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Sustainable Energy in 21st Century Brazil
Pictured second from the left.
Maria Dulin is a third year student pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering. She is involved with the Honduras chapter of Engineers Without Borders and is a tour guide for incoming students and families on campus. Outside of campus activities, she loves photography, art, and exploring new places.
Dialogue of Civilizations in Brazil
I attended an info session for my dialogue in the fall of last year, and from that moment when I heard about the experiences I would be able to have in Brazil, I had my heart set on this dialogue. In my mind, I pictured Brazil as a lively place filled with energetic people, music filling the streets, and art on every corner. I can definitely say Brazil did not disappoint. It had all of these things and more. It is truly a country with such a rich culture that you can feel from your first moments there. We were able to see live street art painting in São Paulo, take a bike tour around Curitiba, white water raft in Iguaçu Falls, and see Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain from a hang glide in Rio de Janiero.
Not only was I able to experience an incredible country on this dialogue, but I learned so much about sustainable energy. We visited an ethanol/sugarcane plant, several LEED platinum buildings, a landfill that turns the biogas from decomposing waste into methane which can be used as a fuel, Itaipu Dam which is the largest producing hydropower dam in the world, and the Angra Nuclear Power Plant, to name a few. We also met with some incredible politicians that were dedicated to making their cities more sustainable through extremely innovative ideas such as priority traffic lanes in the center of cities that are designated for high speed buses.
My favorite part about Brazil was how eager everyone was to make me feel at home. While language barriers were rather difficult at times, that didn’t stop me from having genuine interactions with the people I met. The engineers we met at site visits were so excited to show us around their facilities and seeing their passion for their work made me even more excited to be pursing my degree as a Civil Engineer. It gave me a lot of hope seeing how many technologies and policies Brazil has in place for sustainability. We were able to take these technologies and hypothetically apply them to Boston and our hometowns to see their potential for supplying these cities with energy and electricity. I am very excited to be able to continue to learn more about alternative energies, and I hope to make these innovative technologies a bigger reality as an engineer.