May 26, 2009

This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Ana Clark. Read on as Ana 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 São Paulo and I am a physiotherapist.

2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?

First of all the language is very difficult, Portuguese is not easy at all. Also the bureaucracy, which some view as just wrong.

3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?

Trusting in the wrong people, not listening to useful advice regarding safety and so on.

4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?

For sure the British sense of humour is not the easiest one and being married to one I struggle a lot!

5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?

I really like the Aussie and Kiwi accent but I must say the British is beautiful as well.

6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?

My favourite place so far is New Zealand, Cape Reinga the northeast point of NZ where the Indian ocean meets the Pacific ocean is just stunning – the most exciting mixture of colours and the vibe of that place is just something else.

7. Favourite foreign food?

Favourite food is Indian (Chicken or Prawn Korma, yummy!). Unfortunately we do not have really good Indian restaurants here in Brazil, but in London I used to live just five minutes from Brick Lane – what more could I ask for!!!

8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?

I don’t have many favourite bands, but I really like Dave Mathews Band, Hoodoo Gurus and all the old Australian hardcore. Book: I think everyone should have a bit of Paulo Coelho in their collection, he is a very wise wizard!!! Movie: Pay it Forward and Life is Beautiful are a smack in everyone’s face.

9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?

For me it is maybe easier to answer this one since I married a foreigner. I believe the foreigners want to take things a little bit more seriously than Brazilians. Everything else I believe is exactly the same and just changes from person to person. I had good and nasty Brazilian and foreign boyfriends.

10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?

There are so many but I believe to deal with Aussie farmers while I was living there is definitely an experience: one day we were plum picking and the boss decided to take a few of us for an night out in a local pub. Everything was a mess and at the end he was showing us how to shoot a kangaroo in the head so then the meat doesn’t get chewy. In Thailand I had a toothless guy smiling at my camera, on the train to Sura Thany. It happened every time I was trying to take picture of some rice farm or a temple, it was just hilarious!!!

11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?

Stop judging, I learned this living 8 years abroad and believe everyone can do. We are all different and all special as well if we stop looking at the faulty and concentrate in the good bits of each person and each country things are going to get better a lot sooner.

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 gringoes@www.gringoes.com

To read previous interviews in the Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series click below:

Vanessa Agricola
Ubiratan S. Malta
Brescia Terra
Renata Andraus
Ana Vitoria Joly
Helio Araujo
Adriano Abila
Anderson Ferreira
Sandra Partridge
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Flavius Ferrari
Daniela Ribeiro
Adriano Gomes
Alexandre
Elizabeth Sacknus
Geberson Coelho
Rosaly Loula
Andreas Saller
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Bruno Santos
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Fernando Saffi
Gabriela Kluppel
Patrcia C. Ribeiro
Fabiano Deffenti

Can’t make this up