When it comes to travelling to more imaginative holiday locations do you fall into any of these categories? Do you love having the freedom to explore other cultures? Do your sightseeing tastes tend towards the exotic? Are you a woman who has certain aspirations when it comes to a hassle-free vacation? Brazil is guaranteed to tick any of these boxes. But if you really want to get the best out of your holiday (or longer stay), how do you adapt to Brazilian culture?
Unlike the majority of its Latin American neighbors where Spanish is prevalent, the main language of Brazil is Portuguese. So a golden rule about getting immersed in everything this vibrant country has to offer is to get a basic idea of what everyone surrounding you is actually chatting about. You don’t necessarily have to become fluent, but if you spend the time to pick up a good grasp of Portuguese you’ll get so much more out of your stay.
In order to begin your journey towards becoming a Portuguese speaker there are many simple tools at your fingertips. There are apps you can download to your phone or other smart device, as well as numerous YouTube clips that will assist you. Of course, half the fun of adopting a new language and trying it out in a live situation is that this will become a real icebreaker. Brazilians love when foreigners show them the courtesy of at least attempting to learn their mother tongue – and you’ll have fun with mispronunciations or teasing out subtle variations according to dialects, or slang expressions.
It’s fair to say the pace of life in the West can be hectic, with people rushing around obsessed by work deadlines or those back-to-back appointments cramming up their online calendars. Brazilians are far more laid back in their general approach to everything. So those little things that you would find yourself fretting over at home will quickly seem insignificant when you view them through the prism of the people you interact with on your holiday location.
Brazilians operate to a different timescale than the one you’re probably used to. After all the daily activity many don’t actually sit down to enjoy their main meal until around eight in the evening. Fast food is a relatively alien concept, with courses being relished over lengthy periods as diners enjoy good conversation and fine drinks.
Always bear in mind that the reason you have chosen to visit Brazil is primarily for enjoyment. This is the home of spectacular carnivals and dizzyingly diverse nightlife bustling with attractive people who might be looking for a naughty date. In short, Brazil is what the chill pill was invented for.
Like all the South American countries, Brazil has a rich culture, its multiple ethnicities reflecting the host of peoples who have arrived here over the centuries and chosen to make it home. Although Portuguese is the official language, less than half the population is of Western European origin. The bulk of Brazilians are either mixed race or black, with a smaller percentage directly descended from the native Amerindian tribes once dominant in this sub-continent.
But when it comes to adopting Brazilian culture the important thing to keep in mind is that each cultural group exists as part of a whole. Hundreds of years of assimilation have produced a wonderfully diverse environment where every heritage is celebrated. If you happen to find yourself in Rio around carnival time you’ll find yourself amazed by the spectacular collision of so many interesting and welcoming people from every background.