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Free Lunches in Brazil

Greetings. I write to you while I am taking my Winter Break in Brazil.

Yes. Vila Velha, Brazil. This is the view of Christmas morning from my friend’s condo.

 Vila Velha, Brazil

Every other year in May, WVU College of Law sponsors a short study abroad trip to Brazil for 3 credits. We spend the first part of the trip in the Amazon on a river boat, the second part of the trip with host families in Vila Velha, and the last part of the trip staying in a hostel in Rio.

It was, without a doubt, a life-changing experience for me and I encourage anyone to go on the trip. It is relatively cheap for everything that is included (like food, for example!).

Each part of the trip brought its own adventures.

The time in the Amazon was breathtakingly beautiful. 

It was also a fantastic bonding experience, since all 32 of us on the trip stayed on one boat together for five days, sleeping in hammocks on the top deck.

After the Amazon, we flew to Vitória in the state of Espirito Santo, where each of us stayed with a welcoming host. The hosts made extra efforts to ensure we saw the best of their towns (Vitória and Vila Velha are next to each other) and we had a great time.

Many of us, including myself, forged new friendships with some of the hosts. (Hence why I decided to come spend my winter break back here in Vila Velha/Vitória, Brazil.)

[From Left, Claudi Cuccia (former 1L), Sean Wellings (3L), Daniel Correia (host), Sean Concrecode (2L), Alex McLoughlin (3L), Robert Wellings (graduated), Matt Chase (2L), Ricardo Toninho (host), Benson Awosika (3L), Paulo Moutinho (host), bottom row, Emily Moy (3L), Tamiris Correira (host)]

We grew so close, some of us shed tears as we departed from Vitória Airport for Rio.

[Caption: the front of our hostel, the Ipanema Beach House. In the picture is Matt Chase, Dallas Krautzer, Michal Nissim-Sabbat, all 2Ls, Grant Bayerly, graduated, and Professor Ellis’s back]
But quickly realized, we’re in freakin’ Rio! We stayed at this hostel on Ipanema Beach, just three blocks away from the ocean. We stayed busy – we went to a Vasco soccer match, went to a Favela Funk Party, toured a favela, saw all the famous sites including Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, Lapa Steps. . . and even went hang gliding and ate at a real churrascaria (you know, the place where they come around with meat on a stick and give you as much as you want).

The only things we were obligated to pay for out of our own pockets, beyond what we already paid for the trip (student loans and financial aid were completely available to us to use) was for drinks and souvenirs.

Of course, throughout the trip, we had seminars and assigned reading in order to be engaged and learn. We met almost daily to have discussions about relevant topics. In the Amazon we discussed patents and environmental law. In Vila Velha, we had lectures at University of Vila Velha from both our own professors and UVV professors. In Rio, we discussed race and poverty in a comparative perspective. 
[If you’re interested in seeing more awesome photos from the whole trip to Brazil, you can check it out here.

I know it’s a stretch to consider the Brazil trip a “free lunch” but I at least thought I’d take the opportunity to provide you some insight in the adventures you can take while in law school. The Brazil trip was by far my best and favorite experience of law school.

Plus, it paves the way for future low-cost trips to Brazil. With my newfound friends, I don’t have to pay for lodging or even most of my food. I only need to pay for whatever bar tab and my plane ticket. Twenty-three days in Brazil in December/January for under $2000 total is not a bad deal at all.

If you’re interested in checking out my adventures of my second trip to Brazil, you can check out the blog I kept.

BrazilThis could be you on New Year’s Eve, and all these friends could be yours!

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