This week in our continuing Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series we have an interview with Samara Klug Szachnowicz. Samara works in psychology, and has experience of foreigners from travel in the USA and Italy. Read on as Samara 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’m from São Paulo (City). I work as a clinical psychologist.
I’ve traveled around the world and have friends all around. I am great with languages (and have foreign patients). Have lived for one year in the US as an exchange student and also when I was 20 I spent 2 months backpacking in Italy all by myself. Like to take cruises but also plane, car, train – however the trip is, I love to travel and see new things, people and places. It’s my very favorite thing to do. I don’t like the way Brazilian women show themselves too sexualized” to the rest of the world.
2. What are the main obstacles for foreigners in Brazil?
Probably the language because Portuguese has one of the biggest dictionaries and too many verb forms and irregularities.
3. What are common mistakes that foreigners make in Brazil?
To try and understand the country and its people too fast and end up getting it wrong.
4. What characteristic of other nationalities strikes you as the most different (eg. sense of humour, formality, dress)?
Commitment (to everything, such as time, promise, work, etc.)
5. Which English accent do you prefer and why (eg. Scottish, American, Australian)?
The American one’s easier for me because it’s the one I was always taught at. But I also have a special taste for the British accent, it sounds very charming and polite.
6. Favourite place travelled abroad and why?
This is a hard question… Every place I’ve ever been to was wonderful in its own different way. Maybe Italy could be a favorite for joining beautiful language and people, wonderful countryside as well as beaches, interesting and happy culture and history, great food and lots of diversity from one small town to the other.
7. Favourite foreign food?
Italian, Chinese, American (junk food), German.
8. Favourite foreign band, book and movie?
Beatles, “ALIVE: The story of the Andes survivors”, “Upclose and Personal”.
9. What is the difference between dating a Brazilian and Foreigner (if this applies to you or perhaps a friend)?
Brazilians are more easygoing, whereas foreigners for some reason seem to attach very fast to Brazilian (women at least) and fall in love immediately, wanting to get married, move to Brazil, learn Portuguese, everything they can do to be together, believing we are “the one”.
10. Can you share an incident, misunderstanding or ‘culture shock’ that you have experienced with a foreigner?
Definitely myself, kissing and hugging everyone when I arrived as an exchange student, 15 years old, in the US. Whoever I met or was introduced to, for a while, I couldn’t remember not to kiss and the next day kiss and hug. The first friend I made there couldn’t move when I hugged her the next morning we went out!!
11. What are 2 things you would recommend for a visitor to do in Brazil to better understand Brazilian people and their culture?
An important thing is learning the language, the second one is having Brazilian people to go out with and ask what everything here’s like (regularly, as things occur, and not only once).
If you want to contact Samara her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com
To read previous interviews in the Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes series click below:
Elvis Renato Barbosa Lima
Maria Cecilia Schmidt Maluf
Marta Dalla Chiesa
Cludia Ramis De Almeida
Vivian Manasse Teixeira Leite
Patrcia C. Ribeiro