CULTURAL TIPS AND INFO ABOUT BRAZIL:
- Brazilians tend to be more informal using words of courtesy like “thank you” and “I’m
sorry” less often than in English-speaking countries.
- Brazilians are more likely to interrupt others in a conversation.
- Classroom discipline in Brazil tends to be lower and informality higher than in English speaking countries.
- Brazilians have a different threshold for the politically correct than
do North Americans. Racial tension is very low. Don't get shocked if you
hear racial jokes. Brazilians, blacks and whites, are very tolerant and get
- Being very tolerant, most Brazilians will find it difficult and embarrassing to criticize people and remind them of their responsibilities. They prefer to avoid being straightforward – the foreigner must learn to read between the lines.
- Moral standards are rather free, very much like in the U.S. or even more.
- Don't get bothered or offended if you hear personal questions about your age, marital status, weight, how much money you make, whether you are pregnant, etc. What may sound as a nosy question is probably just coming from a genuine curiosity and a desire to get to know you.
- Brazilians are very hospitable but not very punctual.
- Saying goodbye in Brazil can last a lot longer than one would expect.
- Parties and night life begins at about 10pm and have no time to finish,
going far beyond midnight.
- Tolerance for alcohol drinking is higher.
- Brazilian bureaucracy is heavy and doesn't always make sense. Be patient with Brazilian bureaucrats when you have to deal with one, and remember
that a smile works better than any kind of confrontation because they can always bend the rules a bit (in favor or against
you). (Also when applying for your visa!)
- One of the most important words in the Portuguese language is "jeito". "Jeito” or its diminutive form “jeitinho” is the product of an intelligent, inventive, free, and creative attitude that Brazilians will take in the initiative of acting in opposition to rules or to bypass the inevitable. It works as an antidote to helplessness.
- Do not have friends or relatives sending you electronics by mail. They will be held and heavily taxed by the Brazilian
customs. Even contact lenses may be subject to taxes. Avoid special delivery services like UPS; use regular postal services instead.
- Dress code in offices tends to be more casual than in the US but no tolerance for feet on the desk.
- Brazilian drivers drive less carefully than you would
expect. Especially taxi drivers in big cities.
- Brazilians are more sensitive
to slamming car doors. Do not close car doors forcefully in Brazil.
- Beer, caipirinha and many kinds of food including beef are very cheap.
- Peanut butter
is not popular in Brazil but requeijão (a very delicious cream cheese) and chocolate pizza are.
- Traveling by bus is very popular:
buses are usually comfortable and cheap.
- Cars, big cities,
electronics, clothes, are all expensive in Brazil.
- Telephone rates for
long-distance and international calls are also more expensive
than in the US. (Internet at the school is free)
- The countryside is always
very interesting and very cheap, and people are normally very friendly.
and services are usually very cheap.
- Gasoline and utilities are a lot more expensive. The average cost of electricity in the US is 10 cents per kWh. In Brazil it is more than the double: 22 cents of a dollar.
- The weather is not severe in the south
of Brazil - it never snows in winter and summer is as hot as most places
in the US. Therefore, houses are not usually provided with central heating
nor central air conditioning.