Meet Dana De Lise, from the USA, who has travelled to Brazil several times with her Brazilian boyfriend, who also lives in the USA. Read the following interview where she tells us about her most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

I am a 30 year old woman from NJ, which is in the northeast of the USA. I am an 8th grade teacher of English and love to travel.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I have traveled to Brazil on four separate occasions all due to my relationship with my boyfriend who is from Brazil but lives in NJ, USA.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

My first impressions were of the people. I couldn’t believe how generous and kind they were. I also noticed the landscape, and how the line between the rich and poor was clearly drawn as well. I noticed the aromatic foods and how everyone had a housekeeper! I noticed how people visited people throughout the day and people didn’t have to call first!

4. What do you miss most about home?

When I am in Brazil I miss my family and my dog. I also miss having conveniences such as stores that have anything you need at any time. I miss American television.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

I did not like the banks where you had to pay your bills. The lines were long and slow! I also did not like the roads as the drivers on the road were crazy and didn’t seem to obey any rules. There are also a lot of roads in very bad shape. Also, some of the stores I went to were not ‘shopper friendly’.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

Hiking to see the Christ on Corcovado Mtn. It took approx 3 hours in the dead heat of the day but it was well worth it. I have memories that I will cherish forever!

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

Hands down, the people. They welcome you with open arms. For example I mentioned that I liked coconut and the next day there were at least four different items made for me containing coconut! I couldn’t believe how much they cared!

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

I enjoyed local bars with churrasco and an Italian restaurant in Belo Horizonte downtown.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

My boyfriend and I decided to drive from his home in Belo Horizonte to Morro de São Paulo! It was a trip that was more than a 24 hour drive and we did it under some extremely harsh conditions. It rained for half of the time we drove, and I saw mudslides and lightning. I was so scared! The roads were in bad condition so it was a very bumpy drive. There were times when we didn’t think we would make it. But when we did, it was all worth it. It was the most beautiful place I have ever seen and the people were spectacular.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

The young children who come up to your car at a stoplight to sell you items and ask for money. I had never seen this back in NJ.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

I rely very much on my boyfriend. I am loving the language but do not have a grasp as of yet… I can listen and make out some of a conversation but that’s about it for now.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

Find someone who can show you around and help you out at first. Be open to the people and their way of life. It will be different from what you’re used to but it is wonderful.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

Visit Buzios, Rio, Morro de São Paulo… they are all beautiful and romantic and wonderful. Go to the beaches, visit the churches, eat the local food, listen to the local music, try talking with the locals, watch the novellas at night… enjoy every minute you are in Brazil!

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to with Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

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

Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

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