Oliver Ramirez is a member of the Class of 2015 pursuing a major in Theater. During the spring semester 2014, he studied in Sao Paulo, Brazil through CIEE.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study abroad in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the Spring of 2014 through CIEE and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. I had only taken Portuguese 100 the semester before but I had used my winter term to teach myself Portuguese as well. I had always wanted to go to Brazil and was drawn in by everything I had heard about Carnaval, the food, the music and the beautiful beaches. I’m a theater major but the program that I went on did not focus on theater or acting. I knew I had enough credits for my major and so decided to go anyway and study something completely new for the semester. Sure enough, I took classes in Publicity and Propaganda and I loved it. It was so different from any classes I had taken at Oberlin and it was still something that really interested me. The other students I went with were all great people as well, open minded and outgoing. I was able to meet and make friends with some of the locals and they were so welcoming and encouraged me to speak in Portuguese with me, even though I didn’t feel like I spoke it all that well.
One of the friends I made was actually an actor at a local theater company and he was nice enough to introduce me to everyone in the company and get me some tickets to some of their shows. He also showed me just how big theater and acting is in Sao Paulo. I never could have imagined how many times I would go to the theater in there. Even though I was not taking any actual acting classes in school there, I learned so much about acting and theater.
I would love to go back to Sao Paulo in the future if I ever get a chance and I highly recommend it to anyone planning to study abroad. Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world with around 20 million people in the metropolitan area and even if the school you go to doesn’t have the specific classes you’d like to take, there’s a very very good chance that you’ll be able to find a way to get involved in what you’re interested in and discover something new.