More than just a Brazilian Beauty

Vitoria Vasconcelos, a 16 year old Brazilian foreign exchange student at CHS, is making memories in America that will last a lifetime.

Having grown up in João Pessoa, Paraíba, coming to Cody meant that she would have to leave her family and friends, and the beach. This was a huge change.

“It was really weird for me when I heard that I was moving to Wyoming because I had never even heard of the state,” Vitoria said. “I knew about the two bears, Yogi and Bobo (Ze Comeia e Catatau).”

May marks Vitoria’s tenth month in America. She was chosen by her host family, Kristy and Alax Record, August 1st, and she was in Cody by August 11th.

“I had literally no time to do anything,” said Vasconcelos.

According to her, the people in America are not as friendly as in Brazil, so it was hard for her at the beginning to make any good friends.

Over time she has been helped to feel at home and she has gained many friends. Seniors Leslie Brooks and Shyane Schultz have become what Vasconcelos calls her best friends.

Seniors Shyane Schultz, Vitoria and Lesley Brooks get ready for a Women’s march.

“One of my favorite memories with Vitoria was when we saw the movie A Dog’s Purpose because it was one of our first times hanging out and we bonded by bawling our eyes out,” said Brooks.

When Vasconcelos moved here, she jumped right into joining CHS activities, taking part in the cheer squad and playing for the Fillies soccer team, both sports that she would not be able to participate in at home. In Brazil, soccer is a men’s sport, and they don’t have cheerleading, so Vasconcelos saw this as a huge opportunity and took it.

“I was really excited to join Cheer because it was like a very American thing and I have  seen it in movies, but we don’t have it in Brazil,” said Vitoria.

Vitoria took Broadcast Journalism this year with Mrs. Quick, also not an option in Brazil. She loves the creativity of the class and says it is something that is very different and nothing in Brazil is like that class.

Since Vasconcelos has been here, she has noticed many differences between America  and Brazil, for example, how the food  is not the same.

“The fruit here tastes like chemicals and not fruit… but in a way it is really good, like gummy bears” Vitoria said.

The hardest part of coming to America for Vasconcelos was leaving family and friends in Brazil, and coming to new family and friends just to leave them again.

Vitoria and Alice Record enjoy sushi on Vitoria’s 16th birthday.

“The best thing about being in Cody is how small the town is, because in Brazil, my town has 100,000 people. We can’t walk out after dark because we are scared that something bad might happen,” said Vitoria. “Another great thing is that I can carry my phone in public without having to worry about being robbed.”

Vitoria will miss her friends when she leaves, but she says that she is planning to come back to America in five to ten years after all of her friends have graduated from college so that they can be reunited.

Her friends are also making plans on eventually going to Brazil to visit her.

“I will miss how energetic and nice Vitoria is, and we’ve become really good friends and it’s like my best friend is leaving,” Schultz said.

“I am grateful for this opportunity that I had to come to Cody and make new friends and have the adventure that I did,” said Vitoria.