When the first dusting of snow fell on Andover several weeks ago, Bruna Cincura ’20 experienced winter for the first time in her life. Cincura is a new Upper from the warm city of Salvador, Brazil, and the weather was one of her hardest adjustments.
Cincura said, “It’s just very different to accept that you are going to walk out, and it’s gonna be dark outside at 4:00 p.m…. You’ll have to wear layers and layers of clothes, when you [are] used to just a t-shirt and some shorts and some tennis shoes and you’re fine.”
Cincura continued, “Living in Brazil basically means you only get one season year-round. Especially where I am from. It’s like summer, summer, summer, and then a rainy summer during the winter.”
After experiencing snow for the first time, Cincura said that she wants to find ways to avoid the harsh New England climate.
Cincura wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “My dorm is in a location that is closest to everyone, and I think we can all shelter from the cold there. When the snow comes around, we won’t be able to walk around much.”
Although she previously attended school with people from all around the world as a student at an international day school in Brazil, Cincura found that not being able to go home to her parents, brother, and dog was an unusual feeling.
Cincura said in an interview with The Phillipian, “The difference between Andover and where I was from is that here, we’re living with these people 100 percent of the time. It’s not like a private school back home where seven hours a day you’re at school and then you’ve got to go home and then you’re with your Brazilian family. Here you’re 100 percent of the time face-to-face with roommates, dorm counselors, and teachers. It shows you how people are outside of school and how this culture really shapes them. It’s really interesting to see people’s [personalities] they have outside of school.”
Ines Lazaro PG’19, who is from Madrid, Spain, lives in Paul Revere Hall with Cincura.
Lazaro said, “[Bruna] is really good at telling stories. So I know a lot about her and I’ve only known her for 90 days…But I think that she’s really open. I find that she’s really good explaining how she feels, and what has impacted her during her life.”
Cincura’s roommate Alia Abdullah ’20, who is from Bahrain, said, “[We have] a lot of cultural differences. I’m from the Middle East and she’s from Brazil, so she lived in the place that is the exact opposite of where I came from. What was really interesting is that she never asked questions… Strange things I was doing, she’d never ask about them. She’s a really chill person.”
Abdullah said that she has discussed cultural differences with Cincura.
Abdulla said, “We discussed how we both interact with people in different ways — it was kind of funny. For example, me and another Spanish friend were telling her that in both of our cultures some people eat with their hands. And she was really surprised. She was like, ‘We never do that.’ And two minutes later she was like, ‘I kinda wanna do it!’ So yeah, she’s really open.”
In addition to the weather and cultural differences, Cincura has also needed to adjust to the responsibility and independence of living on her own.
“Dealing with the weather is hard, but also having to go to the bank by yourself, being in check for your own stuff, having to buy your own personal necessities, and going to the drug store for yourself, keeping your pills in check. It’s not impossible, but you have to settle everything into your daily life. And it’s something that you don’t get if you’re not a boarding student or engaged… 100 percent of the time in something like this,” said Cincura.
Living far away from home has also had its drawbacks, according to Cincurra.
Cincura said, “Of course I get homesick. I mean [I am] 7,000 miles away from home and [have] no face-to-face communication, [even though I] used to have family dinners every night and everything. Of course I get homesick, but I know that everyone back home is happy for me.”
Cincura said that food is one way she has tried to combat homesickness, even if the food in the United States is not exactly like at home.
“[Although] places like Florida [have it], in general, one of the things New England doesn’t have is fresh pressed juices. And this is so big in Brazil, everywhere, [in] every household, so I am thankful that Paresky [Commons] has fruits,” said Cincura.
Concura said she noticed the difference in food the first week she got to campus.
Cincura said, “Brazil is very big on beans, and one of the first days that I ever ate here, Paresky had Boston baked beans. So, I was really excited to eat the beans, but when I tasted them, the beans were sweet. And I was like, ‘Wait what is this?’ because our beans are not sweet. They don’t have barbeque sauce or anything. Our beans are salty. And so [although] I was really happy Paresky had beans, I [thought it was strange].”