned so much about myself and adapting to different cultural norms from my experience, and felt more “present” and “in the moment” than ever before although I was only there for a month. Today, a year after my trip, I still feel that a piece of myself is in Rio and I would encourage anyone to take the opportunity to visit.

Alex Sadler, Summer 2015

After sophomore year I got the chance to spend my summer studying abroad in Rio! After a month of an intensive Hopkins led program I was able to practice my Portuguese skills by working as a nonprofit consultant in a Brazilian favela. I loved every aspect of my Rio experience, be it drinking mate limão on the beach in Ipanema or playing duck duck goose with kids in the favela where I worked!

Alice White, Intersession 2017

My time in Salvador can best be captured by the imagery of: laughter, music, drums, sunshine, smiles, and warmth. The JHU program led by Dr. Azeredo-Cerqueira did a beautiful job of immersing us in Bahiana culture through the homestay program and the careful selection of which regional art, music, food, dance, and religion was included. The curriculum cohesively presented a picture of the African diaspora and moreover was a blissful experience.