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Garopaba Brazil

A Brazilian Bridge Year – Meet Chris and Vico!

Global Citizen Year is the launching pad for bold high school graduates who are hungry to make a real impact in the world, and to make college count. Each year, Global Citizen Year selects 100+ talented high school seniors as Fellows and provides them with opportunities to live and work in Brazil, Ecuador, India or Senegal during a bridge year before college.

We’re inspired by these high school grads that are pursuing their love of travel. Check out this interview with Chris below!

Oi! My name is Chris and I am 18 years old. I am from Huntington Beach, California, and I have chosen to spend a year in Brasil before heading off to college. I live with a host family in the city of Garopaba located in the south of the country. Garopaba is known around the world for its great surf and gets frequent visits by professional surfers such as Gabriel Medina.

Here in Brasil, I am working with the Federal Institute of Santa Catarina. I am helping a professor with various projects dealing with sustainability, environmental awareness, marine biology, and tourism. Together we have created elevation maps of the nearby oceans, zero electricity air conditioners, and worked on an app to monitor the whales. In my free time, I enjoying hanging out with my host family, taking surfing lessons, and talking with community members to better understand Brasilian culture.

My host family members are known as cariocas, which means they are originally from the city of Rio de Janeiro. I currently live with my host father Brumell, as well as his son, Lucca (age 19), daughter, Brunna (age 24), and Brunna’s son Vicenzo (age 6). Vicenzo, or Vico, is always full of energy and begging me to play FIFA, card games, or watch TV with him.

Here is a short message from Vico translated from Portuguese:

Close-up of jelly-filled sufganiyot
Hands passing a plate of kugel across a table with a menorah in the background

Hi! My name is Vicenzo and I am 6 years old. I love where I live. The name of our neighborhood is Enchanted Mountains and I enjoy playing in the waterfalls near the house. My grandpa built a ramp at our house and now I am learning how to skateboard! I also love to rock climb and play soccer. My favorite soccer teams are FC Barcelona and Flamengo (a Brasilian team from Rio de Janeiro). My favorite soccer player is Lionel Messi.

In Garopaba, we eat a lot of rice and beans, pastels (fried pastries with different meats) from street carts, Brasilian Barbecue, and tons of sweets. My favorites desserts include Açai (a sorbet made from acai berries), brigadeiro (a type of chocolate fudge), and pudding.

I also love to watch TV and movies such as Star Wars, Pokemon, and Planes. I hope one day I can visit Chris in California and go to Disneyland!

Tchau from Brasil!

Global Citizen Year fellows break down the barrier between “us” and “them”, and between the classroom and the world. Some call it a “gap” year; we think it’s anything but a gap — it’s a bridge to greatness. Learn more at