As I sit in the Chicago airport waiting for my plane to board, I don’t feel very different. I usually fly back for school around this time, long enough to enjoy the laziness of home but short enough to get back to friends. There is always a mix of snow, rain or slush at these Midwestern airports that cause me to arrive for my flights absurdly early because you never know what the weather could bring.
A part of me expects to land in Washington DC tonight, get back to the Hilltop for the new semester and the end of my Junior year. As I left my hometown, some people wished me luck at school, unaware I wasn’t going back to Georgetown. My email keeps filling up with “Welcome Back,” “Apply to,” and “Reminder about” emails that don’t apply to me anymore. I look at my social media and no longer see my friends’ holiday and family photos but the familiar Georgetown Snapchats and Instagram shots. It did not seem real that I wasn’t returning over the Christmas break because we were all gone. Now they are all taking classes and heading back into Syllabus week, while I am still sitting in an airport. Flying to not only a different city but a different country.
When my flight lands tomorrow, I will finally be rid of Michigan’s snow and entering into the summer weather of Rio de Janeiro. I and one other Hoya will be studying at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. I will be taking classes there in Portuguese, which honestly frightens me still. My homestay with a local Brazilian woman is located about an hour away from the university (and approximately four blocks from the beach). My first month in Brazil will just include one intensive language class for all the international students, a new title/identity that I am excited to experience.
Tomorrow is the start to a drastically different semester than the past five at Georgetown. Though I will miss being on the Hilltop, I am excited for the opportunity to study at a new university in a new language with new people. I feel like I am starting as a freshman again but with the added difficulty of navigating my surroundings in a second language. There will likely be many funny mistakes and learning experiences in these next six months, all of which I will try to record for both your amusement and future students’ benefit.