BY ADRIANO LIRA (SWY23)
Nearly one year ago, I was in a smelly train, heading to my university, when someone from Brasília called me on my mobile. Could you imagine my surprise when that lady told me that I was selected to travel to Japan? Of course, my first thought was: “ok, that woman is trying to steal my organs, it’s a lie”. But it was not!
We were selected because three years before that phone call, the other delegates and I made the Brazilian High School National Exam; we had very high notes, and because of them, we got a scholarship to study in private universities; after, because of the scholarship and those notes in the exam, government found our names and invited us to visit one of the most wonderful and interesting places in the world. In addition, we all belong to low income families, so we’ve never travelled abroad before.
Of course, it was hard to make my fathers believe that I got a gift like that. It was hard to leave my job. It was very hard to say goodbye to my mom in the airport. It was hard to find money to survive there (just kidding, money to drink beer)! But, seven months after all, I am sure that I lived the best moments of my life onboard Fujimaru.
Because of SWY, I made the best friends ever, starting with the schizophrenic Brazilians and my beloved National Leader. I learnt with 300 people from 13 countries, dealing with different cultures and personalities, becoming a better person every single second; I’ve been in six different countries (I stayed for 3 hours in France, take that!) in just 50 days; I made unforgettable friends and now I want to save money to visit every single one of them; and finally, I fell in love with a country, and now I am trying to know what those characters mean!
And finally, some words of experience for the new SWYers. You guys can find friends, a love or even a meaning to your life. Be patient, talk to everyone and never sleep (working and studying like a slave, I am sure you are not used to sleep, so it will be easy for you). Enjoy the opportunity, don't forget the cachaça, and let the SWY spirit touch your heart.