Susan Mpinge: From Exchange Students to Brazil

Brief: From Exchange Students to Brazil

We heard you went to Brazil recently for an internship. Please tell us more about that. Where did you go, how did you get to know about it, how long were you there and what did you study. I did an exchange through the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC Namibia) Society at the Polytechnic that facilitate exchange between universities. I worked as an administrative intern at one of the NGOs in Brazil that focuses on developing partnerships between universities, NGOs and inspiring students in those NGOs. I did most of the administrative work such as finding partnerships, human rights-related matters and facilitating of projects. It was difficult because of the language barrier since most Brazilians do not speak English at all. So, I started learning how to speak Portuguese. It was really interesting because the main aim of AIESEC is to facilitate exchanges and also to learn about other people’s cultures, while at the same time develop as an individual and I experienced all these. I was there for a period of 2 months during my 2013 -2014 holiday.

How did this international experience benefit you? I learned how to compromise, interact with people of diverse cultures and gained some of the skills they have which I didn’t have. For instance, Brazilians are good in terms of doing business. I have improved a lot in selling skills for different projects as a business student, since my visit to Brazil.

Compared to Namibia, tell us how you found Brazil in terms of culture, climate, transportation etc? Transportation is very convenient for an average person because in Brazil you pay a fixed amount for public transport. The streets are divided in a parallel way which is very convenient for people, meaning you can get dropped off exactly where you want to be unlike in Namibia, where you still have to walk to your exact destination. It is very safe, there are not a lot of accidents like in Namibia. The climate is as hot as in Namibia, the only difference is that Brazil is very humid. When I first arrived I could not breathe because it was very moist and humid. There was a time where it rained consistently for 2 weeks. It is very green and beautiful. Brazilians are very welcoming, when someone is different they don’t judge. Everyone is open-minded and you can be yourself and have different interests.

We heard that you initiated an online Road Safety Campaign.Tell us about your vision for the campaign and what you want to achieve with it? The Road Safety Campaign I started was a #tag, whereby you take a picture wearing a seat belt. The #tag is #SeatBeltsAreSoDope. I wanted something that spoke more to the youth and spoke the same language as the youth. The main purpose is to raise awareness and to speak about driving safely. My aims are to achieve a decrease in road accidents and a decrease in the number of people who lost their lives. Also, to encourage people to be more responsible and conscious about road safety.

Success Quote: I actually have 2 quotes, the first one is “Strong women make things happen”. That is because of the female show called Yellow Benches that I host with NUST FM every Thursday from 10h00 - 13h00. The second one is for me personally, “You stop learning when you stop listening”.