honors college

Next trip: teaching English in Shanghai, China for two months!

what to pack for two months in shanghai china for an internship teaching english

[Everything I’m bringing to Shanghai minus a daypack with a few belongings]

So I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted on here but I hope you’re still interested in being a part of my journey! The next chapter takes place in: Shanghai, China.

Seems kind of random right? Well, there’s a good reason I’m going to Shanghai this summer! Lucky for me, Katie, one of my good friends who I’ve known since elementary school, told me she was doing an internship through the company her dad works for in Shanghai this summer and her dad was able to find me a job as well doing what she’s doing- teaching English to teenagers at a private English institute- els.cn

Between May 26th and July 23rd, I will be sharing my observations and experiences here about my life in Shanghai! I fly out on Sunday, May 24th and will be traveling from Los Angeles to Vancouver to Shanghai! Hopefully there will also be a 10 day trip to Thailand that Katie and I are planning on taking towards the end of our internship. If this sounds like something you might be interested in reading about and seeing pictures, definitely subscribe and I’ll promise to do my best to keep you informed and entertained for the next two months 🙂

Lastly, I want to give a special thanks to the University of Arizona Honors College for generously helping me fund this opportunity with a scholarship. I honestly wouldn’t be able to afford it without them. Sending lots of love their way, to the UA and Tucson ❤

 

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Afroreggae: a Brazilian NGO making changes in the favelas through music and culture

afroreggae

 

[Photo Courtesy of Google Images]

Banging.

Pounding.

The sound of a music suffocates the room as students learn to play the percussion in an AfroReggae workshop in Vigário, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Similar to these workshops, AfroReggae also offers weekly Afro-Brazilian dance classes to the community. It’s part of their plan to divert people living in the favelas away from the path of drug and violence using education, music and culture.

AfroReggae is an NGO based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It originally started in January of 1993 as a newspaper called AfroReggae Noticias. It covered reggae, Afro-Brazilian music and issues of black interest. The reason it started was because of the 1992 funk ban by the government. The government believed that the ban would prevent further violence after a huge brawl between two funk groups in October 1992 (Neate and Platt 16-17).

Now, AfroReggae is involved in multiple favelas in Rio de Janeiro and working on more than just diverting people from harmful paths. They’re helping them find jobs, educate themselves and improve their lives. Here are a few of their well-known projects:

  • Conexões Urbanas– a TV show geared towards connecting people with “current ideas related to sustainability, social technology, citizenship, and principally peace.” It’s a program for “creating reflection and action.”
  • Favela Uprising– a documentary from 2005 that AfroReggae works to create a social revolution to counteract the violence in Rio de Janeiro “through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance…” I haven’t seen it yet but it’s available online through the link.
  • Culture is Our Weapon by Patrick Neate and Damian Platt– a book detailing life in the favelas and the journey of AfroReggae. I’m reading it right now and definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the favelas in Brazil
  • Banda AfroReggae- one of the several musical groups started by AfroReggae whose music is “influenced by political and social commentary.” They use their music to communicate their ideas of escaping the drugs and violence in the favelas.

 

I happened to come across the book Culture is Our Weapon while research an area in Northeastern Brazil called o sertão. I figured I could find a blog of someone from the region who could give me more insight on the culture so I searched “blog sobre o sertão brasil” and came across this page on the book’s website.

Then I decided for my Honors Thesis project at my university to research and analyze how AfroReggae represents themselves in Brazil and around the world. I figured it would lead to more insight on Brazilian pop culture and the power of music in social movements as well. I’m researching them for my Honors Thesis and research paper.

I’m sharing this topic today because I think AfroReggae is awesome! Their involvement in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and their overall ideas are powerful. It makes me happy to know they’re using music and culture to redirect people away from drugs and violences and in a more positive direction. It’s amazing and I wanted to share it with others as inspiration. They’ve inspired me and I hope one day I’ll be using my passions to make the world a better place.

 

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Post Study-Abroad: New Appreciations at the University of Arizona

photo of the university of arizona

On Monday, I moved back to Tucson to start my second semester as a sophomore at the University of Arizona. I decided to live on campus again in the dorms because I loved my residence hall(Árbol de la Vida) last year. Even though I’ve only been here for two days, I’ve already noticed these once forgotten appreciations of living on campus and going to a large university compared to my experience in Buenos Aires. Here’s a few:

Having a roommate is fantastic(especially one that is Argentinian ;))

While living by myself was enjoyable, I really appreciate having a roommate once again. I always have someone around to hangout with or chat and it’s always a pleasure to start a new friendship.

Living in a residence hall and being a member of a community

I remember appreciating it my freshman year but being here only two days reminded me of how awesome it is to live two minutes away from my friends. Even more so than living with friends, I’ve met lots of really nice and interesting people on my floor and around the residence hall. I enjoy being a member of a community and love how well a residence hall fosters the community aspect.

Access to over 500 clubs and organizations and the recreation center

Now my university in Buenos Aires had a few clubs here and there but they weren’t nearly as boundless as the 500 clubs or more at the U of A. I just joined a new club called Camp Wildcat and will be volunteering to help provide cost-free fun activities for the youth here in Tucson! Furthermore, the excellent recreation center and gym on campus because I can go play a pickup basketball game just about whenever I want and it’s only a 10-minute walk away.

The classes I can choose from are ENDLESS!

I hadn’t thought about this really until this week but attending a large university like the University of Arizona has priviliged me with the opportunity to choose from an immense amount of intriguing classes. This semester, I was lucky enough to find seats in fascinating courses such as The Structure of Spanish, Major Works in Latin America, Heritage Photography, Spanish Phonetics, and Wording Pictures.

Well, hope you enjoyed this week’s post! See you next week 🙂

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24 days, 313 emails, 6 trips to Safeway and 1 sailing trip in San Francisco

san francisco, california, verbling

Today, was my last day of my internship at Verbling and tomorrow, I leave San Francisco. I have learned SO much from being here and I want to share my reflection and insights with you in this post. I’ve split it up into two categories to specify what I learned directly from my internship and what I learned from outside my internship:

What I learned from my internship:

 Customer Support is more important than you think technically I learned this from Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh but the idea is that customers will always be the most important aspect to your company(in my opinion). It’s important to help them out as much as you can and make sure they’re happy. If you happen to be placed in the customer support sector, learn to enjoy it! It may sound hard but assisting other people find solutions to their problems can make you happy 🙂

Everyone’s opinions are valid- I really loved this part about my team. Even though I wasn’t an engineer or a co-founder, my opinion still mattered and my team members listened to what I had to say. If I had an idea and explained it, people listened. I felt extremely lucky to have the ability to share my thoughts as an intern.

You can work outside of your “field”– I mostly did customer support and social media management but one day, I asked if I could try coding a little bit and I actually got to! It was beginner stuff but at least they gave me the chance to try it out and I enjoyed it! I also had to do research statistics for my boss for a meeting with an investor and that was something I felt inexperienced in. However, I did it to the best of my ability and succeeded with the help other team members!

You won’t always be told what to do- I think this is especially true with startups who are still at an early stage but I imagine this applies to other jobs as well. A lot of the times, I had to find my own projects because everyone else was busy doing their own thing. One project I completed was a press release. I wrote up a press release for the first time and my journalist friend edited it, and I sent it out to a few blogs. I haven’t received any replies yet but it’s now I have an idea of how to write one!

40 hours is A LOT per week-  I felt so relieved when they told me I didn’t have to commit 40 hours a week if I didn’t want to. Working six hours everyday drained me- I can’t even imagine putting in 70 or 80! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the work but rather some days were long and repetitive and others were exciting and dynamic.

What I learned from living in San Francisco:

Co-living spaces are definitely better than a hotel or regular hostel– living at The Embassy Network was, by far, the best decision I could have made as far as accommodations. It’s hostel/co-living space. I created strong friendships with the permanent residents and met a wide variety of unique people who stayed in the hostel. The community in this house is so welcoming. Every Sunday night around 7pm there is communal dinner where up to 50 people come  to eat and we prepare the food. I can’t wait til I come back to San Francisco and stay here again. Oh, and on the floor below the main floor is a bowling lane 😉

Learn from people- From each person that has lived at or visited The Embassy Network, I have learned something new. Whether it’s about bitcoin, cognitive science, hacking, or decision making, I’ve gained new knowledge that I wouldn’t have if I had been elsewhere. It’s fun and exciting to learn about new subjects or subjects I haven’t studied before. Sharing knowledge is one of the greatest abilities ever 🙂

Strangers may help you- I wasn’t directly helped by a stranger but one guy I met came here from Spain and didn’t know anyone and found a job from talking to a random stranger. He was on his bike, waiting at a red light when he asked the guy next to him how his day was going. After that, they talked and my friend explained his situation and the guy said he knew someone who could help him out. Next thing he knew, a company employed him as a designer. Now designers from amazing companies such as Google and Twitter mentor him and he loves the culture. You never know what can happen- you could put a smile on someone’s face or find a job!

From my parents, to high schools teachers, to professors, to mentors- they all have reminded me of how important it is to reflect on activities and events in our life. I try to practice this exercise with anything that involves learning because it helps me remember what I’ve learned and apply those things to other areas in my life. I hope my reflection and insights have encouraged you to at least visit San Francisco for a week! You can definitely learn a lot! I plan to come back after Argentina and continue learning as much as I can.

Lastly, I want to thank the University of Arizona Honors College for the extremely generous scholarship. This experience would not have happened without that scholarship because San Francisco is WAY too expensive to live here regularly. And, thank you to The Embassy Network for letting me stay for four weeks 🙂

What methods do you use to reflect on different life experiences?