“I don’t just want to live in Brazil, I want to become Brazilian,” she said.
“I want to learn about myself and get over my fears,” Briggs added.
According to Briggs, some of her biggest fears are homesickness, the airport/customs and learning the language.
“Almost every exchange student has homesickness at one point or another,” she said. “I will be missing my senior year with classmates I have had since preschool and kindergarten. I think it will be hard not to be there with them. The airport is one of my fears because I have flown multiple times, but never by myself. I am nervous I will miss flights and get lost in the airports. The language is one of my fears because my host parents do not speak English. I know I will slowly begin to learn the language once I get there, but for the first month it will be difficult and frustrating trying to communicate with family, teachers and classmates.”
Briggs said she has never left her family for so long having only gone on trips with extended family and friends for a couple weeks at a time.
Another Cooperstown student participating in the exchange program is Aisling McGoldrick. She left for Brazil on Aug. 17.
McGoldrick said she has wanted to be a Rotary exchange student since Geertgens talked to her class when she was in middle school.
“I love traveling, culture and language, and I recognize that being an exchange student will give me once in a lifetime opportunities that I would otherwise not be able to do,” she said. “Every second I give up in my high school, I know is completely worth it.
The 16-year-old wasn’t sure what country she wanted to visit at first, but said she became impressed by Brazil.