Day after day, I understand better how worth was the experience in the Netherlands. In February 2017, I left Brazil to an internship at AVANS, Breda. During the time abroad, a mix of positives and negatives moments and experiences made me evolve and recognize this personal change back in Brazil. I can mention relevant gains in three different aspects - personal, professional and cultural.
Certainly talking about our personal gains would be the most difficult part. However, I lived for five months among the Dutches, so I learned to be fair, direct and self-confident like them, keeping my Brazilian features as well. In fact, I am usually quite shy on formal situations, but when I was hit by the Dutch direct way, I also have to leave some parental lessons beside and impose my opinion like the natives do. If I act like that in Brazil, for sure I would lose a bunch of friends. We are indirect, sentimental and heart-broken “level soap opera”.
In the Engineering field I could be valuable, provide good results to the research group and the partner company involved on the project. Heading to the end of my bachelor in Brazil, thoughts like “what am I doing in here?” or “what can I add to the world?” commonly pass through my mind. However, by presenting my project and arguing with professors in the Center of Expertise Biobased Economy I could realize I was capable to deliver good results and ideas even in a dynamic and developed workplace like that. Moreover, because of my work in the project, we could bring the following steps to be developed in my Brazilian University. Everybody should keep in mind - Believe in your potential!
I always had the curiosity to live in Europe. I have already studied in the United States, and Europe was the other big reference to my country. In the same way of the Plato cave myth, when someone stays restrict to a country not well internationalized like Brazil, this person goes against the own mind/thought to fit her life on the “cave” perspective. Pushing ourselves to an experience abroad allow us to interact with people from different cultures, having wider understanding of Brazil and world. Moreover, it is possible changing some personal behaviors by facing and understanding other realities. As soon as we face cultural differences, we respect and learn from each other. That is a step closer to be a global citizen.
Therefore, I strongly recommend and encourage my friends at the University to go for a period abroad, either Living Lab Biobased Brazil or other oversea opportunity. The feeling of being out of your comfort zone in other country is a powerful tool to create better civilians, engineers and global citizens.