Brazil

The Vila Madalena neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil

Country Information

Brazil is a land of diversity, both in its landscape of rainforest, beaches and city, as well as its people who include native Indians and people of Portuguese, European, and African ancestries. It is home to Carnaval, a world-famous celebration, and daily celebrations like soccer matches, festivals, street parades, guitar gatherings and barbecues. Family life is important here and extended members are never that far away.

Stories

In Brazil Isabela lives in an apartment in a city, so at first when she saw a squirrel, chipmunk or wild turkey in our yard she’d get very excited. She has adjusted to the different rhythms at school and meal times, and fit right into life in our family. For the first couple of weeks that Isabela was here, our kids were on their best behavior. I could tell when they started to get comfortable, because then they began to treat her like a sibling. They get along at times, they argue at times. I think they adapted very well, and have learned from having someone from a different culture in our home. Isabela is a great person, very responsible and mature... Fortunately I wasn’t really tested from that perspective, and I’m glad. Isabela is a very easygoing person. The difference between two kids and three at home isn’t enormous – a little more laundry, a little more food… It will be very sad to see her go. She’s really become part of the family. We don’t think of her as a guest or a visitor; she has become more like an adopted daughter and sister. We expect to stay in touch, and hopefully to visit her in Brazil someday.

–Weisenfeld Family, hosted student from Brazil

Lifestyle and Family


Brazilians are open and affectionate.  Families are tight knit and extended family is often close by.  However, parents are more protective of girls than boys, resulting in stricter rules and restrictions.

Teen Life and Sports

Not all schools offer activities, so kids usually participate in community organizations.  Soccer is the official sport and played by both boys and girls.  Teens typically go to each other’s homes on the weekends, as well as cafes and town centers.  There are a lot of national fairs, including world renowned "Carnaval," throughout the year that everyone attends.

Dress

Brazil is a fashion conscious country and is heavily influenced by Europe; however, teens tend to dress more casually and are required to wear uniforms to school.  Brazil can get cool in the winter months in the southern regions.

Diet

Eating is an event in Brazil and is not taken lightly.  Lunch and dinner are both large family gatherings and missing either requires advance notice.  Common staples are white rice, beans, beef, pork, chicken and fish. 

Language and Religion

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, though English is widely understood.  The majority of the country is Christian but there are a variety of other beliefs practiced.

Ana's Mother's Day Message to her Host Mother, Brooklyn


MOMMY!!!! I don't even know where to start. you made so many great thing for me this year, words can't explain. I think you know how essential you became this year, the time can fly and this wonderful family will be forever in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for this wonderful year, mommy, you made the absolute difference in my american life. I LOVE YOU! And I'll miss you always. See you on Thanksgiving. =) EU TE AMO.

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