The last few days leading up to my departure have been complete madness. Not only was I finishing up my final co-op at Ernst & Young, I had to manage my time to make necessary visits and calls to doctors, insurance companies, banks, post offices, moving companies, Brazilian and US consulates, the Boren office, family in Chicago, friends in Cincinnati, the list goes on. I moved out all my stuff from PIKE and got a moving truck loaded from our storage unit up to my brother in Michigan. I often look at a list and ask myself, "how the heck is all of this going to get done?" and well...realizing that in a few short days, I'd be moving to another country, I asked myself that question more than ever. But somehow and someway, I always find a way to get it done, just in time. Or in this case, maybe one pair of socks away from my car trunk not shutting as I made my way to New York to visit my parents for the last few days before departing for Sao Paulo.
While in no way do I think you can be completely prepared for something like I'm about to do, I think I have everything that's within my control, prepared and ready. My previous international travels have taught me to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and certainly my first few days will be just that...a new culture, new language, massive city, new friends, classes, and again, the list goes on. I think the thing that's getting me most right now is that I'll be living an entire year in a language other than English. Rosetta Stone and I have become close friends over the last few weeks so I'm feeling a little more confident but of course, the only way to become fluent in another language is to have full immersion...so time will tell. Good news is that my host family does not speak any English, so I'll be forced to practice...not to mention half my classes will be taught in Portuguese, including my international tax class...that should be fun!
For those unfamiliar with this opportunity, last Fall I was encouraged by the University to apply for a Boren award. The Boren award is a funding apparatus for study abroad programs made possible by the US Federal Government, Institute of International Education, and the National Security Education Program. Boren Scholars study in areas of the world and in languages that are deemed critical to national security as denoted by the US State Department. The best part about the term "national security" is that scholars get to broadly define that term based on their academic discipline...that's why you see an Accounting major like me jet setting south. My application focused on US national financial security and economic diplomacy between Brazil and the United States. I explored differences in financial reporting, foreign direct investment, complex tax structures, and major economic engines such as the World Cup (Rio 2014) and the Olympics (Rio 2016). Thus, I proposed that study at Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Latin America's premier business school, in Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic capital, in their International Management program would be most beneficial to me and my career goals. As a result of winning the scholarship, scholars agree to a one-year service requirement to the Federal Government in a national security role. While there are a number of ways the service requirement can be completed, I'm planning to pursue an opportunity in economic diplomacy in the State Department or in financial intelligence. If you're interested in learning more about the Boren program, feel free to check out their website at: borenawards.org.
Well, I'm already realizing that this post is getting a little long and well, in an effort to not mirror the academic work I'll be completing, I'll do my best to keep them short and sweet...because after all, I want everyone to read them...not get half way through and think...good lord I don't have time to live this Brazilian adventure with this kid. I'll link pictures too! Thank you to everyone who helped make this opportunity possible for me and I can't wait to share it with you all.