Mehda Pal, 3rd year undergraduate student
International Relations, King's College London
The trip to Italy as part of our module, Brazil in International Relations, was an unforgettable trip for so many reasons! The educational and academic side of our visit to Italy was a great way to experience and get a real feeling of what it felt like for the Brazilian soldiers participation in World War II (WW2) fighting in Italy. We got a feel for this from our hike up Monte Castello - a cold, long and tiring route which made us all the more empathetic with how difficult it must have been for the soldiers with their artillery. We also frequented several museums and historical sights in memory of the participation of the troops. A personal highlight of the trip for me was our final day in Italy when we went back to Monte Castello and visited the monument there dedicated to the Brazilian participation in the war. Speakers from an array of groups from Italy and Brazil both spoke of the fearlessness, valour and appreciation of the soldiers. We also had the privilege of being hosted and toured around the bunkers, museums, monuments and trails where the Brazilian soldiers walked by a man named Mario, whose father participated in the war. This gave us further insight into the conditions and difficulties the Brazilians had to cope and adapt to when fighting in Italy, but also of their bravery and courage. Everyday was a new learning experience where we would meet someone whose family member took part in the war or visit a sight which was a testament to the Brazilian troops. It was truly an eye opening and fantastic opportunity to gain a variety of perspectives about Brazil and WW2.
Of course, additionally to wonderful learning experience we gained from the trip, we were surrounded by stunning views and treated to immense hospitality and graciousness from where we resided and were feasting from morning till night with copious and generous amounts of wine and caipirinha. We were also frequented by the sweetest of cats at our hotel, Albergo Guidi and by the end of the trip, none of us had wanted to leave with such lovely memories we had all made together as a group and from what we had learnt. It was a truly brilliant trip and an amazing chance to learn about Brazil’s engagement in WW2.