Rebecca Spector is a junior at Ohio State majoring in English education with minors in Spanish and nonprofit management.
Traveling to Brazil was an amazing experience for me as a way to push me outside of my comfort zone. I have been abroad before, but this was my first experience in South America, giving me the opportunity to see and learn more about such different cultures. I did try and learn the basic words in Portuguese while I was there, however I was thankful for my professor, Dr. Surek-Clark, being fluent in the language.
Our research focused on verbal autopsies, or the conversations that are had with the families of a loved one to learn more information about their life and habits before their passing. I do not have experience with either verbal nor physical autopsies, so I was definitely expanding my horizons and learning every day. It was also great speaking to the researchers and doctors in the hospitals we went to and learning about their experience in Brazil.
Beyond the research, we had multiple tourist opportunities for me to see the country. We travelled to São Paulo, Curitiba, and Foz do Iguaçu. All three showed me different lifestyles and expanded my view of the culture. The first few days in São Paulo, we definitely dove into trying different delicious foods and walking around the streets to see what the local options were.
In Curitiba, I had the opportunity to go on a travel bus and see major tourist attractions around town, including a beautiful botanic garden. Then Foz de Iguaçu was incredible because we saw the water falls that were absolutely gorgeous. One day we even had the chance to see the Argentinian side because it is similar to Niagara Falls in that it is split by the countries’ borders.
Overall, I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity to expand my perspective.