The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Brazil, US beckon student


Home sweet home

Yasmin Bichara, a senior communications major, comes from a unique background.

Born and raised inside the rain forest of Brazil, Bichara came to the states to further her education.

As a teen, Bichara began her journey as an exchange student in the foreign exchange student program in Louisiana at Farmville High School.

She gets homesick often and though she misses her family and friends, she only returns to Brazil on occasions such as summer break and Christmas.

Life on the water

Bichara also said that there are many floating hotels, villages and schools in her city. Many families often spend their holidays on the floating hotels and restaurants in the Black river.

Shrestha looking over pictures of family and friends.  

Brazil is the richest country in terms of water resources. The only means of transportations within the cities are planes and boats, due to the large rivers separating each city.


Although Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, Bichara is fluent both in English and Spanish.

“My father is from Lebanon, so, I do not know any native languages. But, there are villages where people speak native languages,” Bichara said.

Culture craze

Known for its wild carnivals, Brazil has many clubs and Brazilians don’t need a reason to party, according to Bichara.

The major carnivals are usually held in Rio de janerio and Sao Paolo during the same time as Mardi Gras.

The carnivals are full of loud music, samba, bright lights, and girls with bedazzled dresses with massive feathers and huge head ornaments.

“However in Bahia, there is a fusion of Brazilian and African culture and, so, carnivals are carried out in a slightly different manner,” Bichara said.

Bicahra added, “At midnight, in New Year’s Eve, we have a tradition of jumping seven waves for good luck.”

Although this is a Bahian tradition, Brazilians from all over the country practice it.

Welcome to America

When she first came to the U.S., Bichara found Americans to be more reserved than Brazilians.

Bichara said, “In Brazil we always kiss or hug each other as a form of greeting.”

Food and fun

Brazilians celebrate Valentine’s Day on June 12, instead of Feb. 14, and it is strictly meant for couples only.

One of the most popular Brazilian dish is Fejoada. It is a bean based dish with pieces of pig nose and ears.

“We also have Brazilian barbeque, which is basically a long skewer stuffed with lots of meat and fish,” Bichara said.

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Brazil. It is one of the most successful national teams with five FIFA World Cups.

“Sunday and Wednesday nights are marked as ‘football nights.’ There is always a big game going on and lots of fireworks,” Bichara said.

Along with Bichara, four other Brazilians currently study at ULM.

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