Category Archives: homestay

Bye Brazil, Hello Argentina!

Who's that Guacho???
Who’s that Guacho???

After my 1-month ECVA program in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I said my farewells to my awesome new friends I’d made and hopped on a flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was cold and rainy, much different that the balmy weather I left behind in Brazil.  The mood of Argentina was also more melancholic, which you could tell by their love of Tango and theater.

The first ECVA host family I stayed with in Argentina was with a wonderful woman named Eva. Eva lives alone in the suburbs of Buenos Aires – it tooks approximately 40 minutes to the city center with the train. The train was incredibly cheap – only 20 cents! Eva sported me around the city showing me all of the sights. Her energy was amazing, always on the go! She even commuted to a university 4-hours away twice a week to take a class she was interested in.

Eva’s English level was fairly basic. She could understand more than she could speak. She has a son that lives in San Francisco (where I live), and she wanted to improve her English to be able to communicate with her adorable grandson who was born in the U.S. We sang children’s songs (The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round was a big hit!) and we looked at simple English grammar and sentence structure.

I used role-play techniques to prepare Eva for her next trip to the U.S. She told me that she loves going to Starbuck’s near her son’s home in San Francisco, so we acted out ordering coffee and other things in a cafe. We went to the grocery store together and compared vocabulary in English and Spanish.

After being bombarded by meat in Brazil – I was thrilled to find that my host mother was a vegetarian. I couldn’t have asked for a better placement!

Her name is Rio, and She Dances On the Sand!

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After the passport drama I encountered when I left  Ubatuba, I was lucky that the bus driver let me on the bus and continue on my journey to Rio de Janeiro. What an amazing city it was!

Rio was everything I had imagined about Brazil – the city where all the stereotypes came true. Beautiful people sitting at cafes, girls walking like supermodels in Copacabana. There were all the more-than-half-naked people at the beach in Ipanema. There was the Samba music playing in the street from the favellas on the hill. There was the gigantic Christos spying on me from every different angle of the city – no hiding from that one!

Here are a few photos from my trip to Rio de Janeiro:

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At the beach in Ipanema. Barely room to get a spot. The waves were fun to bodysurf.

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Typical Sunday at the beach!

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At the mosaic steps in at Escadaria Selarón.

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View of the Christos on top of Sugarloaf at sunset.

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Meet our Newest Host Family: Soraya and Flavio!

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I just received confirmation that Soraya and Flavio are going to host the ECVA participant, Felipe from Atlanta! They have already started communicating between themselves on a regular basis. I am so happy that the placement worked out. Felipe is going to love Sao Paulo and he couldn’t have asked for a better host family.