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YES student studies Brazilian street art

GISBORNE Girls’ High student Rebecca Collier is back from the trip of a lifetime to Sao Paulo, Brazil as part of a Young Enterprise Scheme initiative.

She was one of eight student representatives from New Zealand chosen to travel to the South American city to learn more about the country and culture.

“It was an amazing experience,” Rebecca said.

“We got to see their culture and how they view business and approach life.”

Rebecca is a member of the YES National Excellence Award-winning Gisborne Girls’ High team Project Ataahua, whose project commissioned public artworks to beautify Gisborne city, so she had a particular interest in Sao Paulo’s street art.

“We went to an alleyway called Batman Alley where the street art constantly changes,” she said.

The travelling group was chosen because they all wanted to develop their own cities in New Zealand and help those around them.

One thing she learned from the experience was the number of opportunities there are in business worldwide.

The group visited the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise office in Brazil and Rebecca said it was amazing to see what the Government had been doing over the last couple of years to help Kiwi entrepreneurs.

“I thought that was incredible. It is so easy to start up a business in New Zealand. I think it takes you an hour.

“In Brazil it will take you three months. There is so much bureaucracy.”

English language classesThe group visited an English language school offering affordable lessons to the underprivileged.

“If you don’t speak English over there, you are considered second-class.

“But education is not freely available to everybody. It can cost US$300 a month for topnotch places.”

Rebecca said all students should take part in the Young Enterprise Scheme as it provided opportunities and practical experience and knowledge.

“It’s a lot of extra work but so worth it.”

As the youngest in the group, the others became like big brothers and sisters and looked out for her, especially in situations where she felt overwhelmed, like travelling on the subway at peak hour.

“There are 30,000 people using the subway in a city of 20 million people."

The students were selected from nearly 4000 enterprising New Zealand youth to attend the one-week study course at Campus Brasil in Sao Paulo.

The study tour was the creation of the Latin America Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPE) established this year.

Three CAPEs (Latin America, Southeast Asia and North Asia) became operational in New Zealand from July of last year, with the Latin American one based at Victoria University of Wellington as part of a consortium agreement with the universities of Auckland, Waikato and Otago.

“Each CAPE will develop strong links with its region of speciality, facilitate student exchanges and become a focal point for New Zealand’s relationship with that part of the world,” said Latin America CAPE Establishment Director, Dr Matthew O’Meagher.

“Our goal is to prepare New Zealanders to engage and do business with Latin America,” Dr O’Meagher said.

“This is one of many initiatives we will provide to excite young New Zealanders about that region.”

BRAZILIAN EXPERIENCE: The New Zealand and Brazilian group who took part in the Young Enterprise Scheme initiative in Sao Paulo, Brazil includes Gisborne student Rebecca Collier (centre in black). Picture supplied
GRAFFITI HAVEN: Here in Sao Paulo’s Batman Alley Gisborne student Rebecca Collier stands in front of a large artwork that symbolises “spreading your wings and exploring what is out in the world”. Batman Alley is a street art alleyway in Sao Paulo that constantly changes throughout the year. It is said that no piece of art remains for more than one year. Picture supplied