Mabel Luo

Olá! I'm a junior in SEAS studying industrial engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship. I spent the summer of 2015 as a Presidential Global Fellow studying Portuguese. Not having known any Portuguese beforehand, I knew that there would be a huge learning curve upon arriving. What I didn't know was how genuinely friendly, eager, and helpful all the locals would be as I steadily gained command of the language. Aside from mingling with local Brazilians, I got to experience so much of carioca culture: drinking coconuts on Ipanema beach while conversing with friendly strangers, hang gliding over Tijuca Forest, strolling through the colorful streets of Santa Teresa, marveling at the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the world, touring a comunidade and seeing the blatant wealth inequality in Rio, shopping for fresh fruit at the local markets, and talking to locals about their views on politics. Brand new friends will welcome you into their homes with open arms and plates of pão de queijo and brigadeiro. Rio didn't get the nickname "Cidade Maravilhosa" for nothing. Email Mabel at ml3719@columbia.edu.