Many people would love to have the chance to live in tropical areas, but Victoria de Souza Bispo got to experience this.
De Souza lived in Pará, Brazil with her grandparents until she was 14 years old.
“Brazil has a lot of different looks,” says de Souza, a freshman at South Plains College. “There’s the Brazil that everybody knows, like Rio. But the Brazil that I know is a lot different, because I’m from the Amazon. We have a lot of trees where I come from. But we have big cities like Lubbock, but with way more trees.”
De Souza explained that school in Brazil was more difficult, due to having a longer schedule. She explained that it was a lot of pressure but gave her more opportunities and a better chance at getting into college in the United States.
“In high school in Brazil, we learn everything that the United States learns in four years in one year,” de Souza explains. “It is way too much pressure. In Brazil, they have this list, and if you are not on the list, you do not get to go to college. Here, you have a lot of opportunities and a lot of different options. And here we have scholarships and financial aid. In Brazil, we don’t have that. You have to pay for it on your own.”
When de Souza was 14 years old, she decided to move to Costa Rica to live with her mother. That is where she learned Spanish.
“My mother was living in Costa Rica,” recalls de Souza.
“I asked my grandparents, because I was living with them, if I could go. So I went to Costa Rica, and I lived there for almost three years.”
After living in Costa Rica, learning Spanish and making new friends, her stepfather got the opportunity to study at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
After moving to a completely new country, there are adjustments that have to be made. Language and food were her main adjustments, according to de Souza. When she first moved to West Texas, she faced language barriers. She explained that she would watch television in English as an easy way to learn to speak English. She also said the food was a lot different.
“In Brazil, we eat rice and beans and meat,” de Souza said, “so when you come here it is a lot different, because they don’t eat that much rice.”
De Souza says that the biggest opportunities that she has had living in the United States are being able to learn a new language and education. She said it’s hard for people to pursue a college education in Brazil.
De Souza, a public relations major, says she chose South Plains because she appreciates having a smaller class.
“I like the small classes because the teachers care about your learning,” de Souza added. “So that is something I appreciate, and that’s why I wanted to come here. I have a hard time with English, so the teachers have time to talk with me because of the small classes.”
Although she has had many opportunities, de Souza said that she had to face being homesick and being away from her grandparents. She explained that her first year away from Brazil was the hardest. She said that it has gotten better because her grandparents come and visit. But she still gets homesick from time to time.
“I did the first year I was gone,” de Souza recalls. “I really wanted to go home because I have a great connection with my grandparents. I grew up with them, so I really miss them. The first year was the hardest because I broke that bond of being with them every day. Right now is not that bad, because they come visit us, so I got happy. Sometimes I sit on my bed and wish I had everybody back around.”
De Souza has overcome moving from three different countries and all the baggage that comes along with moving.
“I have met a lot of people from a lot of different countries,” de Souza said. “It is something that I have really enjoyed.”