Vamos Surfar! — Around the Globe

Margarita Oja
Nov 15, 2019 · 4 min read

Let’s go back for half a year. I decided I want a change. To do something totally different.

Then life sent me to AIESEC. I found this project in Brazil. Felt exotic, fresh and exciting.

And so a 21-year-old adventures creative minimalist, flew to the other side of the world to influence and contribute in the local community.

Beira Mar beach in Fortaleza, 5th biggest city in Brazil with 2.6 million inhabitants

My project was in a surf school, in a favela in Fortaleza. My job was to teach English to the local kids in Fera Escola De Surf. Every Monday to Thursday we had English classes, where I taught them the basics of English from colors to the weather. In return, I got intensive, individual surf training from professional surfers.

Everyday fun in the ocean

I’d point out the three main reasons why I decided to go volunteer abroad:

  1. To see a country from the locals’ point of view
  2. To make a change in a local community and give back
  3. Experience new things that aren’t possible in my everyday environment
With two of the most adorable kids, Benjamin and Pedro

ONE. Go Local!

Throughout the 6 weeks, I really started to feel the local vibes. I got to know better what are good and bad parts of their everyday life, what they think of the current political situation, economy, what music they listen and makes them happy. I got to know so many sweet, caring, warm-hearted, genuine people, who are such gives, who always want the best for you.

Surf school where my project was
Surf school where my project was
Surf school where my project was

TWO. It’s about giving.

People there live out of LOVE. My purpose during my stay was to light up the children’s day, teach them something new, introduce my country and culture, hang out with the kids, so they wouldn’t be on the streets, laugh with them, play ball with them and ask about their dreams and opinions. I feel I can’t change the world on my own, but I can make one, two or ten kids day a bit brighter and happier and that is enough for me. But I feel that in the end, I learned so much more from these happy bubbles, then they from me.

Last day of English classes
Last day of English classes
Last day of English classes
In my element

THREE. New Opportunities.

I got to pick up my long lost dream- surfing. Every day, early in the morning at 7 o’clock and again before the sunset. It’s about the feeling. Excitement. Focus. Enjoyment. It can’t be explained with words. It’s only in the moment. That short moment. When feeling so alive. BUT other than surfing I did a lot of other fun things, for example, sandboarding, mountain hike with the other volunteers, gave yoga classes in a physiotherapy center, watched football games from the stadium, joined the local gym and so on…

Sandboarding with my host and his friends

Reasons why I would recommend traveling with AIESEC:

  • Everything is organized. I had an airport pickup, incoming preparation seminar, where they told all the basic information, from where to get the best SIM card to how to use the bus app.
  • If any questions appeared, there are at least 3 contact persons to turn to; I was never left alone when problems appeared.
  • It is fun. There were 27 volunteers at that time on projects and a lot of activities with other volunteers.

“Filled with so much happiness. So much positiveness. Smiles. Good, genuine people. Honest, sincere kids. Wouldn’t change it for anything. Blessed. Full of joy. This is how pure happiness feels like.” — thoughts one week before leaving

These 6 weeks gave me so much more than I had expected. Forever grateful for this opportunity.

For more of my thoughts during my stay, go check out my blog:

Lots of Love,


Margarita Oja

Written by

Team leader of Outgoing Exchange

AIESEC in Estonia

Great stories inspired by life-changing experiences.

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