The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Julia Bonzanini '22 RGLP Reflection: "Expanding Notions of My Brazilian Identity"

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Surprisingly, the experience that took me the most out of my comfort zone was the Capoeira workshop. As someone who was born and grew up in Brazil, it would make sense that I would be comfortable in engaging in such a major aspect of Brazilian culture. However, because of the vast extension of the country, the culture and environment that I’ve grown up in was very different from that in which Fuá grew up in. I’d only ever seen Capoeira from a distance, or on TV, and the only thing i was familiar with during the workshop was the language. That made me feel very out of place: I was out of my comfort zone just as the other students in the session, due to the very physical and involved nature of the exercise, but I was also confronting my personal identity—how Brazilian am I if I am not familiar with such a vital part of the country’s culture? Is everyone else in the room expecting me to be good at this? Watching for my reactions? As the session went on and I became more comfortable and connected with the activities, I understood that I had a unique opportunity to get to know the traditions of my own country better, even from so far away. At the end, I believe that for me this activity had a deeper meaning than what it was planned for: I was able to explore and expand my notions of my Brazilian identity and become more comfortable with it.

 

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