I will never in my life go somewhere as magical as Rio de Janeiro. The cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city) lives up to its name in every way, especially when viewed from breathtaking sights like Dois Irmaos peak, Pão de Azucar, and the wondrous Cristo Redentador. In the spring of 2015 I went on a semester abroad with IES Rio, and I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Simply put, it was the best experience of my life. I learned Portuguese, taught English at Latin America’s oldest institute for the blind, and became a writer for a local NGO—when I wasn’t lounging on the world famous Ipanema beach, Samba dancing in Lapa, practicing Capoeira, or canoeing in the Amazon. Having multiple once-in-a-lifetime experiences during a single week was not uncommon for me and my group of IES cohorts.
IES Rio gave me just the right amount of freedom and guidance, and let me explore the city in my own way. I cannot thank the staff enough for their help, and I would recommend the experience to anyone.