The Brazilian Student Association hosted a “Brazilian Reception” at Trism, an off-campus bar and event space, to announce its comeback and provide a networking opportunity for Brazilian students Thursday.
The organization had been inactive for more than a year due to lack of participants, according to Alessa Rosa, a BRASA staff adviser and public relations coordinator in the Office of International Affairs.
Around 100 Brazilian students and those interested in Brazilian culture attended the reception, networked and learned ways to get involved with the campus community. Attendees were also introduced to various Portuguese classes and study-abroad opportunities available at Ohio State.
Paula Dalcin Martins, the president of BRASA and a doctoral candidate in microbiology, said she revived the organization to help Brazilian students adjust to the environment and cultural differences in the U.S.
“I remember when I first got here, it was quite a cultural shock,” Dalcin Martins said. “I want to know a lot of things but there weren’t a lot of resources.”
Dalcin Martins said small things like finding and renting off-campus houses can be challenging for Brazilian students.
“They come here with no housing, nothing arranged and expect to find a house when they arrived,” Dalcin Martins said. “We are trying to build a platform with information Brazilian students can use to book a house in advance — prior to their arrival.”
Patricia Marques De Farias, a doctoral candidate in food science and technology from Brazil, arrived in Columbus Monday and saw the event on Facebook.
Marques De Farias said she appreciated the opportunity to meet fellow Brazilian students and people who are interested in learning about the culture.
“It’s good to speak English a lot because I need to improve my English,” Marques de Farias said. “But sometimes it is so good to speak Portuguese. It just helps me understand better.”
Dalcin Martins said BRASA also wanted to help Brazilian students make friends outside the Brazilian community by understanding cultural differences.
“Brazilians are very open and talk in-depth about their lives, while Americans are very private people,” Martins said. “Lots of Brazilian students don’t feel like they are making friends because people don’t talk about their private lives. But it’s just cultural differences.”