Twelve hours to the north and a world away

TárciaTárcia Moraes
Age: 24
Home: Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Major: Electrical engineering
Hobby: Volleyball
Favorite saying: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

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Stepping onto the airplane, Tárcia Moraes knew that in about 12 hours she would land in a place where no one spoke her native Portuguese.

She was leaving behind her mom, dad, sister, boyfriend and large extended family in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to further her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“I thought about giving up and not going,” said Moraes, an electrical engineering major, “but I knew I would have an opportunity to grow and learn.”

And learn she did.

Moraes, who is mostly fluent in English (she’s also currently learning German), said her language skills have improved.

“I can watch an English movie without any subtitles now,” she said.

For Moraes, making friends as an international student has been easier than she expected.

“I didn’t think people would be so nice,” she said.

Though the sights of the Nebraska Capitol are no match for the many waterfalls by her home in Brazil, she’s enjoying Lincoln just the same.

However, Moraes said she’s missing her family and friends the most.

“Brazil is very family-oriented,” she said. “I miss my father very much.”

And as for American food?

“Not good.”

Moraes said most of her favorite Brazilian dishes are fried and have a lot of seasonings.

Nebraska wasn’t Moraes’ first choice for study abroad (she was looking at schools in California), but due to availability in her study abroad program, Nebraska was her only option. Still, Moraes said she doesn’t regret anything.

“I didn’t know what Nebraska was before,” she said, “but now I hope I can return someday.”

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