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Brazilian foreign exchange student now a Dixon Duke

Lobo adjusting to life in U.S.

Romulo Lobo (right), a native of Brazil, is spending the school year in Dixon as an exchange student. He's living with tennis teammate Brenan Chacon (left) and his family.
Romulo Lobo (right), a native of Brazil, is spending the school year in Dixon as an exchange student. He's living with tennis teammate Brenan Chacon (left) and his family.

Romulo Lobo came from a city with a population of more than 2.5 million to one of just over 15,000.

The native of Brasilia, Brazil, the country's capital, is a junior foreign exchange student at Dixon High School. He was a member of the Dukes' soccer team and is currently on the tennis team.

"There's a big difference between here and there," Lobo said. "Here everybody knows everybody. You can walk down the street here and not see anybody. And, there's so much less noise here."

Lobo, who is living with senior teammate Brenan Chacon and his family, has been pleasantly surprised by life in the United States.

"You guys have a reputation there that people here are kind of arrogant," he said. "I don't think so. Everybody was nice to me when I came here. I think people there are jealous because this is a world power."

After 7 months in the states, Lobo speaks very good English. That wasn't the case early on, even though Lobo took 4 years of English classes in Brazil.

"I thought I knew English pretty well, but when I came here I knew I had a lot more to learn," he said. "It was weird. I couldn't understand people. I only understood a little bit. Now, it's so much better."

Chacon, who is currently taking Spanish 4, would like to follow in Lobo's footsteps and be a foreign exchange student himself.

"I'd like to do that," Chacon said. "I'm a senior, so I'd have to go on a college trip somewhere. I think that would be pretty cool."

Lobo, whose native language is Portuguese, also speaks some Spanish. Chacon said he and Lobo have not spoken Spanish together.

"We haven't, but my grandma speaks Spanish and she talks to him sometimes in Spanish," Chacon said.

Among the many differences between life in Brazil and the U.S., Lobo said that in school in Brazil the students stay in the same classroom and the teachers change rooms. There are also no sports in school. It's all clubs.

Another key difference is the food.

"There's a lot of fast food here," Lobo said. "There, I used to eat a lot of healthy food. And, in Brazil we eat a lot of rice, beans, and meat. But, the beans here are very different. Here, you guys eat sweet beans. There, it's like salted beans with a lot of seasoning."

Lobo has met two other Brazilian foreign exchange students in the area, one who lives in Oregon, and the other in Kirkland.

Lobo credits TV and the Internet for helping teach him English.

"I couldn't understand TV and music when I came here," he said. "Now, I understand almost all of the stuff. TV helps a lot, but I don't like TV. I prefer the Internet."

Lobo file

School: Dixon

Year: Junior

Hometown: Brasilia, Brazil (population 2.5 million)

Sports: Soccer, tennis

Foreign exchange hosts: Senior Brenan Chacon's family

Languages: English, Portuguese, some Spanish

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