A group of Oxford students have had their travel writing, based on their experiences in Brazil, featured as a blog on the BBC website.
Covering controversial issues within Brazilian culture and society, from class segregation to the gender inequalities of Machismo, the pieces were written by a group mostly comprising of third year modern language students on their year abroad.
The blog is named ‘Para Ingles Ver’ or ‘For the English to see’, an idiom which roughly translates as ‘for the sake of appearances’. It has attracted considerable online attention, particularly from those affected by the issues it discusses, as the enthusiastic responses in the comment section demonstrate. One reader went as far as to give one of the bloggers his phone number in reaction to their criticism of macho behaviour.
For one of the group, Lily Green, a Spanish and Portuguese student at St Peter’s, the comments are the best part of the blog. “The differing opinions, the frustration, the praise, the despair, the adoration – it all perfectly reflects how it is when you talk face-to-face with Brazilians about their country.”
Having only recently returned from her five month stay in Brazil, Lily told Cherwell about her time there. “I spent the first four months in Recife in the North East because I wanted to really sink into the day to day. The humdrum stuff was the best: catching the bus, making dinner with friends, complaining about the weather.”
Another blogger, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, who is half Brazilian, writes about time spent back home over Christmas. In working for the BBC, she said, “I have learned how to write in my second mother tongue in a personal and yet not too informal way.”
Loukia Koumia, a student departing for Brazil, hopes that blogging will “encourage me to soak in as much culture as I can.”