Now that I have officially landed back on U.S. soil it is only right that I reflect on the last three months that I spent working and living in the concrete jungle that is São Paulo. Firstly, I have to admit that my internship was not quite what I expected, actually not in the least bit. When I first began looking into Abraço Cultural I was quite impressed by their social media presence and website, which led me to believe that I would be working with a highly organized, forward thinking team. However, what was supposed to be a summer defined by learning new skills and gaining hands on experience working outside of the U.S., turned into a summer filled with communication issues, confusion, and missed opportunities.
Many of the problems that I had can be directly attributed to the third party provider Brazilian Experience (BE), which is a company that helps students from outside of Brazil find internships with reputable companies/NGOs. I truly believe that BE did not properly screen Abraço Cultural in order to find out exactly what I, as an intern would be doing and instead handed me off to an NGO with virtually zero concrete plans in place. In the end I do not regret deciding to spend my summer in São Paulo with Abraço Cultural. Although my internship fell far below my expectations I have learned that life does not always go exactly as we would expect. We must take the good with the bad, and realize that within each and every experience we have there is an opportunity to grow.