Seryna Valencia studied abroad in Florianópolis, Brazil for the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 semester. We spoke with Seryna about why she chose to study abroad for a year, what fears she had before she left and how she faced them, and what she learned about herself during her year abroad.
Why did you choose to study abroad in Brazil?
I chose Brazil because not a lot of people go there (small program) and I liked the idea of living on an island.
Why did you choose to study abroad for a year?
I chose a year because I did not want to have to leave wanting more. I knew I would really get all I wanted out of the experience if I was there without that rushed for time feeling. When you are there for a year you are truly living there. It’s more than just a very long vacation which is what the first semester felt like. Once you get comfortable then it is time to go home and that is what a year gave me.
What were some of your fears about studying abroad for a year?
I was fearful that I would lose relationships at home, that something bad would happen at home and I would not be able to just go back, and I was fearful that I would not like Brazil. I got over the relationship fear as soon as I realized that these people in the program were going to be friends for life and that I was nervous for no reason. I quickly realized that I can’t live in fear and that I can’t control everything. Brazil was perfect and beautiful so that was just a sweet relief.
How did you manage your homesickness while abroad?
I managed homesickness by calling my family as much as I could. Face timing is a gem.
How were you pushed out of your comfort zone during your time abroad?
I was pushed out of my comfort zone by practicing a new language. I now feel unembarrassed to sound like an idiot.
What did you learn about yourself during your time abroad?
I learned that I am a lot stronger than I thought. Growing up and staying in the same town for college, I thought that I would for sure freakout and crumble but I was able to do it. I was able to make it to the end.
If you’re interested in studying abroad for a year or semester in Brazil, visit our website: https://usac.edu/brazil