We want to congratulate Sebastian Zusi, Edmonds Community College (EdCC) alum and former intern in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program. Sebastian will be graduating from Washington State University on May 9th with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While a student at Edmonds, Sebastian befriended several Brazilians in the NWCCI program – friendships that inspired him to eventually study abroad in Brazil! Next year, Sebastian will continue his international adventures as he travels to teach English in China. You can read another blog post by Sebastian here.
How did you first get to know NWCCI students?
I met students from the NWCCI program the start of my freshmen year. I met Agnaldo, a student from Brazil, at an event put on by the RA’s in Rainer Place (our on-campus residence) and after we talked for a while he invited me over to have lunch with him and his friends, who also happened to be Brazilians involved in the NWCCI program. In Brazilian culture, lunch is the biggest meal of the day and would always bring them all together. As I went to lunch more often with them, I became closer and to the Brazilians and by extension to others in the NWCCI program. Through my time at EdCC, I spent a large portion of my time with the international students that I met in Rainer Place and through the NWCCI program.
In what ways did your interactions with NWCCI students influence your desire to go abroad yourself?
All this time I spent with international students sparked a strong interest in cultures of non-traditional countries, meaning countries that college level Americans do not normally travel to ie, countries other than the UK, Australia, France, Germany ect. Between my sophomore and junior year I decided to make a trip to Brazil to get to know the culture of my best friends from Brazil as well as try and achieve a goal I had always aspired to, becoming bilingual. I spent three months in Brazil with my friends in the city of São Paulo. In that time I was able to really reach higher levels in my ability to speak Portuguese as well as see all areas of their culture.
Why did you decide to study abroad in Brazil?
What made me want to study abroad was my interest in the favelas (shantytowns) in São Paulo. I had the extreme honor to be accepted to do individual research through the School of International Training (SIT) in which they facilitated an environment that allowed me to conduct research about educational disparity in the marginalized communities in the Northeastern region of Brazil.
What lessons did you learn through either your interaction with international students or your own time in Brazil that will be useful in your future career?
I believe that my interaction with international students in combination with my time abroad has helped me grow into a more confident, driven, and open minded individual. These qualities will be useful in any profession that I choose because they will help me to be more useful in team settings and more sensitive to the continually growing globalized community. My plans now are to move to China after I graduate from my undergraduate studies to teach English, I hope to spend two years in Asia and then return to Brazil to teach English and pursue my masters degree in international development.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.