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Student Spotlight

Emanuel Reyes
Brazil Fall 2014
Mechanical Engineering major
reyesed@uci.edu

"...Not many people go to Brazil to study abroad and I wanted to experience a culture outside of the one I experience here in Southern California..."

"My plans for the future is to have a career as an engineer that is sent to foreign countries to work with engineers there to create a better relationship with companies from other countries, and develop better products and systems that can benefit more than those who can afford them, but who need them."

"PLAN AHEAD and DO RESEARCH!"

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
I chose Brazil because I had no previous knowledge about the country, they spoke a language that was manageable to learn, not many people go to Brazil to study abroad, and I wanted to experience a culture outside of the one I experience here in Southern California, which fortunately Brazilian culture is very rare compared to others. I picked Rio because it seemed very exciting and full of things to do, not to mention the nature around it.
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
I was taking engineering classes and all my classes were in Portuguese, so that really made it difficult compared to the other students who took all their classes in English. I did take a sewing class which was a bit odd, but honestly where I learned the most Portuguese commands since I had to perform on the spot. I was able to travel outside of Rio a couple times with some friends, and that was very different because it was my first time traveling alone to other places without prior knowledge of where I was going as well.
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
It has made me realize how politically and socially a majority of the world has declined. Being an engineering major, I first thought coming into UCI that science majors were the important people in the advancement of technology and development. However, that is not the case. It is actually the politicians, social workers, corporations and law enforcement that decide our advancement, but are also the main reason for the decline in social stability and living conditions in the 21st century. This was the main lesson learned. Other than that, I learned to be independent in a foreign country, speak a different language, became culturally open-minded, learned to hate and love the US even more, and have an interest in working internationally in the future.
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
My plans for the future is to have a career as an engineer that is sent to foreign countries to work with engineers there to create a better relationship with companies from other countries, and develop better products and systems that can benefit more than those who can afford them, but who need them.
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
PLAN AHEAD and DO RESEARCH! It does help tremendously, however, if you are like me who wanted the total immersion/foreigner story by not doing the planning and researching. Then it will be an experience that will be harder, but more personally rewarding knowing you conquered this challenge on your own.  

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