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"Portugues arrasou" came - rightly - to be the de facto motto of this year's lively, enthusiastic, and colorful IPLC. It literally had it all: music, singing, posters of all sorts of sizes, on all sorts of topics, ex-soap opera stars from Rio de Janeiro, samba (and thus feathers), Brazilian brigadeiros and other delicacies, a trip to Brazil, chatting and socialization, and more chatting and socialization, all in eloquent, at times clumsy, slow or fast, hesitant or confident, yet always edifying Portuguese.

And all this revolving around the thematic axis of Rio de Janeiro, the overarching topic of the event on account of the forthcoming Olympic games in August 2016. The grandeur of Rio emerged on roughly forty posters that touched on some topic of Rio's rich history and culture: from the city's glorious football teams, to its equally glorious carnival, to its colonial heritage, the posters collectively came together into a mosaic that showcased the multiverse of the Brazilian metropolis.

Yet, without a doubt, the highlight of this event can be summarized in two words: Dill Costa. A woman of infinite energy and passion, Ms. Costa sung for us a few tunes that enchanted us not only thanks to her captivating voice, but also because they transmitted the most authentic way the softly sobbing timbre of the Brazilian psyche. And of course there was dance. Ms Costa and her dance team attempted to teach us the rudiments of samba, slowly, patiently, yet always gracefully to an unexpectedly spectacular effect.

I am deeply thankful for having participated, for having been immersed with my peers in such a culturally enriching experience. I look forward to another IPLC and to showing my Brazilian friends how I am a better Brazilian than them with my impeccable samba moves.

By: Éno Agolli,

It's been two weeks and I still can't get "Não Deixe o Samba Morrer” out of my head. The IV Illinois Portuguese Language Connection set about a cascade in my life that has left me scoring through old Samba, new Brazilian Indie-Rock and Jazz, and picking a new set of favorite musicians that have become the background playlist of my life. I've grown to crave the vibrant sounds and feelings that inhabit Brazilian music; and scarcely a song goes by without me returning to the stage, dancing with Dill Costa at IPLC.

Something strange happened when I met her. I'm not quite sure if it was just the richness of her singing, the incredible enthusiasm and happiness she carried around with her, or if it was just her speaking of the land my father has told me so much about - but I felt connected to her. I felt as though I was finally in my element, finally becoming part of the world I'd wanted to be a part of since childhood. I felt Brazilian. Of course I'd always been Brazilian, but I'd never felt Brazilian. The experience I had at IPLC means much more to me than merely hearing or seeing Brazilian culture, much like studying Portuguese has meant much more for me than communication. My studies, as supported by IPLC, have given me the chance to actively participate in my culture, to hold conversations with my grandparents, and understand what it truly means when I say that I am Brazilian.

By: Ryan Miller

May 9, 2016