Kadeem Thomas is a student at the University of South Florida and an ISA Featured Blogger. He studied abroad with ISA in Florianópolis, Brazil.
Growing up in Tampa, Florida, we are often exposed to Spanish speakers and culture, a good amount of Creole, some French, but Brazilian? I mean come on, who in the world speaks Portuguese, is what a would have told you a few years back. Brazil to us is a far off mystical land of beautiful people, carnivals, and neighborhoods called favelas.
It is crazy when I sit in these classrooms or at these dinner tables, and I hear these people, and often I forget that they are not speaking English, but I understand them, more or less depending on speed and accent but still, like how? What I have found is from America to Russia we all use the same words or similar words but maybe with a different accent but have you ever gone to the opposite side of your country? If you do although it might not be as drastic you will see that they also speak a somewhat different dialogue even if the words are similar, sometimes you may not understand what they’re saying, but you are still on the same team. They say you can’t learn languages well after a certain age, or you can’t afford to see the world and I used to believe it until I found out that the only things that you can’t do are the things that you won’t allow yourself to attempt to.
What I have learned while traveling is that no matter where you go you find happy people, you find sad people, you find rich people, you find poor people. You find yourself at little kids’ birthday parties with the kids running and speaking surprisingly intelligent thoughts in more or less, neighborhoods just like the one you live. Or hanging out with older folks who just what someone to hear the amazing lives they have lived and the tragedies they have seen. You find nerds, you find cool kids. You will find their funny TV shows and their mind-bending news channels and governments that tell you to distrust these people and your country is the only safe place. You can find people who love you, or people who hate you. You find awesome food, interesting stories, pride in your people, people who just want to love around those who make them happy. What you find is humans and over and over again. What I find is that no matter the culture, no matter the stories, no matter the location, population or ruling power in the nation WE ARE ALL THE SAME. Things that are normal to you are weird and misunderstood by others, but when you get past the clothes, the language, and the skin we all just want to laugh, love, live and let live.
When I die, know that I died unafraid to live and I hope to inspire others to do the same. My favorite quote is one I created using three different languages just to show no matter how different it looks or sounds, todos the meme = it’s all the same; we are all the same.
The world awaits…..discover it!