Lauren Hopkins – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS holds over 2300 students from countries all over the world. Senior Thais Torrens Fernandes was born in Ceara Fortaleza, Brazil and moved here last year to live with her aunt and live the “American dream.”
Fernandes said, “My mother went to high school in California and so she really wanted me to come here and experience American education. There’s clearly more opportunities here and so I was actually really excited to come live here.”
Fernandes came with her 15-year-old sister, leaving behind the rest of her family (including her mother, father, and two other siblings) as well as her friends. While she misses them she says that the opportunities here outweigh her homesickness.
“My dad had a hard time with me leaving but my mom thought it was essential I get the American experience and be exposed to English,” Fernandes said, “something she finds really important since she’s an English teacher in Brazil.”
Fernandes said there are differences between the education system here and the one in Brazil. In Brazil they start school in February and don’t get to choose their classes. They also have the same classes every year, they just get harder. She said that high school in Brazil only includes grades 10-12.
“We wear uniforms in Brazil which in my opinion is way nicer since I find it so hard to pick out an outfit every day,” she said.
“I love that there are so many different clubs for people with various interests like for me Drama Club. I’ve always loved plays and show music but there’s not a lot of that in Brazil,” said Fernandes.
“I plan to study marketing in college so I can bring musicals from here to Brazil. I’d love to translate American musicals so that people in Brazil can get to experience what I do here.”
“I want to go to either University of Florida or a school for theater in New York” she continued. “I just feel like there’s so much more I can do and learn here, It’s like living in another world. I also really love the people here that I’ve met through my classes.”
Additionally, she stated that it’s not hard to be away from everyone at her old school and her family thanks to social media and FaceTime.
However, she does admit she misses spending holidays and her birthday with her family. Another event she misses is Carnival. The Carnival is a massive fair/ festival type event that happens once a year before school starts and “everyone” goes to it.
She also misses food such as Bregadeiro, a chocolate desert made from condensed milk and powdered cocoa.
Fernandes does miss some American foods though when she goes and visits her family in Brazil.
“Chick-Fil-A has become my favorite place to get food and it hurts knowing they don’t have Chick-Fil-a in Brazil,” she said.
Overall she’s very happy here and feels she made the right decision by moving here to study.