Rodrigo Arruda Dos Santos is from Brazil and studied at ELC Santa Barbara for 40 weeks in our Semi-Intensive Plus program. He is famous for his easy-going nature and, of course, his dog Bacon. Rodrigo was always ready to help others in need, join an afterschool activity, share stories about his life and experiences, and more! We wish him the very best at city college! Learn more about Rodrigo below.
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born in the south of Sao Paulo city, the capital of Brazil. I used to live 10 minutes from Interlagos Motorsport Circuit. It is known for the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix. The place is about 25km from downtown. I had such a nice childhood; I used to play soccer and volleyball in the streets, kite-dropping, and other fun stuff. Unfortunately, I lost some friends in the middle because of drugs, crimes and accidents. That was how I learned some very important lessons that will help me for my entire life.
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I love hanging out with my friends, having barbecues, and playing sports such as soccer and jiu-jitsu. And at times, I also like adventures like skydiving, rides, bungee jump and camping.
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I am a business administrator and an accountant. At my former company, I worked as a sales manager. My profession was a surprise for me, not only regarding sales because I love it, but because I can connect with people who work discovering solutions for our health and diseases in the the fascinating world of research, which is my passion.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
My family is everything to me. I have a pet: his name is Bacon and I consider him as my child. My family is my wife, mother, father, 2 older sisters, my beautiful niece and Bacon. Yes, they do live close to us. It takes no more than 30 minutes to get to my mom’s place.
Why did you choose to study English in Santa Barbara? Did you consider other options?
My wife used to come here every other year. She told me so many good aspects about the city, the people, the weather and the beaches. In fact, she was completely right: it is a very nice place to live and study as well. Yes, we did consider other options; however we thought coming to California would be the closest regarding culture and weather.
What are all the ways that SB is different than your city?
Santa Barbara is completely different from Sao Paulo. Traffic is way better, air quality is way better and it isn’t a crowded city. Food is not bad at all; however, I still miss Brazilian food at times. The people here are kind and nice. It is easy to get a smile on the streets. We also have mountains and beaches to enjoy in Sao Paulo, but in SB is safer, also beautiful and unique.
What do you miss about your country?
My family, friends and the food.
What are your three favorite places in Santa Barbara?
Hendry’s beach. They have an unleashed area for dogs where Bacon has tons of fun. Downtown SB is beautiful and charming and also the harbor and the wharf. We get an amazing view from the wharf which combines the mountains and the ocean.
Where have you found the best food from your country in Santa Barbara?
Nowhere. Unfortunately, I did not find any place here. I found just American Brazilian food, but it is completely different.
Favorite moment in class at ELC?
I had many good moments at ELC, but the most important was almost 2 months ago. We had such a nice and great conversation in class where we could debate current issues regarding our lives and it was great. We were able to express ourselves and the teacher could handle the discussions pretty well, improving our conversation level.
Favorite activity at ELC?
My favorite activity was when we had to prepare a presentation on PowerPoint about corruption in some countries and it was very exciting. I learned so much about the differences between countries. It was so interesting that we spent about 30 minutes after class debating about it.
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
My advice would be: do not use dictionary in your own language–always use English-to-English ones. Watch TV only in English. If you have a hard time understanding, try the subtitles but always in English as well. I would also suggest watching the same TV show many times; this way, at some point, you will be repeating what they say. Singing is a good tool to practice pronunciation. Sing out loud and follow the lyrics; it helps hugely. Pick a song you enjoy but if you are not good at singing, don’t do it in front of other people
What are your plans after ELC?
I am starting the City College in January and I want to give my best and do the best I can. I will dedicate my entire time studying and learning as much as possible.