InterNations Featured Blog
Recommended Expat Blogs: Brazil
Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Brazil:
I was working in publishing here and had always been involved in the life of the city of Rio de Janeiro. When good things began to happen here, after decades of violence and hardship, I became concerned that the turnaround might not last. I invented the blog as a way to inform people about what is happening and to bring a critical and constructive view of urban events to my readers, both in English and Portuguese. It’s so important to know what’s going on.
I wasn’t prepared at all. I didn’t speak a word of the language, and in 2003 not many people spoke mine (or were not in the practice of doing so while in Brazil). Before my second stint in Rio I bought some Portuguese books and decided I would not be lost. If I could change anything I would have done that the first time around. I have always felt that you should ideally speak the language of the country you are in, though I had no idea how left out you could feel if you didn’t.
There are many ways my life here is different but I think/hope I'm slowly adapting. In terms of different circumstances, the high cost of living for of food, clothes and electronics was really shocking to me. I am still adjusting to that. Also, being in a place in the Southern hemisphere without four distinct seasons has been different. It was odd to me to celebrate Christmas during summer.
I had taken a Portuguese course about a month before I moved down thinking that I just needed a few words to get by and then could learn more once I got there. Now looking back, if I could do it again, I would have been taking intense Portuguese courses for months instead of doing them once I got down here.
Naturally I have experienced a fair bit of culture shock (especially as I came here from Japan!), but one thing I find just as interesting is the reverse culture shock I experience when returning home! For the first week or so of being back, I had to stop myself from hugging and kissing everyone I came into contact with!
When I came to Brazil I had no idea what it would be like so I was very open to everything. I was also very young (just turned 16) so it was like an adventure. I don´t think it´s a good idea to prepare as Brazil is never what you expect so no, I was not fully prepared but I would not change anything. I am glad I was open to the new experience and consequently adapted fairly quickly.
Try to find out as much as you can about the cultural differences before you go. There are so many things you don’t even think about, for example, the fact that Brazilians greet complete strangers with a hug and a kiss, the fact that religion is quite prominent over here, and that buying things like clothes and electronics will cost you way over the odds (stock up before you come!)
If we had had the time, it would have been great to make an earlier trip to check out houses and apartments beforehand. Living in a hotel in Resende is super-stressful. I knew pretty much what I was getting into…I had forgotten how loud people and cars are, and how dusty everything gets, how poor people can be, and how some things just don’t matter as much as we think they do. I would have brought less luggage, less winter clothes, and more of the familiar things I like to cook with, like spices.
I came to Brazil with no savings, no knowledge of the language, no friends, no job and no nothing. I was completely unprepared and kind of completely irresponsible but would I do anything different? No way. I have learnt so much. I have grown as a person so much and my life is a different one to the one I left behind a year ago. I am who I am today because of the lack of decisions and planning I made before I came and for me that has been the best way to learn and live here.
Are you an expat blogger and would like to be featured here? Get in touch with us!