South Korea’s Damiano Pak is spending 12 months in Brazil learning the language and getting to know Brazilian culture. He has had the chance to travel and lists Bonito as his favourite destination. He has been struck by the friendliness of Brazilian people and the diversity of culture but is yet to be convinced of the delights of a good feijoada.

Where are you from?
Seoul, South Korea

What brought you to Brazil?
I arrived in Brazil on 2 April, 2004 and will stay for 1 year. I work for Samsung as an Engineer and the company is considering opening an office here in Brazil.

What do you do here?
I am learning to speak Portuguese and also learning about Brazilian Culture. I have taken the opportunity to travel around Brazil, visiting Rio de Janerio, Fortaleza, Minas Gerais, Brasilia and Bonito.

What do you miss about Korea?
I miss my family and friends. My first child, Philip was born just a few weeks ago and I haven’t seen him yet, although I return to South Korea next week for a holiday. I also miss Korean films, which I love and don’t see over here.

What do you most like about Brazil?
I love the diversity of culture and hospitality of the Brazilian people. Each region has a totally different culture that is fascinating and interesting for me. The Brazilian people are always kind to others.

What is your favorite restaurant in Brazil?
Restaurant Mio in the Rio de Janeiro. It is a seafood buffet, a little expensive (R$100) but very good and they have lobster!

Have you tried Brazilian food and drink such as feijoada, churrasco and caipirinha? Did you like them?
Yes I have tried them! I didn’t like feijoada much because I don’t like the food with beans and caipirinha is a little strong for me. I do love visiting churrascarias with Jardinera Grill my favourite place in São Paulo.

What difference between Korea and Brazil do you find most striking?
Things take a little longer here in Brazil, particularly when obtaining documentation. For example, when the government issued my RNE and CPF it seemed to take forever. I also need to have a little patience when I am buying something from a store. I understand that things work faster in Korea as everyone has busy lives.

What are 2 things you would recommend to do for a visitor to São Paulo?
I am still discovering the city and don’t know all the good places yet. I would recommend a visit to a churrascaria such as Fogo de Chao and Park Ibirapuera, which can be very lively on weekends.

Outside of São Paulo, I loved Bonito in Mato Grosso do Sul. It is a great place to enjoy adventure sports such as rafting, climbing and abseiling.

Are you are foreigner living in Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send an email with contact details and a brief description of yourself to gringoes@www.gringoes.com

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