Cultural Exchange — Reach Cambridge Scholarship Successful Essay

As I step onto the bus for one more ride to work and quickly look around searching for an empty seat, I realize something curious: there are different yellow spots spread across the bus. Apparently, different people had the same idea: to wear the famous Brazilian football shirt. And as I finally find a seat in the back of the bus, the picture of the yellow shirts is stuck on my mind. There are still two years remaining until the next FIFA World Cup to happen, and it has been some time since the Olympic Games ended. So, what led to the shared patriotic feeling of my fellow citizens? Suddenly it hits me: they are just happy to be Brazilians.

However, even more curious than the fact that random people are matching their outfits, is their appearances. From the back of the bus, I observe them in detail. There are two bald guys close to the door. The only things they have in common is that none of them have got hair, and that they both wear the yellow shirt. While one is white, tall, and thin, the other is black, short and fat. Also, reading a book close to the door, there is a woman wearing a yellow hijab that matches perfectly with her shirt. And, finally, on my right side, there is a little, blonde boy talking animatedly about Neymar’s performance on the last Brazil vs Argentina match (which we fortunately won).

All those people are so physically distinct. They probably have very different backgrounds and beliefs; but this is what I love the most about Brazil: in spite of our seeming differences, we can unite ourselves on our shared love for our nation. And this is something the whole world could learn from us.

Furthermore, there is not a “Brazilian face”. Our country has built its identity upon glaring differences and has always served as the intersection point for distinct cultures. On times of hate and bigotry, we send an important message to the world as we value our differences and continually deconstruct borders.

Nonetheless, as I happily awake from my nirvana, I look outside the window and perceive I am finally approaching my workplace. At this moment, the bus is passing by a place that I am very aware of: my former elementary school. Great memories start to come over my mind. It was at that school that I wrote my first words, that I fell in love with the study of language, that I learned to play volleyball and that I met some of my greatest friends. However, as I stare at the building now, it looks like a completely different place. Most of the walls are covered in graffiti and some of the windows glasses are even broken, just like my heart after I witness that.

The lack of continuity and hope is what makes me really upset with Brazil. Sometimes it can be hard for a Brazilian to finish projects. It seems like giving up is already part of our culture. Projects people have, sometimes their whole life planning, such as graduating from college, or buying a house, or traveling, often vanish. With that school, it was not any different. Someone probably thought it was not worth it to keep investing on it.

I wonder what might cause this disbelief on our people. It is hard for me to get to an answer to this question, but I know we have to find a way to overcome this problem. Throughout history, Brazil has served world-wide as an example of happiness and fellowship. However, most of the time it is only appearance; inside we are ashamed of our culture, origins, and even social problems, such as corruption and drug dealing. Nonetheless, it is important to open our eyes and see how capable we are, as individuals and as a nation, especially when it comes to engaging in conversations with other countries that have dealt with similar issues and can share their “personal experience” with us. They can teach us about perseverance, hope, and self-confidence. But, most important, we can learn about the importance of speaking up.

Once more, I get lost in my thoughts; until I notice it is time to leave. As I prepare to get off the bus, I stare at those yellow shirts a final time. “I wish I could be wearing one of those too,” I think. However, I suddenly realize that we do not need to dress identically to express our Brazilian identity. Our differences unite us. I then have another desire instead: I wish all of them can be proud of something they have done, because, as Brazilians, we have much to learn from others, but we also have much to share. We just have to become aware of it.