Broaden Your Horizons-Latin America

By: Jackie

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend one of my favorite events here at Simon– Broaden Your Horizons, a program that is put together two or three times a year by members of Simon United.  Each Broaden Your Horizons event focuses on a particular country or region of the world and yesterday the focus was on Latin America and in particular, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia.  As always, this event was as educational as it was entertaining.

The event started with a presentation on Peru given by Silvia Torres, the President of our Latin American Students Organization (LASOS).  Silvia gave us an overview of Peru–including Machu Picchu and other landmarks, lovable llamas, and Incan traditions.  We also heard about the tremendous diversity within the Peruvian population, including the fact that about 14% of the population come from a Chinese Peruvian background.  As we listened to Silvia we ate from a sampling of traditional Peruvian recipes that were made for us by a local catering company using recipes from Silvia’s grandmother.

Renato Machado, a second year student from Brazil then took us through an overview of his home country, the only Portuguese speaking country in South America and home of the upcoming 2014 Soccer World Cup.  Renato took us from the breathtaking Rio de Janeiro and Carnival to the modern capital of Brasilia to Sao Paulo, one of the five largest cities in the world, and finally to Florianopolis, a popular summer retreat for Brazilians.  To wrap up, we ended in traditional festive Brazilan style as Rentao showed the audience how to make a Caipirinha, a traditional Brazilian drink made with fresh limes, sugar, and Cachaca

Next, Cristian Alvarez spoke about his home country of Chile- one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world spanning a length roughly the distance from New York City to Los Angeles and home of Easter Island and Tierra del Fuego. Crisitan humorously gave us mottos such as "never start on time" and "tomorrow means never" and demonstrated to the audience some of the cultural differences one might find doing business in Latin America and told us to not be surprised if meetings start 30-40 minutes late!

The program wrapped up with two more wonderful programs given by current Simon students on Mexico (Mexico: Myth or Reality) and Colombia (Hollywood Stereotypes of Colombian people) which included a great video that was produced to educate others about the people of Colombia-it is definitely worth taking a look at.  Finally, we were all in for a treat as Jonah Inikori (a UR graduate ’98), and one of his students at Inikori Dance Studio gave us demonstrations of the Bachata, Merengue, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Salsa.   Like other events I have written about, this is another example of why I am so proud to be a part of the Simon community– we learn something new are exposed to a myriad of cultures every day.

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