A Leap of Faith: The Misunderstood Country of Brazil


Rodney Furman is a student at the University of Kentucky and an ISA Photo Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Florianópolis, Brazil.

This is a city view of the amazing island and capital of the state of Santa Cantarina, Florianopolis, Brazil. You can also see the bridge that connects the island to the mainland of Brazil.

South America is a continent full of beautiful people, amazing culture, and some of the most remarkable views in the entire world, as we all know. But why haven’t the Olympics ever been here until now? Well simply put, it has to do with a mixture of things such as political instability, a lack of money and/or infrastructure, violence, etc. So who can blame them? When you see these countries, Brazil especially, portrayed in the media, it’s typically about something negative. So obviously, when I first told people that I would be studying abroad in Brazil, I usually got pretty mixed reactions. Either the “Woah, its dangerous down there!” or “Come back in one piece” and yes, I cannot leave out the “Don’t come back with Zika!” comments. Followed by a playful laugh, even though they were entirely serious. (Side-note: The chances of getting Zika in Florianopolis are very very rare. Their has not been a case within about 100 miles of the island) But with the Olympic Games being held in this incredible country, people start to have hope. Hope that it’s not the country that people believe it is. When in fact it’s a country with a very rocky start that pulled itself together and has made its way to becoming one of top emerging economies in the world as we know it.

Brazil, especially Rio, is usually known as a huge party spot with amazing beaches and gorgeous people, which I can say first hand is very true. But this is what attracts the city to so many travelers around the world. To many of them, it’s a place to have fun, and then go back to their respective country without having to worry about anything else, because people don’t go there to stay, but rather usually go just to visit. But there is more than meets the eye, and so much potential with this country that is full of a very interesting history that includes extensive political corruption and violence in many communities. But will they get it together? I believe the answer is yes. One of the reasons that Rio was granted the bid for the 2016 Olympic Games is because the Olympic committee believed in Brazil, and believed that they were ready to host such a monumental event. They have hope for this country, just like myself, and countless citizens that live here. Things are crazy now of course because of the impeachment of their former president Dilma Rousseff, but once you start understanding and interpreting the political history, you’ll see why they’re acting in such a manner. So I now challenge you to look into this country and understand why things are the way they are, instead of just observing and repeating the obvious, “It’s crazy in Brazil!” Look up their past presidential history so you may truly understand why Brazilians are so passionate about who gets elected into office, before passing judgment about the people’s reaction to this monumental decision.

This shot was taken on the hill next to the beautiful beach of Matadeiro. The hills give you an elevated view of the beaches that stretch across the island’s coasts. Stray dogs are a very big problem in South America, but they usually never pose a threat to anyone, always just casually going about their day!

So with all this stuff going on, why even come here? That’s a great question! I would say it’s because you have to take leaps in life. Traveling the world is an opportunity and a privilege not everyone has, so we must take advantage of it. Not just the beautiful places where everything is breathtaking and politically correct, or the places where everybody goes, like Italy or Spain, but go to the places people don’t usually think to visit. Be different and challenge yourself and your own way of life, because you will always learn the most in uncomfortable places. It was a culture shock getting use to walking around and seeing countless stray dogs walking along side you, or the favelas in the nearby mountains. But we need to be aware that there are countries out here that need more attention and belief in change, like this one. It’s a country that needs to be invested into. Brazil needs to be a country that people take time to look into, and not immediately pass judgment because of the things they repeat in the news.

This earth was made to be explored, so you need to do the same! Learn about this beautiful country and meet amazing people with amazing stories, and oh, see some pretty nice beaches like this one in the Cacupe neighborhood of Florianopolis along the way!

Live. Learn. Understand. And Make a Difference.

The world awaits…discover it.

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