Hello from Rio de Janeiro! I’m Sherice Campbell affectionately known as Philly the #40yearoldfreshman. I’m currently Film student at Dillard University, located in New Orleans, La. In the fall I will begin the second semester of my sophomore year. I am in Rio for the summer and I couldn’t be happier. This is my the beginning of my 4th week here and I am loving this program.
When I decided to go back to school, I had no idea it would lead me to summer school in Brazil. I figured I’d go to classes, learn film theory and techniques, work on projects and graduate. Studying abroad was the farthest thing from my mind. In the beginning of the 2019 Spring semester, a classmate gave me the CIEE website because she was traveling to Cape Town, South Africa with them and for whatever reason shared the information with me. I had never mentioned to her that traveling abroad for school or work was one of my goals for the new year. Whatever her reason, I’m happy she did it.
The first time visiting the website, I chose a program and filled out the application. No thoughts or reservations about the journey I was about to embark on, I just instinctively did it. I had no idea how the process worked or how I was gonna pay for anything, I just went with my desire. Not long after completing the application, I was approved. And then the journey began.
May 20th seemed like an eternity back in January when I got approved. I started the countdown and the paperwork with my school and the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship foundation. It was not a linear road, let me tell you. There were hiccups and roadblocks but there were also breakthroughs and discoveries. As time got closer, my anticipation turned into anxiety. I started getting nervous.
Starting a month before I left, I started getting nervous and at times sad. I was nervous because I am an African American masculine presenting gay woman traveling to a country not so fond of the LGBT community and non-traditional gender roles. I was also nervous because of all the information I read about the crime in Rio. I wasn’t sure about my feelings of sadness though. The only thing I could think of, is that I’d be missing spending the summer with my family. I coparent five young ladies and summer is our time together. My partner and I plan summer adventures for everyone and this summer was gonna be different.
Although we’re not together, we’re all doing exciting things so all is not lost. Through my feelings of sadness, I knew that taking this trip would give my girls, my friends, family and classmates inspiration to do great things. So upward and onward it was. I had to take this trip to see for myself what Brazil was like. I couldn’t let the media stop me from traveling to a place I’ve been dreaming about. So May 19th got here and I was on my way!
I arrived Monday, May 20th, and haven’t looked back since...