Camila Rocha sat cross-legged on the floor of Washington & Jefferson College’s Fireside Lounge, counting the minutes until the World Cup went live in her hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“I think we (as Brazilians) are more excited for the World Cup,” Rocha said. “For (America), it’s the football. For us, it’s the soccer.”
Nine other Brazilian exchange students, who are participating in W&J’s English Language Institute, Science Without Borders, share Rocha’s sentiments.
The ELI class consists of graduates and undergraduates enrolled in the Brazilian Science Mobility program.
The program supports science, engineering technology and math students wishing to expand their language skills and experience American culture at a U.S. college.
Rocha will spend the remainder of this semester mastering English, and in September, she will continue studying for a degree in mathematics. But Thursday, Rocha was focused only on the green and yellow jerseys of the Brazilian team at the World Cup.
Beatriz Oliveira, an ELI student from Taquarituba, said the spirit of the game is hard to match in America.
“I think Brazil is considered the country of soccer,” Oliveira said.
According to Oliveira, Brazilians celebrate by singing the chorus of “Sou Brasileiro” in Portuguese – translating to “I am Brazilian.”
Nayara Barroca, an ELI student from Pouso Alegre studying biology and neuroscience, believes the United States’ general lack of interest in soccer is primarily cultural.
“Here people don’t care about soccer,” Barroca said. “Here people have love for other kinds of sports. (In) Brazil, soccer is one of the most important sports.”
Nonetheless, according to Rocha, Brazilians celebrate a win no differently than the average American fan.
“We scream a lot, hug each other and drink more beer,” Rocha said. “Sometimes we do a barbecue, too.”