BLOG: Close Quarters and Bucket Lists: My experience in Brazil so Far

Reily Small posing with Christ the Redeemer

The Ball State at the Games culture class started out nearly the same as the Games class that has followed it: a lot of strangers crammed into a space that is meant for maybe six people. 

At this point in our trip, everyone has seen everything in the hostel. Underwear hanging from the clothing line, mad sprints from the shower to the bedroom in just a towel and even the piles and piles of tissues from someone who is a little under the weather. This is just all part of the experience of traveling to another country with 50 of my now closest friends … that I don’t yet know the names of. 

I believe I’ve seen more here in three weeks than I’ve seen in Indiana in 15 years. For example, I’ve seen a sloth, lots of monkeys, Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Olympic torch and Olympic venues. What have I seen in Indiana? The Children’s Museum. 

My favorite places that I’ve been to so far in Rio are the Jardim Botânico Garden and Christ the Redeemer. 

The Botânico Garden had really cute monkeys and a sloth, but Christ the Redeemer has been something on my bucket list for the past six years. 

My time here has been a balance of hard work and making memories. It’s hard to believe that the past three weeks here has already flown by, but I’m excited to see what the next two weeks here bring. 

Reilly Small is a Ball State University student and writer for BSU at the Games, a group of  50 journalism students traveling from Muncie, Indiana to Rio for the Olympic Games.Follow them at, @bsuatthegames on Twitter and Instagram, and BSU at the Games on Facebook.

Reilly Small

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