April 7, 2009
This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Brescia Terra. Read on as Brescia 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 was born in Dourados, in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. When I was three, my family moved to Uberlandia, in Minas Gerais State where I lived until I was 23. After that, I moved to the United States, and lived in Lakeville, MN, and after that, Lincoln, NE. Currently, I am back in Brazil, living in Santa Cruz do Sul, in Rio Grande do Sul State. I work for Pioneer, a seed company, and I am a marketing manager here.
2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?
I believe that the main obstacle is the language. Portuguese is not an easy language to learn, and not very common. Other than that, I believe that especially Americans, might feel that Brazil is a bit disorganized. This is a cultural thing, and things here do not happen at the same speed that they do in the States.
3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?
While in Brazil, I am not sure if there are many mistakes that foreigners make. I think that sometimes they are mistaken on how they imagine Brazil. It is common to hear only about the Rainforest, Indians, Poverty, and the things that everyone sees on TV. Brazil is a big country, and there is much more to see.
4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?
Talking about Americans, they do not touch as much as Brazilians do. Brazilians hug, and kiss a lot, even if you are not family. Also, Americans have more protocol, how things have to happen even if it is just a dinner. Respecting time, is also a difference. Brazilians love to be fashionably” late for everything. Dinner time is different too. In Brazil, dinner time does not start before 08:30 PM.
5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?
I like the English accent. I am more used to the American accent, but with the English accent it is easier to define the whole word, while the American accent sometimes puts them all together. This is a problem when you are first learning the language.
6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?
I ‘ve been to Edinburgh once, and I just loved it. For me, it was like I was back in time, in a fairy tale time.
7. Favourite foreign food?
Indian food. But I learned to eat that in the USA!
8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?
I like The Doors. I have many favorite books, among them, The Other Boleyn Girl, books from Mario Vargas Llosa, all the Sherlock Holmes / Conan Doyle books, the list never ends. My favorite movie is Moulin Rouge, but the list is very large too.
9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?
Brazilians have more time to you, are more affective, and make you feel more special. Foreigners, sometimes, respect too much their individuality, and for a Brazilian girl, this can be seen as if he is leaving you out of his life.
10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?
The main mistakes are all related to the language. When I first moved to the states, I was participating on trainee program at the University of Minnesota, and I worked at a greenhouse. My manager told me to water the plants “every other day”. I had no idea of what that meant. So I watered the plants. Just once. And the plants died, since she never told me to water them again!
11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?
See the Christ statue in Rio. It is an amazing feeling, to be up there, with the Christ above you, with His open hands. Below, you can see the see and the mountains. It is really amazing.
Brazil has many different cultures. In the south, you can see the gauchos, eat barbecue, feels more like Argentina. If you go to São Paulo, you are in a very large city, with many buildings, very cosmopolitan. I think that Bahia keeps the Brazilian soul. If you go to Pelourinho, you can see Brazil as it was when the Portuguese just arrived, and the beaches, are just amazing. People there are always happy, singing and dancing. Time has no meaning. Just enjoy the life.
Thanks for let me sharing a bit of Brazil.
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:
Ana Vitoria Joly
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