Learning how to Live in Brazil


Bahia 40010-020


12° 58′ 13.3752″ S38° 30′ 44.5752″ W

See map: Google Maps
Have you ever traveled to a new place that is very different from your home? It can be very fun and exciting, but often there are many new things to learn and get used to. My life in Brazil is very different from my home in Chicago. Read more and learn about the different ways of life in the two countries!



I have had to learn many lessons and ask many questions to live in this new city and adapt to Brazilian life. Adapting to a new place and culture means making small changes to the way you normally live, in order to live more like the local population. When you adapt, you get the best experience and get to see more of the city you are in. Even though there are some things that I have to change about my life, I also get to try new things and find new favorite foods and places. Here are some of the things that I have noticed that are very different about everyday life in Brazil and how I am getting used to them.


1. I am learning to speak a new language. One of the most difficult parts of my new life in Brazil is that I must speak a completely different language: Portuguese! Language is very important for doing everyday things, like asking for directions if you are lost, or ordering food when you are hungry. My Portuguese is not perfect, so I have been counting on my other senses, using my hands to point and making noises to describe words. I talk to as many people as I can because talking to people is the best way to learn and practice.

2. I have to speak to pets in Portugese, too! In order to learn Portuguese, I ask a lot of questions about how to say words, and every day I get better. Do you know any words in any other languages? It is always helpful to learn a few to speak with new people! I have been practicing my Portuguese by playing with the dogs that my host family has. I never thought about commands for dogs being very different in different languages! Who knew that spending time with pets could be a great way to learn a language?

3. I have to learn to live in the heat. The temperature in Brazil is much hotter than the temperature at hom

e in Chicago. It is very warm outside and inside too because not every building has air conditioning. I feel like I am melting! Do you like warm weather or cold weather? I like cold weather better but I’m getting used to being hot all of the time, changing how I

dress and learning to drink a lot of water. With the weather so nice, I get to go to the beach after class so I can’t complain!

4. I am learning to take my time. I have learned that here, in Brazil, people are not always on time. In the United States, it is often important to be on time because people are very busy and have a lot to do. Here in Brazil, people are also busy, but they like to take their time and stop to talk to friends on the street and to look at stores. If you are meeting someone at 1:00 PM, they may not arrive until 1:30 PM or 2:00 PM. I am used to hurrying everywhere in the United States, so this is very different, but I am starting to learn how to relax and take my time. Otherwise, I’ll be early to everything!

5. I need to learn how to dance. Everyone in Salvador loves music and dancing. During the day, there is always music playing somewhere, in people’s houses, in cars on the street and in stores. People of all ages like to dance and have fun with their friends. There are many traditional dances like the samba, and many popular dances from today as well. I don’t know how to dance yet, but I am very excited and willing to learn and hope to teach you what I learn!
7. I need to practice crossing the street! It has been very important to learn how to safely walk on the street and sidewalks in Salvador. The streets are very crowded, so there is less room for the cars. When you are walking, you have to pay a lot of attention to make sure you are not in the way of cars. Crossing the street is difficult because they do not have crosswalks on every street. I am learning from the local people by crossing the street at the same time they do.6. I have found new favorite foods. What is your favorite food? Mine is peanut butter, and they don’t really eat it here in Brazil. At first, this made me sad but now I feel lucky because there are many foods that I am trying for the first time here that are even better. In Salvador, food sold on the street is very popular. There are many small sandwiches and pastries filled with meat and cheese. There are also traditional dishes like Acarajé, which is deep fried dough filled with vegetables and shrimp. This is my new favorite and I could eat one every day. They also have juices from exotic fruits I have never heard of before! Do you like to try new foods? I would recommend it. Here in Brazil, I haven’t tried anything yet that I haven’t liked!


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