2007 - Rebecca Bridges - Gaspar, Brazil

2007-07 Rebecca Bridges—Postcards from Bazil

The past three months have been even better that the first. And this seemed impossible 3 months ago. But since then I have settled down more, changed families, learnt lots more Portuguese and travelled quite a lot.

I changed families around 2 months ago and now I have a brother! My dad is really nice and my mum is sweet. But the dog isn’t very nice, it doesn’t like me to much so I kind of

have to stay out of her way! But I really like my new house, I have really settled in and they have made me feel most welcome in their home, which is nice.

School has been great, I am doing a thing called ‘mono empresa’ which is like a mini company and we’re making a product to sell. Tomorrow we will have a big party called ‘Fiesta Junina’ at the school too. I am even understanding classes and can almost get good scores in my tests. And I finally got a 10 on my English test! My school is so great and my class is fantastic and my teachers are funny.

There was a really big German party in my town the other weekend called a ‘Stammtisch’ and it was awesome. My town has also been really cold! And I packed hardly any winter clothes, because I thought I was coming to a hot country. I have definitely been partying plenty, There is always something on, on the weekend! Brasilians know how to have a good time. I have started Portuguese lessons too and it is helping my Portuguese.

I have almost been all the way around Brazil too! I went to Rio Grande do Sul for Easter and then I went back there with the family of another exchange student. We did a big tour of an Italian area down there! It was really beautiful and very cold! I went and visited the exchange students in Rio do Sul for a few days and it was fun. A few days later I went to Foz de Iguacu, it was stunning, the waterfalls are HUGE! I was amazed. There was a path that goes out into the middle of the whole area and it seems like it is raining down there because of all the water!

We had a short trip to Paraguay as well, which was pretty interesting. It was just a big crowded market that was very hot and very cheap. I have also made a few trips up to Joinville which is a really cool city! I have also spent a few weekends in Floripa which is always very relaxing. It is the city with the highest living tandard if Brazil and I can see why. It is very beautiful there. And I went on the Amazon trip! Which was absolutely incredible! I saw alligators huge snakes and spiders! I held a sloth! We slept in hammocks on boats and one night in the forest. We went swimming in the Amazon river and I had the greatest time ever! We did a lot of trekking and visited Indians and some people ate monkey and alligator meat! I met so many exchange students too.

This is my exciting life for now.


2007-03-21 Exchange Student Report - Rebecca Bridges in Brazil.

Rebecca (Bec) Bridges sent this - her 2 month report on Wednesday March 21st from Florianopolis. 

I have now been in Brazil for 2 whole months! So far it has been, wonderful and indescribable! I arrived in Brazil after flying for about 30 hours, over 5 different flights. Melbourne to Sydney to Los Angeles and then we had a stop. Los Angeles was awesome - 3 meals of MacDonald’s and a little stroll on Manhattan Beach.

In the morning (exchange students) Julia and Jenna went out by themselves, Lauren and Stacey headed to Canada together and I and 4 other Brazilian exchange students from another district went to Chicago with our 2 terrific escorts. The lights of Chicago at night from a plane window are stunning, but that was all we saw. The airport was nice though! And it was snowing! We got even more excited when we met a Brazilian guy that was really nice and tried to teach us a few things in Portuguese!

We finally arrived in São Paulo, where it was raining! This was a sight for sore eyes! São Paulo looked incredible and I want to go back and see more than a birds eye view! I was left at the airport to catch my plane to Florianopolis, as the others went on a different flight more later in the day. In all my confusion and tiredness I went to sleep! Then my flight was delayed and I had absolutely no idea what was going on, I didn't understand anything! Luckily the other guys came back and we sorted everything out and my flight finally took off after 3 hours of being delayed!

In Florianopolis I met my host mum, sister, counselor and Rotary Club President. I was so tired, but my energy levels suddenly rised dramatically! We were driving on the other side of the road, they were speaking Portuguese and I was in a different country! It was crazy!

I spent about a week at the beach in Itapema, which was so nice and my introduction to Brasilian life began. My host sister was so nice and helpful, her English was really good, but she left for Australia about a week after I arrived!  So in February, I had settled down a little bit, my (host) brother left on his exchange and I began school.

I have made so many great friends already because everybody wants to meet the Australian! And they all want to ask me if I have a kangaroo as a pet!

School is absolutely fantastic! The teachers are great! My class is hilarious and really nice and the whole school is insane! I begin my classes at 7:15am, which is now routine, even though it was hard at first, because this is normally about the time I wake  up! I then finish at 12 noon and everyone goes home and has this huge lunch! It is great! I have 13 subjects -  Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Portuguese, Spanish, English, Sociology, Religion, Redation, Physical Education, Maths, Geography and History. I didn't understand anything when I first started but now I can do the work, with a little help. Biology, History and Spanish are probably the harder ones for me. English is definitely a very difficult. In some ways it is actually, because they learn about how the sentences are like structured and complicated things that I never learnt, that I just know! So this is my excuse for getting 7.6/10 in my test!

I have been to lots of parties! Because it is legal to go to nightclubs at 16 here! And they are the coolest ever! I went to a big party called Baile do Hawaii a few weekends ago and it was really, really, really fun! Everyone wears flowery things and it was the coolest! The music was great too, there was a part that was like a nightclub and then another where some famous guy was singing Brasilian music, and I love their music! It is so fun and crazy and upbeat!

There is another club called Bali Hai, in Piçarras and it is ON the beach. It is huge, and I went there for Carnaval and it was MAD! We got home at 8am! The Carnaval on TV in Rio looked much better I must admit, it is crazy! It was beautiful. The food. It is amazing! I love one of the popular dishes called feijão and everything I eat here is delicious! 

My host mum is really nice, she is very friendly and helpful. My host Rotary Club is so great! Rotary here is very different, it is so casual and friendly. I have gone to 3 meetings and they have been lots of fun. It is nice getting to know the Rotarians.

I have travelled to so many beautiful places, São Joaquim (one of the rare places in Brasil that gets snow), Florianopolis (absolutely gorgeous!), Blumenau (the biggest mall I have EVER seen), Brusque, Itapema and Balneario Camburio. In the next few weeks I am going to Curitiba and Foz de Iguaçu, Paraguay and down to the state of Rio Grande do Sul. I am a very lucky girl!

My Orientation in Itajuba was lots of fun, I met 3 other Australians and they are all really cool! The Rotarians involved with the Youth Exchange are really cool too!

The Brasilian lifestyle is definitely a very enjoyable one and I love it.  EVERYTHING is so different from Australia and I am having the best time. I am so happy and I am enjoying and making the most of every moment!

Beijos, Bec...


Report From Bec in Brazil


“Having a great time at school – contracted tonsillitis but my host Mum took me to the Dr’s, where I got antibiotics, and I’m now OK.

I have been to my Host RC meetings, attended the Orientation meeting of Exchange students and met other Aussie’s that are being hosted in the same District.

I am having an INCREDIBLE time, I love Brazil – everything is so FANTASTIC.”

2007-02-01 Report from Youth Exchange Student, Rebecca Club – Gasper – District 4650 - Brazil

Rebecca travelled from Melbourne to Sydney to Los Angeles (overnight) then on to Chicago (where it was snowing) and onto Sao Palo (green and beautiful). After being met by her host family, she was off on holidays to Florianpolis, to the beach at Itapema, and visited Balneario, Camboriu and Meia Praia, then home to Gasper.

Bec starts school on 12th February having her orientation days on the 10th and 11th. She has attended her first RC Meeting at Gasper and will give her presentation in a few months time when her Portuguese is better. She loves the Rotarians who made her very welcome, and they are “kind, friendly, helpful and comforting” - Bec's words to us and her family so we all know she is happy and well. We look forward to more great reports from Bec over the next 12 months.

Bec, pictured with Gordon Hastie (left) from District 9790 and Rotarian: Howard Scheetz at the airport before leaving Australia

2006-12 Rebecca Bridges

Youth Exchange to Brazil - 2007

Rebecca showed us the presentation that she has prepared to present to her host Rotary Club, school, community and families. This presentation was a set of slides, depicting her home, community, geographical area, Rotary District and country. It displayed many photos with a small amount of text in Portuguese language. It displayed professionalism and we congratulate Rebecca on the amount of thought and work that went into this presentation.

The first slides and text saw Rebecca - or Bec as she is to be known (as Brazilians have trouble getting their tongues around “Rebecca”) - explaining her background and showing slides of her beloved Australia with kangaroos, an Aussie football and the wonderful jar of “Vegemite”.

Next section involved the history of Australia from 70,000 BC to 2001 – stating facts regarding Federation and other points of interest. The photos showed the map of Australia with states and territories, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Great Barrier Reef, the 12 Apostles and the Great Ocean Road landscape and koalas. All points of interest for viewers to gain an understanding of Australia and all it has to offer.

Bec then went on to explain about Canberra being the Capital of Australia, slides of Parliament House, how the Australian Government works with the House of Representatives and Senate, Federal and State members. 

Corowa – Bec’s home town - came next. Bec explained that Corowa was the Birthplace of Federation. Corowa having a population of 5,800 people - so much smaller in size that her adoptee hometown of Gasper in Brazil. Corowa “the Heart of the Majestic Murray” - attracts tourism, industries including road transport, Uncle Toby’s factory, piggeries and farming with wineries in close proximity. Bec then discussed the work of Rotary in the District as well as in Corowa.

Gasper has a population of 30,000 people and is 45 minutes for the glorious beaches, of which Bec hopes to visit often. Bec has been in touch with her first host Mum and the 2 children. However within 2 weeks of Bec’s arrival they both will be venturing forth on their own Youth Exchange year, so Bec will be the only child in that family whilst there.

After answering quite a few questions, President Ken Filcock thanked Rebecca for a wonderful and informative presentation. He presented Rebecca with a letter for the RC of Gasper, banners for the Club and any other Club that Bec might be invited to, our local Corowa RC Directory and Annual Report and a pictorial book by Steve Parish depicting the regions of Australia.

Bec the received (again) her blazer and scarf which is already adorned with numerous badges and pins. With all these presentations, Ken wished Rebecca the best, acknowledged that she will be a fine ambassador for Corowa, Rotary, her school, family, state and country. We all wished Rebecca ‘Bon Voyage’ and we look forward to hearing many interesting and exciting stories on her return.

Pictured: President Ken with Rebecca and her newly acquired and adorned blazer and scarf.