Elon @ Brazil / March 2004: Welcome!
The instructors for GST 243 were Gerald Dillashaw (Dean of the School of
and Martin Kamela (assistant professor in the Dept. of Physics).
Welcome to the on-line magazine for GST 243 - Elon University international studies in Brazil . We departed on January 3, 2004 from Miami and traveled for three weeks through parts of Brazil . Our first stop was Rio de Janeiro . Perhaps most known for its exuberant Carnival celebration, it is a place of stark contrasts and intense beauty of the landscape. There is as much complexity in the social fabric of Rio as there is joy and quick stepping in the Samba. The Amazon was next on our itinerary. Words fail to describe the experience of being there; biodiversity to us is no longer an abstract concept. We stopped in Brasilia , the modern planned capital city. Near Brasilia we visited a camp belonging to the MST, a popular land reform movement. We stayed for three days in Foz do Iguaçu, where we visited the national parks on both the Brazilian and the Argentinean side of the waterfalls, and toured the world's biggest hydroelectric works at the Itaipù dam. For the last week we were back in Rio de Janeiro , exploring neighborhoods in the city and some surrounding towns, and basking in the vibrancy of the Brazilian culture.
There were several objectives to our travels. We wanted to explore some of the natural wonders, resources, and their use in the largest country in South America , and also to begin to appreciate Brazil 's unique culture and its current socio-economic conditions. This is a pretty big task for a mere three weeks of traveling, but in number is our strength. We have pulled here some of our thoughts as all in the group have contributed a short article to this magazine. We found Brazil to be full of wonder - it is really a different world from the United States , although there are occasional remarkable similarities. We have especially enjoyed the friendliness and the warmth of the people we met, and wish we had more time to meet more of the 170 million Brazilians. So we hope that the reader gains a glimpse into Brazil through the small windows that are our observations.
Martin Kamela & Jerry Dillashaw