This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Anderson Ferreira. Anderson lives in the north-east, and works for a US company helping foreigners do social work here in Brazil. Read on as Anderson tells us about his impressions of foreigners, and gives some helpful advice also.
1. Where are you from in Brazil and what do you do?
I am from Salvador. I am an interpreter. I work for a US company that brings people here from the US Baptist church to do social work here in Bahia. Not only am I a translator but I also teach English.
2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?
To communicate, I can see that some really would like to speak the language but they can’t.
3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?
Compare, this is something the majority of foreigners do when they come down here, mainly from rich countries. They don’t come here to try to embrace our culture and try to interact with it but start comparing everything and takes conclusion of the country that is never right.
4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?
5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?
I do love the Canadian accent. For me it is so easy to understand. I have a lot of problem with different accents. I can say from my translating last week, as I was translating for some Americans from down south, from Virginia. I couldn’t even guess what they were saying, but they did say they were proud of being red necks!
6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?
I have not been abroad yet, but if I could one day then I would go to Canada. Because it gets my attention how they accept foreigners to their country. It’s a beautiful place, cool people and Canadians are a little bit like Brazilians, funny and friendly.
7. Favourite foreign food?
No shadow of a doubt, Italian.
8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?
U2, those guys rock.
He chose the nails by Max Lucado.
Man on fire.
9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?
Hmmm, that fits me! I have dated some foreigners and for me it was great but at the beginning I was a little shocked. My first foreign girlfriend was from Canada. We had a great relationship. She left Brazil but as all Brazilians have the feeling of saudades” in their heart, when you miss someone deeply, I missed her tons but she didn’t show that. I didn’t know that foreigner aren’t as emotional as we are. And then, I had others and it was the same but as I had learned I didn’t feel a lot anymore.
To date Brazilians, it’s cool but it’s very rare to find a nice and faithful lady to trust.
10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?
I have always studied British English here in Brazil, mainly because I have an uncle who has lived in London for many years. So I knew so many words and the way the English would use them. I was talking to this girl from Canada one day and she asks me what my dad did in his spare time. I said: my dad breeds “cocks” (I didn’t realise the alternative version of this word!) so she started laughing, completely splitting her sides. I was so embarrassed and asked why. Once she explained, she said that “cock” isn’t used in Canada other than for its alternate meaning, and I should have said “rooster”.
11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?
When you show up, first forget your culture and open your mind for a new one. I don’t mean for you to forget your ways of living in your country but don’t be comparing your way to ours. Just be yourself and come with an open heart to make great friends. Don’t worry, and enjoy what you see and do.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
To read previous interviews in the Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series click below:
Samara Klug Szachnowicz
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Patrcia C. Ribeiro