During my stay of five months in Brazil, many things surprised me.
- At school
The first thing that surprised me was the relationship with the teachers which is very different from France. Indeed, we call them by their name while in France we call our teachers by their surnames. They gave us their phone numbers and email addresses and told us to do not hesitate to join them if we have any problem during our stay in Brazil.
Another thing that surprised me is the behaviour of the Brazilian students. In my class most of the students are foreigners but we have some Brazilian students. In general, they do not take notes during the class which lasts one hour and forty minutes. They use their phone in class, that is not a problem for the teachers. The students are allowed to use it in class which is not the case in France. As a Brazilian student we are authorized to arrive late in class (even forty minutes late) and we can go out of the class or even leave the class without asking the teacher.
Finally, a thing that amazed me was the presence of monkeys in the park of the university, they live in liberty there. That’s very different from France!
- The city
The first thing is the large number of pharmacies in my neighbourhood named “Lagoa da Conceiçao”, maybe 6 or 7 next to each other which is a lot in this little neighbourhood of around 14 000 residents. There is also quite a lot of sports centres because Brazilian people take care of their appearance.
I was surprised when I arrived in Florianopolis because it seems like a European country with modern buildings and expensive cars. Before to come to Brazil, I was expecting a poorest country and not modern at it is. But later I understood that it is not the case everywhere in Brazil. Florianopolis is located in a rich and developed state which is Santa Catarina. This city where I live is considered as the “Monaco” of Brazil where Brazilian people like going for holidays. So I live in a nice city and in particular a good neighbourhood with a high standard of living. I have never seen a sign of poverty there. But for example in Rio de Janeiro, the poverty is much more noticeable.
- The Brazilian lifestyle
I was so surprised that so few people do not speak English in Brazil, in the shops, the restaurants and even the public transports. My first weeks in Florianopolis were hard because my English was not useful and I did not speak any words of Portuguese. One day after a trek in the mountains and the plants, I had a bite from an insect but I did not which insect exactly. I went to a pharmacy and I showed the bite to the pharmacist. Fortunately he spoke a little bit English but not enough to communicate with me so we had to use Google translation on my phone. After several weeks, I feel more comfortable in Portuguese so I can better understand and express myself a little bit.
Another thing is the use of the air conditioning. Brazilian people like it, in every shop, car, taxi, supermarket and at the university there is the air conditioning on. Most of the time, the air conditioning is very cold, for example in class we always have to ask to the teacher to turn it off.
The Brazilian drive very fast and in a dangerous way. The first days I was a bit scared when I was in a car because of the drivers, indeed a taxi driver told me that the most dangerous thing in Florianopolis was the traffic. Unfortunately, everyday people lose the life because of the that.
But a good point in Florianopolis is the security, even when it is the night it is not dangerous to go out alone. I really feel in security in this city and that’s an important point because I live there.
A thing that is very hard for European people is the very slow way of life in Brazil. Brazilian are relax and take their time. For example at the post office, the supermarket, the restaurant, everything takes time and I had to learn to not be in a hurry. This point is frustrated for us because we used to do everything in a fast way, so here I had to learn how to be patient.