Meet Sylvie Campbell, from the UK, who has travelled around Brazil with an interest to working there. 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 Sylvie Campbell. I work in agriculture in the North East of Scotland, near Aberdeen. My interests are in livestock breeding, cattle, sheep and pigs. And I also help run a sizeable strawberry farm, supplying supermarkets.

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

I first visited Brazil in October 2003 and was shown round farms in the Campinas area. Over four days we covered nearly 2500kms but saw a lot of good farms. The highlight was probably Holambra. Agriculture was the pull. In the same year I visited Chile and Argentina to compare them all. I revisited in 2005 and 2006 and am now looking at the longer term out in Brazil.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

First impressions were of the friendliness of the people despite nil Portuguese. Closely followed by the agricultural potential. I saw farms that made me change the way I thought about my own farm in Scotland and the potential of different varieties of strawberry.

4. What do you miss most about home?

Believe it or not the scenery. I live in a very scenic part of Scotland with beautiful views. The whisky! Single malts please, no ice! And I do miss nice snowy, frosty days. Just a little!

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

I am now staying in Floripa, and I would have to say mobile telephones (celulars) are a big grgrgrgr. Inability to keep in contact when you are in a new country is frustrating for those you need to keep in contact with, personal and business. The rest you get used to. Although the Brazilian love affair with little bits of paper is bewildering !

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

Difficult! But from my profession I would have to go back to the diversity of farming and different crops grown. Very boring answer, but true!

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

The friendliness of the people, their willingness to help. And in the most part the laid back and more informal eating customs and food.

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

Best one so far was definitely… well the name escapes me, but it was opposite the Golden Tulip in Paulista, Baby Angus beef. The best I have tasted in South America, once we could understand each other about how I wanted it cooked, not murdered. Rare or blue even! Florianopolis, on the island, has many reasonably cheap and good eating places. Couldn’t tell you the names, but I know how to get to them now.

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

Would be embarrassed to say here, but most of the funny ones involve hotels, and not realising the different customs in a different culture.

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

Very obviously the weather. I like Scotland’s weather but I could grow to prefer the south of Brazil. SC and Rio Sul. And the food, very different, but good. Just miss good malts. I buy them in airports when I pass through.

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?

For various reasons slowly, maybe dead slow would be more accurate, but am starting classes at the end of February, so still a long way to go. The different pronunciation of the letter R whether from Rio or not. And answering in Spanish by mistake!

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

Have a completely open mind. Everything is so different from the UK. Remember your Brazilian Green Cross Code. They don’t have one! Keep your eyes open when crossing at junctions especially in São Paulo! Once you get past these small hurdles you will have a great time. You are in Brazil not your own country. Be Brazilian. Maybe not totally, but it does help.

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

Not everybody’s cup of tea, but I find the Mercado Publicos fascinating. The one in São Bento I found fascinating, and once you know where you are going the Metro is far easier than taxis, and cheaper. Elsewhere, the Falls are worth seeing. Its personal but I really enjoyed Porto Alegre and Rio Sul. Santa Catarina and Florianopolis where I am now are the star attraction for the young set very obviously. There are many places I would love to see but time and distance are the main constraints. Try and go local” wherever you are. A Hilton is a Hilton, wherever in the world it is.

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:

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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