Exploring Brazilian Culture

Famous for its rainforests, beaches, and lively city life in Rio De Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazilian society includes people of indigenous, Portuguese, European, and African ancestries. Brazil is home to Carnaval, a world-famous celebration, as well as neighborhood festivals, street parades, and a music scene unlike anywhere else in the world. Brazilian culture delights the senses, from the sounds of the Samba, Brazil’s most popular dance, or other kinds of dance music like Pagode (similar to Samba), Axé (soul music), and Bossa Nova (a mix of Brazilian pop music and jazz), the scent of delicious street foods like grilled meat and fried pastries.

Study abroad in Brazil Host a Brazilian student in the U.S.

People and Community

AFS Students in Brazil

Brazilian families tend to be tight-knit, warm, and loving. They generally enjoy each other’s company and prefer spending time together than privately. In Brazilian culture, men are usually allowed more freedom than women. Brazilian girls have less freedom than girls from most European and North American countries.  In general, Brazilian boys and girls are raised under some traditional gender distinctions. While in urban areas of Brazil, men and women are more likely to share the same decision making in families, in rural areas, Brazilian society is generally patriarchal.

Household tasks have traditionally been “women’s jobs” (washing, ironing, everyday cooking and the dishes, as well as general house cleaning, dusting, floor scrubbing, sewing, and mending). Men are usually designated repair tasks (such as fixing the leaking faucets, checking and repairing electrical equipment, and paying bills).

Language and Communication Styles

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, which is spoken by 98% of the population and is the language of education, government, and daily life.


Churrasco in Brazil

Food in Brazilian culture is extremely diverse. Favorite dishes vary by region, but many include rice, beans, cheese, eggs, beef, and farofa or farinha (manioc flour made from cassava). In Rio de Janeiro, feijoada (black beans with beef, pork, sausage, and trimmings), is popular. Churrasco is Brazil’s take on the barbecue and offers a variety of juicy grilled meats. Bife à cavalo com fritas (meat with egg and french fries) is a favorite throughout the country. There are lots of different types of coffee, including café com leite (coffee with milk), which you can sip while enjoying breakfast. Another kind is cafezinho (black coffee), which is best appreciated during after-dinner conversations. Other common drinks are lemonade, fruit juices, and mate, a South American herbal tea.

Explore the Programs Available in Brazil