Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes
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 dont 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. Dont 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 cookingwjuju.blogspot.com.
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, its 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 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 culture shock 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:
Maria Cristina Skowronski Flynn
Ana da Silva
Ubiratan S. Malta
Ana Vitoria Joly
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cláudia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Patrícia C. Ribeiro