Joanna Azevedo: Worlds apart


Photo Provided by Joanna Azevedo

LHS senior Joanna Azevedo has lived in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. She was born into her family in Brazil.

Ariahna Wells, Staff Writer

With the start of a new school year comes many fresh faces full of unique experiences. While some of us have only had the chance to visit other wonders of the world, others have had the chance to live in these places and fully immerse themselves in the culture that place has to offer.

Joanna Azevedo, a senior at LHS, has lived on all sides of the globe, giving her a rare glimpse into how people of different countries live their lives. Because all countries have different cultures and ways of living, it introduces many new skills needed in our society.

“I became a lot more open minded and learned to accept others due to the many cultures I encountered throughout my life,” said Azevedo.

While Azevedo now calls the U.S. home, there are a few other countries that also hold a special place in her heart. From being born in Brazil, then moving across the ocean to Canada and finally landing in Sioux Falls, SD, Azevedo’s life already is more multifarious than the average senior in high school.

“Throughout my life, I’ve lived in three different countries, them being Brazil, Canada, and the U.S.,” said Azevedo. “I was born in Brazil but moved to Montreal, Canada when I was 12 years old. At the age of 15, I moved to Sioux Falls, SD where I currently live.””

— Joanna Azevedo



Not only has Azevedo become more open minded to the rest of the world, she has also had to adapt to the different languages spoken in these countries. Learning a new language takes plenty of work, making it almost unfathomable to imagine how difficult it is to learn four different languages in the span of 17 years.

“I currently speak four languages,” said Azevedo. “My first language is Portuguese, the native language in Brazil. Then, after moving to Canada, I had to learn French because the Canadian system forces immigrant students to go to French speaking schools and during my time at school I learned English by talking to friends. Lastly, I learned Spanish by listening to friends speak it.”

Senior Joanna Azevedo misses family in Brazil, although she is able to visit them this winter. (Joanna Azevedo)

Just like the languages that are primarily spoken in all of these places are different, so is the style of school. Many people are used to the freedoms given in choosing what classes fill their schedules each year, allowing them to explore their interests and career fields, but that is not the case for students around the globe. In many countries around the world, there is a set number and type of classes one is required to take each year, which greatly limits their ability to explore the different career fields present in their everyday life.

“At first, I was very surprised to find out that in America, high school students get to choose the classes they wish to take and have the opportunity to learn many different skills during their time at school,” said Azevedo.

While living in the U.S. has many opportunities, it is hard being so far away from friends and family. Many people know the struggles of long distance relationships – whether that be with friends, family or significant others, but few people know the struggles that present themselves when the people one loves are thousands of miles away. Luckily for Azevedo, the wait is almost over to reunite with her loved ones.

“I’m going on a family trip to Brazil this winter to see my family and friends,” said Azevedo.

These unique life experiences are what shape one into who they are, which is necessary to the world. Whether home is spread out all over the word, or home has always been in one place, these experiences help guide us as we grow.