Yesterday, during lunch, I was asked about whether I see any differences between the students in Brazil and the students in the U.S. I must say that my reply was a quick “Yes, I do!” Perhaps I am not doing my fellow Brazilians enough justice, but from my tiny experiences as an international student, I've noticed that perhaps the students I've met in the United States were more ambitious (and to some extent more greedy) than the students I've met in Brazil. I'm not entirely sure whether those differences make each group, compared to each other, better or worse.
One could say, as I heard yesterday, that I might have a biased point of view, after all I went to a small private college in Wisconsin. But who hasn't? In order to avoid diplomatic incidents, then, I'll simply speak for myself and write this article based on my narrow-minded experiences.
I don't advocate for greediness. Far from it. My utopia consists of a world where people could live without worrying about the future. But I must add that most students lack of interest and self-consciousness might be what's killing their chances of building up the lives they'd like to live. In Brazil, and to some extent in the U.S., I've met many students who simply didn't think they were good enough and, thus, felt content exactly where destiny had placed them.
Yes, I know that sometimes (actually, most of the times) it is hard to think of yourself as capable of doing any better than what you are today. Dreaming, when one has no money to pay for the bills and buy groceries, almost look and feel like a sacrilege. Believe me, I've gone through similar experiences. I've lived without electricity for a few weeks because we couldn't afford it. It's almost ridiculous when I think that, despite all the difficulties my family had to go through in the past few years, I still was able to study abroad. How did I manage that? Perhaps I am the luckiest girl in the world, and I am sure God took care of me, but the main lesson I've learned from all this is that one should always seek for opportunities.
My homeland never felt very intellectual to me compared to the academic bubble where I lived for three years. But, although interest in getting a better education is important, academia is not exactly the formula to succeed in life. If you are reading this and wondering what to do to improve your life, I'd ask you one thing: what do you like to do? No matter what is your favorite activity, believe me, there are many ways (within reason!) to make money from it. It doesn't hurt to do a quick search online for fellowships, grants, ideas and whatnot, that could help you succeed in exactly what makes you feel good about yourself and about living.
I've got many emails, for instance, from people who'd like to hear more from me on what to do to study in the U.S. My dear Brazilians sometimes feel that it's almost impossible to envision themselves studying and working abroad, simply because life told them that it's really hard to make their dreams come true. It is hard, yes, but it is not impossible. You'd be surprised to find out that there are many people and many organizations interested in financing your dreams. From now on, then, I'll start posting articles on different opportunities for my readers who are interested in challenging their own current situations. But, before you continue reading this blog, here's your first homework assignment: