Back in October 2016, one of my lecturers at Cardiff Met gave a talk about the Santander Scholarship. It’s an opportunity for both students and staff at the university to apply to spend time overseas at another Santander University, with all expenses covered through the scholarship.
I am someone who will take any opportunity, and now 8 months later I have just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime experience after being granted the Santander Scholarship to visit Brazil with two coursemates, Simone and Claire, and my Lecturer Andy Roberts.
While in Sao Paulo we attended a Tourism and Hospitality conference and on the first day one of the Brazilian students, Mariana, came to our hotel to take us to the conference. Well, that’s all Mariana thought she was going to do – we all got on so well Mariana became our friend, personal translator and trip organiser!
If you hadn’t already guessed the whole conference was in Portuguese, but that didn’t faze us. We now had Mariana to translate, so there we were in the conference hall sending the translations down the line from one person to the next
Being translated become second nature, and through the trip we did many presentations to different universities about student life in the UK and what it is like to study at Cardiff Met. It seemed to generate a huge interest for the Brazilian students to come and study here!
All of the Brazilian students we met were so friendly. They were fascinated by our accents and wanted to know everything about the UK.
We managed to fit in a lot of different cultural experiences on the trip too. All the lecturers and students wanted to show us a part of their life in Brazil.
Here are just a few examples:
- We were invited for home cooked traditional Brazilian food and music, where I also showed them how to make traditional welsh cakes
- We bought homemade food from students at the universities that they made and sold to other students in order to earn an extra income
- We attempted Samba dancing
- We visited the Christ de Rejena, the colourful steps of Escadaria Selaron, Sugar Loaf Mountain and other sights of interest.
The trip opened my eyes to a new culture and a different lifestyle, and also showed me how fortunate I am to have been able to experience firsthand the way of life and the challenges faced by students studying in Brazil.
For anyone reading this, my advice would be to go searching for amazing opportunities like this, whether it is gaining working experience, cultural trips or volunteering experiences.
They are out there waiting for you to discover and be part of them!
Looking for more blogs about overseas travel opportunities with Cardiff Met? Check out our study abroad section.