Global Prep — 2019
Jul 16-19, 2019 -> Jul 27-30, 2019 Application deadline: December 5, 2018
Experience the uncultivated beauty of the rainforest on this 11 day Brazilian adventure! Imagine drifting down the Amazon on a fully-equipped riverboat, stopping to swim with pink dolphins or learn crafts from indigenous people who live along the riverbank. You and your friends—other passionate high schoolers from around the world—will have unparalleled access to lush rainforest wildlife, popular tourist sites, and knowledgeable guides. As you explore the rich cultural history of the Amazonas region, you’ll learn from locals who have been living in harmony with nature for generations.
Your journey will begin in Miami, where you’ll meet your Group Leader and fellow Global Prep participants from the U.S. Then you’ll travel together to Manaus, a major city in the Amazonas region of Brazil. You’ll be met at the airport by AFS Staff or Volunteers who will bring you to your hotel. Once you settle in, you’ll have some time to enjoy the city of Manaus, whose prime location on the vast Negro River will serve as the gateway to your upcoming jungle adventures.
You’ll begin by touring the cultural hotspots of Manaus, such as the Amazon Theater and local palaces. Then you’ll continue to the nearby town of Presidente Figueiredo, which is known as “Terra de Cachoeiras,” or “Land of Waterfalls.” There you can explore some spectacular caves and, as the name suggests, breathtaking waterfalls.
After you’ve had some time to take in the Brazilian lifestyle, you’ll start your six-day boat expedition. You’ll begin on the Negro River and continue to the “Meeting of the Waters,” where different rivers combine to form the Amazon. In these waters, you and your group will have the chance to spot local wildlife, and even swim with pink river dolphins. Some of your other activities will include trekking through the Amazon forest, fishing for piranhas (safe, and surprisingly easy!), and observing the alligators that emerge at night.
During the first part of your journey, you’ll stay with your group in a hotel as you explore Manaus and Presidente Figueiredo. You can expect to share a room with two or three other students on your program. Once you begin your boat trip, you’ll sleep in hammocks on board or in the jungle. This shared environment will provide a great opportunity for you to grow close and exchange stories with the other members of your group, many of whom may come from different countries around the world. Together you’ll enjoy meals made from fresh local foods, including tropical fruits and fish that you’ve caught!
As you travel along the Amazon, you and your group will stop in riverside villages to meet the Caboclos—local indigenous tribes—and learn about their culture. You’ll have the chance to try traditional crafts and discover the unique folklore surrounding the region, including myths about the pink dolphins and stories about Yara, the Brazilian water goddess. With help from your guides, you and your friends will learn how to use the jungle’s natural resources to find food and prepare a meal. You’ll also get to make your contribution to conserving the forest by visiting an ecologic reserve and helping to plant trees.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.