The End

It has come to this point.
My reserch has ended and I am wrapping up my final products.
My time here is over.
Looking back, the time here was something I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Because this is my final entry, I want to leave a final message to any student considering an internship far abroad.
To begin it has been exhausting and lonely at times. Especially when there is a large language barrier (In Brazil if you do not speak any Portugues, I estimate you will not be able to talk to roughly 95% of this country).
I won’t say it was easy, because it wasn’t.
It will challenge you, both professional and personal.
It has been hard work, dedication, but the most important thing has been that I had to step outside of my comfortzone so many times that I can’t even recall all of these occasions.
Going away also means being prepared for these things, because this going to your reality.
The pay off however, is far greater than the cost in my opinion.
I have met people, I have seen things and experienced things that I would never have experienced if I did not do this. I get to go home with a wider view of the world and awesome stories.
Make the choice for yourself and wheter you decide to go through with it.
I hope this blog has and will help you through it.
The best of luck!!!

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My research is ending

My time here is almost at and end. whereas the thought of going home was a fleeting glance in the months before, I am now becoming more keenly aware of my departure. whilst I will miss my friends here, I feel like I am ready to go home.
You can not be this long away from your home without missing it and the more my departure comes closer the more I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family again.
Before I leave, I will have my birthday here and from what my housemates have told me This will be celebrated greatly.
I spend a lot of time finishing my final assignements and wrapping up my remaining bussiness here in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

 

Ever since I decided to travel to Brazil, there has been one thing that I absolutely wanted to do:

Visit the most famous city that Brazil has to offer: Rio de Janeiro

The distance between my city and Rio was roughly 7 hours by bus and I did not have enough time to stay there for several days, due to responsibilities that required my presence in Ouro Branco.

I had concocted a plan that I would take a night bus from Ouro Branco, arrive very early in the morning in Rio and then take a bus back to Ouro Branco in the evening that same day.

This weekend, I decided to follow through on my plan.

The ride over there was quit tiresome, but in the end the city of Rio was well worth it.

I went on a guided tour through the city, as my housemates had advised me about how dangerous Rio was (which it was indeed, but I will get back to that) and that this way was the safest possibility if I intended to go through with this.

On my day there, I have seen the Christ statue, sugarloaf mountain, the Maracana stadium, The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, Ipanema beach, the Escadaria Selarón and eventually decided to finish that day at Copacabana beach with a nice glass of caipirinha overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

Both the journey, back and forth, from Rio were exhausting, physically and mentally, but definitely worth the visit. I would not advice anybody to do as I did (to stay only one day), but instead stay there for a couple of days in order to enjoy the sights more as the city is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Having said this, be highly aware of how dangerous Rio is as well. Military police are not patrolling there for fun and basically all the general rules when travelling to a big city have to be applied.
So if going there, be informed how to best avoid theft and you will have a good time.

 

Economic trouble

foto stakingThere has been a bit of trouble the week or so.
Due to rising anger towards the rise of gasoline prizes in Brazil, truckdrivers decided to block major roads across Brazil in order to prevent delivery of both fuel -and food.
Thus effectivelly paralysing the country
For me, this meant that the university was closed, resources like food were limited and my housemates left to go their respective homes for a few days.
I am using the resulting rest in my house to focus on my final month here, which means completing a final report, presentation, finishing my workrelated duties and figuring out what more to do in order to enjoy my final weeks here.

Belo Horizonte

BH.PNG

This week i went to the city of Belo Horizonte for a cultural visit.
Due to my friends (who have been to Minais Gerais before me) givng me advice i decided to explore the city center.
Belo Horizonte is a beautifull city, well suited for tourism.
The city contains musea, churches, shopping centra and many other things.
After enjoying some of these things. I decided to go the most highly recommended activity to do: The mercado central
This is a Market, located in the center of Belo Horizonte, and contains a great amount of diverging supplies.
These range from exotic animals (such as peacocks, dogs, fezants, chinchillas etc) all the way up to different varities of cachaca, foods, fruits, statues etc.
In case you are ever in Belo Horizonte, I would highly recommend you visit this place as you can easily lose yourself in what this market has to offer, not just in supplies but also in the generally relaxed atmosphere.
In case you are travelling by bus, i suggest a general caution around the Rodoviaria (bus station) of Belo Horizonte.
The Streets that surround this station are known to be quit dangerous, due the high amount of muggers -and pickpockets.
As a tip: Stay inside the station and you will generally be fine.

 

 

Mariana

This week, i had a few days off from my work.
This in turn meant that I had time to go and explore the region of Minais Gerais.
I decided to focus my attention to Mariana, the oldest city and first capital of Minais Gerais.
Because I live in Ouro Branco, this meant The city was only 2 hours away by bus in the early moring, after which had a full day of exploration ahead of me.
Mariana is very different from Ouro Branco and many of the other places I have seen.
The most pronounced of which, is that it is many times more beautyfull and filled with a greater amount of culture.
I saw many of the churches and museau and learned a lot about the early history of Brazil, meaning when it was first colonized.
To give a clearer picture:

fountain mariana

museum marianachurches mariana

Halfway through

This week marks the halfway point of my internship.
Looking back at the duration, it is going very rapidly.
It seems only like only a month has passed by, I have kept myself busy with both my work as well as enjoying what Brasil has had to offer.
Although sometimes homesickness strikes me, I do not want this time to end as I am having a great time here.

Two months have passed

Today marks the day that i have been here for 2 months.
although i can say that this has been a long time, the truth is far from it. Being here time has passed me by so rapidly that it barely feels like a month has passed. The reason behind this is mostly that so much has been happening that the passage of time has felt instantaneously. many things have happened and my research has made great progress.

The road to getting a studentvisa in the Netherlands.

The road to getting a studentvisa in the Netherlands.

 

You have done it!! you have successfully gotten your desired internship and are excited to go on this adventure. However, as with most fun things, there are obligations to be fulfilled. I am talking about your student visa (Vitem lV). Because this week nothing exciting really happened to me, I decided to dedicate this entry to the process of obtaining the illusive visa in the Netherlands. When I started on this journey, it was not completely clear what I had to do in order to get the consulate to give me this visa and why it was so important. Therefore I will dedicate this entry (based on my on personal experience) to the obtaining of this visa and what you will have to do to obtain it. I will be describing the entire process for students in the Netherlands and specifically for the vitem lV visa. I know this is a long entry, but try to read every bit and especially These sections.

This whole process take one to three months, so start early!!!

Without further ado, let’s get started.

  1. Begin by emailing the Brazilian consulate (visa.roterda@itamaraty.gov.br) located in Rotterdam. Explain in your email that you wish to have an appointment in regards to the studentvisa lV and would like an orientation on what documents you have to gather (be very formal in your email). The embassy is quit a busy place, so it could be a couple of days (potentially up to 2 weeks) before they respond. Do not bother them too much, as the people there can get rather vicious in response. 2.   When the consulate responds, they will most likely send an email with date planner in it. I could be that you could find this link on the website itself and if so do not send an email.

This will be in Portuguese, so I will help you

  • Select vistos (visa) and then visto
  • You will then an agenda on which day you want to have your appointment
  • Enter contact information and confirm your appointment.
  • After you finish, you will most likely receive an email. this email gives confirmation of your appointment

When going to the consulate, dress formally as a precaution.

  1. Go to the Brazilian consulate on Stationsplein 45 in Rotterdam. This is in the great building about 20 meters away, that stands on your righthand when you exit the train station of Rotterdam through the great hall. After entering, a receptionist will be there and tell you take the elevator to the sixth floor and after a series of hallways you will see the room of the consulate (it is green and has the Brazilian logo on it, so you can not miss this).
  2. This room has about 4 lockets, but do not go them as they are generally for the Brazilians in Holland. Instead, go to the small room that is directly in front of the door you entered through and tell the person there about your appointment. They will most likely tell you to wait, but you will get your turn. They will explain the documents that you will need for the next appointment, in order for them to give you the vitem lV visa.

Make sure they know you are going there for school/studying, not working as that will require a workingcontract etc which will most likely not be relevant for an internship and could potentially give you problems.

  1. For me these documents were as follows:
  1. An English VOG (Engelstalige verklaring omtrent goed gedrag)
  2. Your planetickets, both departure -and return.
  3. Proof you have enough money for the months you are there (meaning roughly 700 euros for each month in the country)
  4. A legalized version of your proof of enrollment (the original English version of that College year)
  5. An English birth certificate.
  6. A letter of acceptance from your Brazilian university.
  7. Proof that your health insurance covers you in Brazil.
  8. your passport (make sure this does not expire when you are in Brazil!!)
  9. Two passport photos.
  10. Filled in form from the website of the Brazilian consulate.
  1. let’s start with the English VOG.

Before leaving the consulate, ask them to give you a declaration that you are applying for a certificate of good conduct. They will give you this.

Make an appointment for an English VOG at your Birthcity. Come there with a filled in (and printed out) English VOG form and the declaration from the consulate. you may also ask for your English birth certificate while you are there and they will likely give this right at the appointment. The certificate is not really obligatory for your visa, but it will help you a lot. It will assist you with getting a bank account in Brazil and because the bureaucracy in Brazil is strict having the info on it could be useful. anyway, an investigation will be started to see if you have committed any criminal offences that might identify you as a threat to the people in Brazil. If so, you will not get the VOG. If you’re not a threat, than no worries!! You will receive the VOG by mail send to your registered address, as it is known to your birthcity.

  1. On to your planetickets.

Not to discourage you from your adventure, but planetickets to Brazil are not cheap (a one-way flight costs between 600 to 1000+ euros). As a tip, keep your eyes out for special offers to Brazil. Because the Netherlands are quit far from Brazil, you will likely have to make a stop somewhere else in Europe. Making a stop somewhere else in Europe will make the trips cheaper, which as students you will definitely want.

For departure, try to land preferably before nightfall. The reason behind this, is that you will have a lot of valuable items on you (think computer, tablet, money, passport etc) and at nighttime muggers, thieves etc tend to hang out by the airport looking for students because they know this.

For return, try to fly before nighttime. I have already explained the why.

  1. Money

This is probably the most important thing. There are 2 ways you could show that you have the 700 euros for each month present.

The first: Show you have the total amount of necessary euros on your bank account. Show this to the people of the embassy as a screenshot or a printed out overview of your bank account.

The second:

If you do not have or cannot get the total amount and have to borrow from DUO, show an overview (printed out) that you will receive a minimum of 700 from DUO for each month there. As insurance, you could print out the letters from DUO that verifies your loaning and changes.

  1. Going North

Now comes the most annoying or most fun part of this visa process.

Begin by emailing your university with a request for your English proof of enrollment. They might suggest you print this out a PDF of this yourself, but emphasize that they have to send the original to you by mail. There is one original for each year you go to school and you need the one relevant to your year. After receiving the English original by mail, you will need it legalized.

There is one place is the Netherlands where this is possible: The DUO headquarters in Groningen (Kempkensberg 12).

There are two ways to go about this:

The first method Send the enrollment to them by mail. Within around two weeks, you will receive the legalized document by mail.

The exact procedure of this is available on the DUO website (apologies, but I am not an expert. as I have not done this).
The second method

Going to the DUO headquarters in person. Going there in person can be a time-consuming process (it took me roughly 3 to 3,5 hours to get there), but I recommend this method over the first. The reason behind this is that you have only one original copy of your state of enrollment and losing this could cause problems. Also, Groningen is a beautiful city and definitely worth seeing. So you have the option of making this a fun day, especially if you have never been there.

Now on to what you need to do

  • Take the train from your city to the station of Groningen Europa park. I suggest you get out here, because the DUO headquarters is only a small walk away from this station.
  • No appointment will be required, just get a ticket, wait your turn and tell them to get your state of enrollment legalized.
  • After this you will need to get an apostille to complete the process. You could this at nearly every courthouse in the Netherlands, but if you want to complete it that day you could go the courthouse of Groningen (Guyotplein 1, open till 5 pm) and just finish the process that day.
  • Get an apostille at the courthouse. An English apostille did the trick for me, so I recommend this one. Having said that, I do not really doubt that a Portuguese apostille would work as well.
  1. Your letter of acceptance

Easiest to get. Mail your university for their letter of acceptance, get it through mail, print it out and… Voila.

If they send it from Brazil, it could take months so do this instead.

  1. Your health

Now, they did not ask me to see proof that my health insurance covered me in Brazil. Others have however been asked for this and knowing that you could really require medical care in this country, it really should be sorted out before you go to the consulate. In the Netherlands, get your health insurance to cover you in Brazil for the period that you are staying there. If asked at the consulate, show a printed out version of your health coverage. You may require additional insurance, but you should not play with your health. On that note, read into what kind of vaccinations you should have before leaving. For Brazil, I recommend hepatitis A, DTP and most importantly Yellow fever (there is almost always an outbreak of this deadly disease in Brazil, as you can read in one of my earlier entries). These shots are given in one session and I recommend you take them one month before departure. If you are working with blood, it is recommended you get vaccinated for Hepatitis B, but because this could take a long time and multiple sessions ( I believe 7 months total) start in time. Also avoid street dogs and fresh water in Brazil to protect against Rabies and parasites respectively.

  1. fill in a form on the website of the Brazilian consulate. This will be in Portuguese, but I belive able to be switched to English. Fill in the form completely. If you have to disconnect from the form, do not worry because you can get a code to resume filling it in later.
  2. Make sure that your passport does not expire for your stay in Brazil. If you see this, get it renewed. If you do not have a passport, get a passport. If you’re passport does need to be renewed/created, make sure to save the needed photos.
  3. If your passport is good and not in need of renewal, get your hands on official photos of yourself. These are photos that would be used for official documents such as passports, drivers licenses etc.
  4. Make your second appointment with the consulate. Do this through the same link/procedure as I mentioned earlier.
  5. Take all the gathered documents with you to the appointment and shown them to the officials. If you have doubts about anything, scan everything in and save it on a flashdrive so you are sure you really have everything.
  6. They will take your passport for 1 to 2 weeks and then you can come collect the passport at the consulate. No appointment will be necessary for this.
  7. Collect your passport at the consulate. The visa is one small paper in your passport and will show the amount of time it is valid. You will also receive an another form necessary for registration with the federal police (you will unfortunately need to register with the federal police within 30 days of entering Brazil, you can read about this in my last entry). Guard this document well.
  8. Congratulations on getting your visa!!!

I hope this entry helps future students in the Netherlands get their Vitem lV for Brazil. I based this protocol on my own experience with this. Keep in mind that things might change (addresses, necessary documents etc) and that you should have enough money on hand, as you will pay for a lot during the different steps of this process.

 

 

 

 

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