November 20, 2012

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Juliana Barroso. Read on as Juliana tells us about her impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.

1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?

I am from Belo Horizonte, MG. I have been an ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor since 1997. I currently teach ESL in Atlanta, USA, where I have been living for the past 4 years.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

The language and being taken advantage of. Most foreigners do not speak Portuguese and communication can be hard. Brazilians are warm and friendly and we will do our best to help you, but sometimes it can be frustrating. Also, make sure you do some research about the prices of services, such as taxi, percentage when tipping (only 10%), etc, so you don&#145t get ripped off.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

Wrong assumptions. Foreigners many times assume that all Brazilian women are easy and slutty, for example. Also, remember Brazil is a huge country and there are several cultural differences from one state to another. Don&#145t generalize.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

Honesty. Foreigners tend to be so straightforward and sometimes blunt, according to us. Brazilians sugarcoat everything they say, so being too honest can come across as rude.

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

American, just because I am used to it.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

Italy. I just loved the people, the food, the language school I attended, the host family I lived with and the sites.

7. Favourite foreign food?

I love food, so I eat pretty much anything (except exotic meat like snake, frog, rabbit, etc). I mainly enjoy Japanese, Chinese and Mexican. I have a food blog called cooking with Juju”, where I post healthy recipes. You can contact me at

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

I love American blockbusters, and hate most French movies. Sorry. No preference when it comes to music or author.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

The phases or stages of dating are so different. In Brazil, it’s OK to meet a girl, kiss her on the spot, and then, if you want, you get her number and ask her out. In the USA, I have never seen that happen. The guy flirts with you, then asks for your number, then asks you out and after the 2nd or 3rd date, maybe he will kiss you. The process is a lot longer in the USA. But then, some couples move in together after a month! It seems like they speed things up all of a sudden. In Brazil, most people do not leave their parents&#145 home till they get married, so the concept of having a roommate, having your boyfriend over or living together is a bit foreign to us. Also, in Portuguese, we use the verb “namorar” (to date, but only when a man and a woman are a couple, not when you are “dating”, as in going out).

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or &#145culture shock&#145 that you have experienced with a foreigner?

I used to say the F word very often. We watch tons of American TV and movies in Brazil, so we are exposed to that type of language and think it is normal. However, I quickly learned how bad it is to use the F word before everything. To me, saying something like “this is “effing” good” was positive, cool and transmitted my excitement. Big mistake… LOL.

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

Read this website from top to bottom beforehand… Be openminded and respectful once you are in Brazil. Make friends. Avoid the super touristic places. Go where locals go. Do what locals do. Ask “why” every time you do not understand something. Always ask more than one person. Never draw conclusions about the culture when you see it only once! Do not generalize.

If you are Brazilian, or know a Brazilian, who has traveled abroad or has considerable experience with different nationalities here in Brazil, we would like to hear from you. Please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Maria Cristina Skowronski Flynn
Antonia Sales
Augusto Gomes
Tatiane Silva
Regina Scharf
Rebecca Carvalho
Augusto Uehara
Ana da Silva
Daniel Bertorelli
Marco Cassol
Ana Clark
Vanessa Agricola
Ubiratan S. Malta
Brescia Terra
Renata Andraus
Ana Vitoria Joly
Helio Araujo
Adriano Abila
Anderson Ferreira
Sandra Partridge
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Flavius Ferrari
Daniela Ribeiro
Adriano Gomes
Elizabeth Sacknus
Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

By Joao Luiz Gameleira
November 20, 2012

Brazilian naturalization is the process by which foreigners may obtain Brazilian citizenship, provided they meet certain constitutional and legal requirements. It differs from the original form of acquisition of nationality, which stems from a natural fact; birth in Brazilian territory (jus soli) or by descent from a Brazilian (jus sanguinis).

The naturalization takes its course in the Ministry of Justice and ends with the delivery of the certificate of naturalization by the judge, in the first Federal Court of the locality of the foreigner’s residence. The foreigner can only be considered Brazilian after this final step that marks the moment of actual acquisition of Brazilian nationality.

Foreigners originating from Portuguese-speaking countries require only one year of uninterrupted residence and moral probity. Foreigners originating from other countries require the following conditions:

1. civil capacity according to Brazilian law.
2. have a permanent visa in Brazil;
3. continuous residence for a period of four years;
4. read and write in Portuguese.
5. good conduct and good health;
6. exercise of profession or possession of goods sufficient to maintain itself and the family;
7. good behavior;
8. no conviction in Brazil or abroad for a felony offense that is set minimum sentence of imprisonment, abstractly considered more than a year.

The required four-year period of residence may be shortened to, if the applicant:

1. One year: has a Brazilian child or is married to a Brazilian.
2. One year: has a Brazilian parent;
3. One year: has rendered or is in a position to render relevant services to Brazil, at the discretion of the Minister of Justice.
4. Two years: is eligible because of professional, scientific or artistic ability.
5. Three years: owns property of expressive value in Brazil; is an industrialist, owning expressive resources; or owns expressive paid-in shares in any corporation specially and permanently active in industry or agriculture.

Another possibility to acquire brazilian citizenship is through extraordinary naturalization, where the following conditions are required:

1. fixed residence in the country for more than 15 years;
2. absence of criminal conviction;
3. application of the person concerned.

Finally, the Constitution stipulates that, by virtue of the principle of equality, the law will not establish any distinction between brazilian native-born and naturalized, however, foresees some exceptions for differential treatment for certain positions, functions, extradition and the right to property for foreigners naturalized (less than 10 years) on journalistic and broadcasting company of sounds and images.

Native Brazilians – Exclusive positions: President and Vice-President of the Republic, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Senate Chairman, Minister of the Supreme Court, the diplomatic Career, officer in the armed forces and Minister of State for Defense.

DISCLOSURE: All information herein given is merely for elucidative purposes. It reflects current legislation, which can be modified in the future. In case of questions regarding a particular case/issue, always consult with your own attorney.

Joo Luiz Gameleira is Lawyer, Post-Graduated in International Law – PUC – São Paulo. Director at Horizon Brazil Consultoria e Assessoria em Imigrao Ltda. He can be reached by email at

By Sandra Korstjens
November 20, 2012

‘Boa tarde, we are here to see Flvia.’ The man nods understandingly. ‘Ah, of course. Flvia is not here yet, but I think Igor can help you as well.’

Flvia and Igor of the Federal Police, Elisabeth and Andr from the tax office, Jonathan and Camila from the phone shop and Marcos from the bank. Marc and I made quite some ‘friends’ in our short time in Uberlndia.

After two days I was already fully trained. When I arrive at a desk now, I first try to look if the person at the other side is wearing a name tag. Then of course it’s: ‘Oi Jonathan!’. Is there no name tag? Then you just introduce yourself and you ask the other person’s name. ‘Eu sou a Sandra. E voc?’

Barack and David
You have to remember that only the first name is important. It seems like the last name is completely inferior in Brazil. To give some examples: our host, a professor at the local university, is addressed by many students as Roberto, Marc receives e-mails of UPS addressed to ‘Senhor Marc’, and an exceptional amount of both public and private bodies are interested in our mother’s names. But of course only their three first names.

Brazilians even call their president by her first name, Dilma. And her predecessor, Lula, is addressed with his nickname (Lula means squid). His last name doesn’t matter. It’s as if CNN would always talk about Barack, and the BBC about David.

Partner in Crime
I think the use of these first names is quite practical, because everyone here has a very long surname. Every Brazilian receives at birth both the name of his father and his mother.

And there is another, more important reason for the extensive use of first names. Because the use of someone’s first name sounds very intimate. And as I quickly learned here, this can be very important. The bureaucratic rules are already complicated enough, and that’s why it may be clever to see the person at the other side of the desk as a ‘partner in crime’ to get things done.

The Quick Fix
It’s actually a part of what the Brazilians call ‘jeito’ or ‘jeitinho’. It’s a famous Brazilian expression that is hard to translate. It means something like ‘the easy solution for bureaucratic rules’ or ‘the quick fix’. This ‘jeito’ ranges from innocent matters, like some new ‘friend’ printing a form you forgot to fill out (isn’t that what friends are for?), to practices that could be considered corruption. Everyone has its own way to tackle Brazilian bureaucracy.

For now I just stick to the innocent version. So I make friends, enjoy the small talk, and I remember everyone’s first name. In that way, the easy solution is often suddenly within reach. And it’s actually kind of fun. Like yesterday when Marc and I were walking down the street. All of sudden we heard the honking of a car. It was Marcos from the bank who waved at us enthusiastically.

Quite nice, all those new friends!

Sandra Korstjens is a Dutch freelance journalist who works and lives in Brazil since 2012. In the Netherlands she studied Public Administration with a minor in Journalism. After finishing her BSc, she completed a MA in Holocaust & Genocide Studies, while focusing on the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. She worked a couple of years for Dutch television, until she got the opportunity to move to Brazil with her husband, who is a journalist as well. They are traveling around the country first, before they will settle in São Paulo. You can read more about Sandra on her website: She gladly receives any comments at

Where: Happy Hour @ map)

If you do not see a bunch of Gringos all together – ask a waiter where we are!

Come in and join us for drinks and homemade American food.

1/2 price Caipirinhas and 1/2 price beers from 8-10pm.

Come meet other English speakers, expats, and expand your network.

November 16th is a Friday night. Come Unwind and Relax from a long week!

Bring a friend!

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São Paulo’s only micro-brewery produces 5000 liters of beer per month and serves its five home-brewed varieties in three environments: the brewery on the first floor, the bar on the second, and the restaurant on the third. On Tuesday, November 27, the cervejaria will hold a special Gringo Night” that welcomes beer-lovers from around the world! Live music with Rodrigo Haddad and The Pure Country Band. Cover charge in the bar area: R$12. Thanksgiving-themed munchies to be served!

When: Tuesday, November 27, at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Av. Pedroso de Morais, 604 – Pinheiros
São Paulo, SP


See the brewery: Website