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Brazil is an ethnically diverse country as there has been immigration from many different countries in the last century or so. This means that there is some chance that there some of your compatriots already live in Brazil. This is especially the case if you are Italian, German, Levantine or Japanese.
Brazil is the fifth largest and most populous country in the world with 200 million inhabitants. However, the number of expats is relatively small, and around 1.5 million, though this number is growing rapidly. Many expats live in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, though there are also plenty in the coastal cities in the North-east and the Southern regions, these areas being especially popular with the retired.
For newcomers who may only have experienced relaxing holidays in Brazil, the change in day-to-day pace and cultural differences you experience may present a more considerable challenge than expected. With this in mind, it is advisable to learn at least a little about your new place of residence before arriving. In this day and age, this is easy to do. It is certainly possible to gain some insight into the way of life from lifestyle magazines, travel guides and other written sources.
However, the most comprehensive source of information on a specific country can be found on the internet, especially on expat websites such as www.expatbriefing.com. Using these sources before you leave can help to reduce the level of culture shock you feel when you arrive in Brazil.
These websites can also introduce you to Brazil-based expats who will be able to offer you tips first-hand. There are a number of Brazilian forums, such as /expat-forum/brazil, which cover a wide variety of topics and can be a valuable source of information. Such forums may provide you with valuable tips, forestall possible problems and be a gateway to making friends once you arrive. Many expat groups are open to accepting expats from other countries but will usually require the individual to speak their mother tongue and to have experience of living in that country.
A comprehensive list of forums and activities open to everyone living in Brazilian cities and the surrounding areas can be found on https://www.meetup.com. Subjects range from volunteering, sporting activities, and language lessons. There are also events for groups such as restaurant buffs, singles, vegetarians and oenologists.
Certainly, the internet makes it much easier for individuals to stay in touch with friends and family they left behind in their home country. However, Skyping and emails can only replace human face-to-face interaction up to a point.
Physical expat groups can be found in many cities in Brazil, a process that has been made easier by social networking. The groups usually consist of individuals from different nationalities and are not limited to a certain country of origin. Comprehensive expat group listings for Brazil can be found here: /expat-groups/brazil.html
While it is a comfort to many foreign nationals to have such a link to their country of origin or other foreigners in Brazil, one must not forget that the experience of living in Brazil is enhanced by stepping out of one’s comfort zone and discovering culture, way of life and all other aspects of daily living while in the midst of it. The knowledge gained by finding out for oneself the challenges living in the UK can present for someone not familiar with the country’s customs and ways of life are just as much part of the whole experience of coming to live in the UK. The knowledge can then perhaps be shared with one of the many expat groups around the country.
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