Meet Paul James, from Canada, who moved to Brazil two years ago. Read the following interview where he tells us about some of his 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.?

My name is Paul James, I’m from Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. I started out as an English teacher like almost every other gringo. I then moved on to golf instruction, and then to work for a big (blue) US IT company.

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

I first arrived here in late September of 2004 for a vacation after getting sick of working on a production line in a country with a less than ideal climate. I am half Brazilian and half English and was born in Canada, so I have travelled to Brazil on several other occasions when I was younger. I originally came down here to get know my family and learn a little Portuguese. So far my vacation” has lasted almost 3 years.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

I have been visiting Brazil since my early childhood I have always remembered how warm and full of life the people are here. I always loved the people, food, the scenery and the climate.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Most of all I miss my family and friends. I also miss the hockey, Canadian summer, Labatt’s Blue, hockey, Tim Horton’s coffee, root beer, cheap golf courses, cars with V8 engines (even a V6 would be nice), hockey and people getting my jokes.

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

Most of the things other gringoes have written for this segment I haven’t had a problem with, such as visas, customs (I’m a citizen) and traffic (Sou motoqueiro :P ). I’d say the most frustrating experience is going to work on Friday morning with a hang over from Thursday Night’s Happy Hour.

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

There are so many, I could go on and on… One memorable trip was going to Ilha Bela by motorcycle on a whim and driving up and over the mountain to get to the Praia dos Castelhanos.

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

Brasileiras, Brahma, the climate, churrasco, futebol, the list could go on and on.

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

Bar Preste Atencao in Campinas, the buteco below my apartment.

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

I have a very long winded and interesting story filled with adventure and danger about going to a Palmeiras X Corinthians game with a torcide (dis)organizada that I’d be glad to share over a few beers.

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

The climate and people.

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?

My Portuguese has come along quite well, like every other English speaker I still mix up um/uma seu/sua.

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

Learn Portuguese. Don’t compare Brazil to your country and embrace it as it is.

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

Go to the beach, a buteco, a churrascaria and a soccer/football game.

You can contact Paul at

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:

David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
Richard Dougherty – USA
James Weeds – USA
Tom Sluberski – USA
Peter Kefalas – USA
Sylvie Campbell – UK
Kathleen Haynes – USA
Matt Bowlby – USA
Alan Longbottom – UK
Eric Karukin – USA
Eddie Soto – USA
Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
Emile Myburgh – South Africa
Bob Chapman – USA
David Barnes – USA
John Milan – USA
Chris Coates – UK
Matthew Ward – UK
Allison Glick – USA
Drake Smith – USA
Jim Jones – USA
Philip Wigan – UK
Atlanta Foresyth – USA
Lee Gordon – USA
Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
Lee Safian – USA
Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
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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