Remember, remember the fifth of November… nope, no sign of fireworks in Florianopolis, oh wait this is a British tradition isn’t it? This faux pas was made by many of my friends on their year abroad, (Sophie Walsh) rather an embarrassing mistake when you wait up until 12pm looking up into the pitch black before you realise the only thing you’ll be seeing are stars, or more likely planes…
Homesickness hit me hard this month, which I knew it would as I had spent an amazing two weeks with my parents earlier in October. For me the Christmassy feel of the end of November and beginning of December is the best part of the year. A time for family, meeting up with friends and the general warm, cosy feeling as the nights draw in and the fires are lit. I think it’s probably because I’m out here that I’m forgetting the bitter cold, rain and ridiculous queues on black Friday in west quay…
Another strain for me this month has been trying to get to the end of the semester. Unlike in England, and Europe, where we have three months of seminars/lectures and one month of exams where all we do is revise; here we have four solid months of lessons with the last month intertwined with exams. This was much harder than I thought it would be and the last few weeks of lessons have been incredibly difficult to concentrate, fewer and fewer people turn up and the morale in the classroom is generally low. Tying up all the loose ends of the semester in terms of my work for the uni here, as well as an issue I had with my YARP, meaning I had to write a new YARP proposal, has left me tired and counting down the days to the holidays.
In terms of the YARP, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to TAKE THE YARP PROPOSAL SERIOUSLY. I didn’t, ended up getting a C, which didn’t really bother me because, hey, it was end of year 2 and summer! It really is worth doing it properly, finding a case study and making the proposal as concise and focused as possible because it really is the bones of your final YARP. Because if truth be told, having to redo my proposal so late into my year abroad was a massive inconvenience and made me incredibly stressed, which isn’t what you want.
Now, I realise this blog post is slightly less positive than the others, but I think it’s important to reflect the ups and downs of the year abroad. However that’s not to say that November was a complete flop because there have been some great moments, in fact some of the best of this exchange! At the beginning of the month my friend from Buenos Aires came to visit me for 5 days. We spent those days hiking trilhas, ‘pegaring some sol’ on the beaches and hitting up the beach bars for maybe one too many caipis. (Just joking, you can never have too many). The second trip I took in November was to São Paulo, where a friend in my Portuguese class in Southampton is working. There was a group of four of us, all from Southampton and we spent a long weekend in South America’s biggest city! It has a population of 20.9 million people so more the double the population of London! The size of the city is staggering. We walked from a park to my friend’s office, on Google maps the distance looked like it would take about 15 minutes; it ended up taking us about an hour. HA. I would recommend going to visit São Paulo, however it can be a little overwhelming so I’m really glad we had our lil’ guide, (well actually he’s 6’4) to show us around. Fun fact: São Paulo has the single largest Japanese diaspora in any city outside of Japan, which meant a lot of opportunity for sampling tempura! I’ll definitely be going back next semester!