Robinette spends 4 weeks in Brazil, witnesses widespread citizen protest

(July 24, 2013) LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Junior McConnell Scholar Danielle Robinette witnessed citizen protest while spending four weeks in Brazil with UofL’s Brazilian studies department.
Robinette spends 4 weeks in Brazil, witnesses widespread citizen protest

Danielle Robinette, a junior McConnell Scholar at the University of Louisville, spent most of the month of June in Brazil with the University’s Brazilian Studies Department.

During her international study abroad, Robinette split her time between Rio de Janeiro, São José do Rio Preto and São Paulo.  While in Rio Preto, she studied Brazilian culture at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP).

However, according to Robinette, the most memorable part of the trip occurred outside of the collegiate lecture halls. “The real unique part of the trip was the timing,” Robinette said. “During my time in Brazil, the country was swept by protests regarding government spending on preparations for the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games.”

The protests started on June 6, two days after Robinette and other UofL students arrived in the country.  While the protests were initially prompted by the recent increase in bus fare, they eventually grew to include other citizen grievances, Robinette said.

“Huge numbers of people flooded the streets of major cities to protest the millions spent on stadiums rather than on education and hospitals,” she said.

Robinette watched the protests from afar, as Manuel Medina, PhD, the trip advisor, warned students not to attend the protests for safety reasons.

The trip was the first part of an exchange program with UNESP. Five Brazilian students are expected to attend UofL in the fall.

Robinette, a native of Ft. Thomas, Ky., is pursing a Spanish and political science double major at UofL. In addition to the McConnell Scholars Program, Danielle volunteers regularly with the Kentucky Humane Society.

By Mary Elizabeth Young, McConnell Scholar '16