Indiana University Overseas Study

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Summer Vacation 2k16


One of the best things about moving to the Southern hemisphere during a typically cold Midwest winter is touching down in the exact opposite season, though I definitely miss having to bundle up in order to go outside (not being sarcastic). I feel like I spend too much time starfished upon my bed with the fan on full blast as I sweat away in my air conditioner-less apartment. But I digress.

My first three weeks here in Rio were spent taking an intensive Portuguese course, building upon the foundation that I had constructed over 5 semesters of classes in Bloomington. Actually, I’m not sure if building upon is the right term, considering much of what I learned here immediately made much of the material I had committed to memory obsolete. Between different uses for tenses I had considered niche to being constantly told that a native speaker would never actually use that complicated conjugation I had spent weeks struggling with (which was often reflected in my course grade), the process of learning was more like being given the materials for construction and an idea of what the final product should look like and figuring out how all of the phrases should be cobbled together to obtain something near fluency. I’m still learning new words and structures every day, even though I haven’t had a formal class in almost a month.

That’s right, I’m in the middle of my first (of two, considering I am staying after classes end in June to backpack around South America before returning to Rio for the Olympics) summer vacation of 2016. Things got wild right off the bat, as just as classes ended Carnaval was beginning. Carnaval, for the uninitiated, is a giant, all-encompassing festival that lasts for what seems like an undetermined amount of time and completely takes over life in Brazil. You can walk out of your door towards the sound of music to find a group of a million plus costumed party goers had taken over the streets. The coordination of everyone knowing where to show up consistently surprised me, as I’d see the same people at ‘blocos’ across the city from one day to the next.

During Carnaval, the days blend together and I came out on the other side unsure of exactly what transpired. The adage “long days and short weeks” has never struck such a chord. G rated highlights from my own experience include a couple of nights spent in the sambodrome (the stadium for the massive samba school parades that could take up to 90 minutes apiece) until sunrise, swinging my hips and singing along with the reveling marchers, the opportunity I had to actually march alongside a youth school whose floats I had helped decorate, the Beatles themed bloco with classic Beatles hits infused with samba rhythms and intensity, and the  many times I got swept up in a parade and succumbed to the energy all around.

After this period which can rightfully be described as insanity, I decided I needed a vacation from my vacation, so on I went to Buzios, a fishing village turned beach resort town popularized by a 1960s visit from Brigitte Bardot. I am typing this up right before I hop on another bus to continue taking advantage of this closing window before I have to get back in time for the beginning of the semester and my classes at PUC, my Brazilian university and the official reason I came to Rio.

I’ve always thought that studying abroad is as much about learning about yourself as it is learning about another culture and language. You can become proficient in a language without ever stepping outside your home, but it is stepping outside your comfort zone that allows you to become fluent. Cultural experiences outside of the classroom allow you to get to know the true essence of what it means to be a ‘carioca’ (or whatever locals are called wherever you decide to go), and interactions with these locals are what will connect you back to this period of your life long after you get back to the real world. Anyways, that’s the justification I’m giving myself, off on my next adventure to prove to myself that toucans are in fact real animals and not just some prank animators have been pulling on me my whole life.


El amor de musica


Simply put, I cannot remember a time in my life when music has not been a priority. From piano study to singing in choirs to enjoying the beautiful concerts at Jacobs School of Music at IU, it’s always in the back of my mind.


Una nueva casa


One of my goals coming into this experience was to spend less time on my computer (doing non-academic or non-travel-planning related things). I think it’s working, as I haven’t had the time or emotional necessity to crank out a blog post yet. If anything, I hope it indicates an early comfort level as I settle into my new home of Lima, Peru.


A Weekend Visit to the Pierogi State


In the southern part of Poland lies this bitter cold and utterly beautiful place we call Krakow. Aside from its much smaller size in comparison to other European cities, this city has a wide variety of its own unique foods, people and culture.


Why Sevilla?


Well, it’s been a long and tiring first month back in the States. Readjusting to English, American culture, work, classes, and pretty much everything that is included with reverse culture shock has shown up. It’s time for my final post, which will probably be my favorite because it allows me to reminisce on Sevilla.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Before I even start the content of this update, I must apologize for how late this is! It always seems like I have so much to write about and so little time to do it! So forgive me, but here is the long-awaited update.

I know that the title I used usually refers to winter and holidays…but for me the most wonderful time of the year is fall!  And fall is a great time to be in Prague.  Last weekend was the unofficial kickoff of fall here, and so many things are going on in the city! There are a lot of fall festivals in Prague, which center around celebrating the harvest, celebrating alternative ways of living in Prague, and celebrating friends and family with music, food, and drink.  One thing to keep in mind, is that you can never be sure of what will happen next at a festival in Prague!



I have never been to an IU sports game. I know, I’m an awful Hoosier. It’s just that there are a lot of things I’d rather be doing than watch a bunch of sweaty guys run around on a field. One time I went to a Wabash College football game to see the half-time show, so that is my only point of reference when it comes to these things.


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