Juliana Baioni - 2014 Program Participant

Members of the Aprendiz Sinfonic Orchestra in Brazil

The members of the Aprendiz Sinfonic Orchestra who form the elite ensemble of Programa Aprediz, the organization Juliana was interning with.

What made you decide to intern abroad?

I am a graduate arts management student at George Mason University in Arlington, VA. I believe that having international experience will be a great asset and indeed a necessity to my success in this field.

Why did you select Brazil?   

I am an American-born Brazilian (I have dual citizenship). I wanted to get the chance to study in my field while at the same time familiarizing myself with my country's culture and way of life. It was also a chance for me to polish up my Portuguese skills.

Why did you choose Performing Arts Abroad for your internship abroad?

I found out about Performing Arts Abroad through an email sent to my department at school that was forwarded to the students (I was in the music department at that time). One of the first things I saw was "New Internship Program Opening in Brazil!" or something to that effect. I was hooked, and knew this was something I needed to do. I immediately called and asked for more information. No other organization even came to mind.

What were your housing arrangements like while in Brazil? What was your favorite part?

I had the great honor of staying in a middle-aged couple's home. They have a son my age, but he was away in Canada for school, so I stayed in his room. I was given a key and freedom to stay or leave whenever I wanted or needed to. My favorite part was being able to have someone to come home to and chat with; staying in a hostel would not have allowed me that same level of familiarity. Plus I had friendly, encouraging guests who never made me feel embarrassed when I made a mistake communicating.

World Cup festivities in Brazil

Juliana enjoying some of the festivities of the World Cup with her host and her Portuguese teacher.

What was a typical day like for you in Brazil?  

It kind of depended on the day. I happened to be doing my internship during the exact same month as the World Cup. As Brazilians love soccer and they love to party, it kind of resulted in some funny schedules throughout the weeks. But on a "normal day" I would go to the management office of the arts education organization I was interning with in the mornings. In the afternoons I would head down the street to their recently acquired rehearsal space where I got to interact with the student orchestras and wind ensemble. I was also able to take lessons in voice, Brazilian flute, Brazilian harmony, and Portuguese while I was there.

What is the most memorable experience you have from Brazil?

There are so many, but the most would probably be hang gliding and seeing Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi from the air. I didn't tell my mother about it until after the fact. Oh, they also wrote a newspaper article about me that was published in the Niteroi section of the daily newspaper. That was also pretty exciting.

What was the biggest challenge you faced interning in Brazil?   

Surprisingly, I had very few challenges. I had been to Brazil before, was used to the culture, the language, the money, etc. I was guided very carefully on how to use public transportation and within a couple of days was going around on my own without problems. Even with such a high traffic time as the World Cup, I never felt nervous or intimidated. In fact, I became quite handy at times because of my English. The one thing for me that I would consider a challenge is that I wanted those I met to really see me as Brazilian instead of American. But, seeing as how I never actually lived there, it didn't always happen.

Local newspaper in Brazil

Juliana holding a copy of the article that was published about her in the local newspaper.

What advice would you give to others interested in interning in Brazil?

Learn some basic Portuguese. Very, very few people know a lot of English, which is surprising given the amount of tourism the country gets, especially in Rio. A few phrases will go a long way in helping you make purchases, getting directions, etc.

Do you hope to travel abroad again in the future?

I love meeting and getting to know new and different people, experiencing different places, seeing different sights. Someday, I hope to live abroad. But, I'll still want to travel. I was bit by the travel bug long ago and I don't ever intend on finding a cure. :)

How has your internship in Brazil impacted your life?    

It's given me perspective on my life here at home. Especially by interacting with the kids who were going through the various music education programs the organization offered, I began to see some of the great things that I had back in the States, as well as things that Americans could learn from their Brazilian counterparts. It taught me a higher respect and also furthered encouraged my dreams and aspirations for what I wish to do in the future.

Would you recommend Performing Arts Abroad to others?

Absolutely! PAA did such a wonderful job in preparing things and making sure that I was taken care of throughout my trip.

Sunset on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The setting sun cast a golden gleam on the Guanabara Bay and silhouettes the statue of Christ the Redeemer gazing over the city of Rio de Janeiro.

What do you wish would have been different about your program?     

I would have liked a little more preparation on the in country organization's part with a plan of how they would have liked to use me as their intern or what they would have liked me to accomplish. Granted, I was the first intern they had ever had and they didn't know what to expect from me or really how to deal with me. We learned together each day and I was able to achieve some good things for them. But if more people are planning to do similar work for them, I would suggest that the organization would create a "job description" of some sort for the incoming intern.

Where are you off to next?

I'm going to Germany this summer! I'm doing another internship with hopes that I'll get my foot in the door of the European arts market so I can eventually move there someday.

Did you feel like you were culture shocked when you returned home to the U.S.?

Not really. If I did, it would just have been getting back to a consistent schedule. The World Cup really didn't allow that to happen. I did miss my new friends, of course. But we've been keeping in touch and I do hope to one day see them again.