Rosana Medeiros says Eu gosto da Stillman
Rosana Medeiros is nearly 5,000 miles away from her home in Caxias do Sul, Brazil. She tries not to think too much about all of the family gatherings she has missed since coming to the United States. Although she has only one sibling, her brother Gabriel, she has tons of cousins and every family get-together in Caxias do Sul is large and festive. Sometimes Rosana misses the sound of her native tongue. Expressing herself in Portuguese is so much easier than speaking in English, but no one else on campus speaks her language. Yet, despite the occasional bouts of homesickness and the challenge of communicating in English, the sophomore physical education major has never once regretted her decision to come to Stillman.
“In high school, I was a tennis coach assistant. College is extremely expensive in Brazil, but my coach used to help tennis players get scholarships to study abroad. After I graduated from high school, he helped me in countless ways, including putting me in contact with the right people and giving me job opportunities so I could pay for my documentation, my plane ticket and other things I need to come here.”
In addition to helping her coach to teach tennis, Rosana waitressed, served as a children’s camp counselor, helped to referee soccer tournaments, and worked as a secretary in a sports office. These positions provided her with the money required for English lessons, and for the costly exams she had to take prior to admission to Stillman. To earn a scholarship, she needed to perform well in a tennis video demonstrating her skills, and pass exams demonstrating her proficiency in English and her academic abilities. There was never a doubt about Rosana’s tennis skills, but learning English was a major obstacle.
“I only studied English for a year and a half. I had to take the SAT and the Toefl. For the Toefl, you have to speak, listen, read and write in English. My writing and reading is good, but understanding and speaking were difficult at first. I had to take the exam three times, which was expensive.”
“My English teacher back home is from Greece, and she learned British English, so I was used to the British accent in English. When I got here, everybody had a different accent. The first month I was here, every time people spoke I had to ask them to repeat themselves at least three times. My first semester was awful. I couldn’t understand anything. I was in my professors’ offices all the time, asking so many questions. Even now, I go to their offices often. But I am glad nobody else on campus speaks Portuguese because if I had started speaking in Portuguese my English wouldn’t have improved.”
In addition to being a member of the tennis team, Rosana now serves as Vice-President of the Association of International Students and maintains a 3.93 grade point average. She has helped to organize numerous events on campus, including International Dance Night, a Soccer Tournament, and International Food Day. Recently, she gave a presentation on Brazil’s carnival during a campus Open Mic night.
“I am really enjoying my experience at Stillman, and I have felt welcome since my first day on campus. The students received me really well—both the international group and students from here. This makes me feel really good. Sometimes I’m homesick, but my family and I knew I came here for a bigger goal. When we have to do something, we have to do it. If I think about it too much, it is scary. But I know my family is proud of me. I want to be a tennis coach. If I’m successful, they will be happy for me. I feel extremely fortunate that I was able to receive a scholarship to play tennis and study physical education here,” Rosana says. “I like Stillman. In Portuguese, that’s ‘Eu gusto da Stillman.’”
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