Nineteen year old Lisburn girl Bath Anderson has just returned from spending six months in San Paulo, Brazil. The former Wallace High School student travelled to the third largest city in the word with the Oasis Trust, a Christian mission charity.
Beth explained,”I first decided I wanted to go to work in San Paulo when I was 14 and we learnt about megacities and shanty towns in Geography classes. I carried out quite a bit of research and was delighted when the Oasis Trust was able to offer me this fantastic opportunity. I raised almost £4000 to pay for the trip and I’d like to thank all my friends and family who helped out in so many ways, taking part in sponsored activities and attending events to support my fundraising efforts. I’d also like to thank Lisburn Rotary Club for their support.”
Beth also received the Gillespie Gap Year Bursary from Wallace High School and she would certainly encourage other school leavers to consider traveling.”My six months away from Northern Ireland was challenging at times, but I really feel that I have grown up a lot. Christmas Day without my family was very difficult but thankfully all my friends and family emailed me which certainly made me less homesick. Taking a break from studying was also really refreshing and it was amazing experiencing life in another culture so different from our own. I was lucky enough to live with a Brazilian family for several months and thoroughly enjoyed my time with them.
I was based in an orphanage in San Paulo and as well as caring for the young children, I also taught some English. I helped out with afternoon activities such as Music and Drama and also had the opportunity of teaching English to adults.
The weather was quite stifling at times but probably the most shocking thing for me was seeing the huge disparity in wealth in the country. I did quite a bit of work in the Favelas which are shanty towns, but occasionally got the chance to visit designer shopping malls where money was no object for some Brazilians. It was quite upsetting to see people living in the shanty towns without electricity or running water, yet only a few miles away see extravagant consumerism.”
Beth, who is heading off to Newcastle University to study nutrition in September, added,”I certainly haven’t hung up my travelling shoes just yet. I hope to travel to the USA during my placement year as part of my degree and I hope that I can return to San Paulo one day I have made so many friends there. I will never forget my six moths away.”
Last modified: October 16, 2007