How to Adapt to Brazilian Culture
Brazil is more than carnival, women, soccer and nature. Go through this
text and you will discover and be surprised at how rich and friendly the
Brazilian culture is.
Here are the best tips to help you adapt to this South-American culture.
1Don?t treat brazilian women as prostitutes, you may be arrested for
sexual harassment. The majority of brazilians are catholic, so they tend
to be conservative over their sexual and moral values, although they may
use few clothes because of the hot weather and also because many
brazilians live close to the beach.<
1Racism is a crime in Brazil, so it?s recommended to respect the
brazilian african and indigenous heritage. Don?t associate brazilians to
bananas and monkeys, because it?s considered deeply offensive.
1Pedophilia is a crime in Brazil, and the sexual tourism is repressed
with prison. Foreigners from USA and Europe are known for sexual tourism,
and single men can be seen as potential criminals.
1In Brazil, it?s forbidden to take animals, plants and precious stones
without permission of the Government, and without paying taxes.
1Drug traffic is a crime in Brazil and can be severely punished.
1Brazilians don't like when foreigners talk in spanish with them, because
they don?t understand this language. Moreover, they may feel offended to
see their culture associated with mexican and cuban values, such as
sobreros, salsa, guerrillas and revolutionary socialism.
1Brazilians don?t like when foreigners associate Rio de Janeiro with the
capital of Brazil. Rio isn?t the capital of Brazil since the 60?s.
1Brazilians don?t like when foreigners associate their country with
favelas (slums). Brazil is one of the largest economies and it has more
than 5 thousand cities, so thinking that Brazil is a favela is a
demonstration of bias and ignorance. In fact, 6% of the brazilian
population lives inside the favelas. On the other hand, it also means
that 94% of the brazilian population live in normal houses.
1Brazilians do appreciate when foreigners know the language, capital, and
size of the brazilian economy and territory. They?ll also like when it?s
demonstrated some knowledge about soccer, MMA and Capoeira, their
favorite sports. They will also appreciate if you know something about
the brazilian states, such as S?o Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais,
Bahia, Cear¨¢, Rio Grande do Sul, Paran¨¢ etc.
1Know that in Brazil, people don't usually make a line on one side and a
corridor on the other side of the escalators. They just stop wherever
they are, and if you try to pass among every one, people may think you're
2Be careful about keeping your appointments. In Brazil, especially in S?o
Paulo, you must always worry about traffic. If it is raining or if an
accident happens, it can be a big problem. So, just as a precaution,
leave your place one hour before you were thinking and, maybe, you will
be on time for your appointment.
3Forget all the naked women with painted bodies that you see on carnival,
that's not Brazil's everyday reality; in fact even being topless is
forbidden on normal beaches and one can even go to jail for doing it. A
lot of Brazilian women wear very tiny bikinis though. On a hot summer day
men generally wear t-shirts and shorts, and women wear very short skirts
and tank tops. Nudity is totally forbidden, except in a few nudity
beaches. Men walking in the street without a shirt is not appropriate.
4Behaviour rules also include not urinating in open air and not drinking
alcohol on the street (you can go to jail for driving with alcohol in
your blood, even in small quantities). All kinds of drugs are also
forbidden, even the lighter ones; and one can go to jail for drug use or
possession. By the way, prisons here are not very nice.
5"Yes" does not always mean "yes". Brazilians are very informal in social
life and also in business. But when the time to get to an agreement
comes, be aware that "yes" does not always mean "yes". Brazilians don't
like to openly say "no", so a "yes" usually turns into a "maybe"... Also,
if somebody says "I'll call you", don't wait for them to call and so
6Know about their idiosyncrasy: "finding a way to everything" means that
a specific date for payment perhaps can be one day before or two days
later. Referring to scheduled time it means a delay of 10 or 15 minutes
for a meeting, but it doesn't mean we do not take things seriously.<
If someone offers you a "Caipirinha" (the Brazilian national drink) say
YES! However, be careful and make sure you have food in your stomach,
because, despite being sweet, they're really strong. So, take it slow and
Do not always buy snacks at the beach because there's a possibility of
food poisoning. On the other hand, drinking in public on the beaches is
perfectly normal and allowed.
Clutch to your bags and personal belongings when walking on crowded
If you desire to go to a soccer match, ask a Brazilian to take you. The
rivalry between the fans can make it dangerous if you're on your own.
See the country, but choose to go by plane. The bad conditions of the
roads make it dangerous to travel by car or by bus. Also, paying the
tolls on the main highways will make your trip very expensive.
You must try the food! "Feijoada"(black beans and pork stew) and
"Churrasco" (all you can eat barbecue) are sure bets. In the state of
Minas Gerais, try dozens of kinds of cheese with doce-de-leite (custard-
like paste) and homemade jams.
Brazilians are really kind and friendly so, be warned: you might fall in
love with the country and never want to go back home!
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