My Experiences with ‘Stereotypical’ Brazilian People

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Kia Marie Hunt

Travel blogger, illustrator, creative, and lover of languages. Studies Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian Sign Language. Currently studying abroad in South America! (Uruguay and Brazil)

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People say that when you travel you realise just how wrong all the stereotypes are, but after spending 6 months living in Brazil (Florianópolis), I feel as though the “Brazilians are kind, happy people” stereotype is actually completely true.

Here I have rounded up a few little pieces of evidence that prove the kindness of Brazilians…

Exhibit #1: My Brazilian amigos

How did we meet? Well, I was sitting alone waiting for someone, they recognised me as the timid foreign girl from class, and they asked if I would like to come join them under a tree and just hang out.. and it got me thinking, would people really do that in the UK? Probably not.

They’ve invited me to little get-togethers, parties, and even just round to their house to try various traditional Brazilian drinks. I’ve never met a group of people that made me feel so genuinely welcome and at home straight away. Everyone in the group is authentic and completely individual, no one judges what anyone else does/says/wears; you are free to be to yourself and just have a great time. One of them even drove me to the airport on my last day so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a taxi…and when I got there I absolutely cried my eyes out, because I knew I would truly will miss this such a lovely bunch of people.

Exhibit #2:People being able to share things without problemas13689867_10154256954369647_1178074419_n

At every bus station in Florianópolis there is a stand where people can donate books that they don’t wan’t/need anymore, so that others can read them on their journey. There’s even a sign that says that you don’t have to bring the book back if you don’t want to, just remember to donate some books in the future.

In the girls bathroom at the University there is a Caixa Colaborativa; a little box  left by the side of the sinks in the girl’s toilets filled to the brim with products, deodorants, wipes, tampons, sanitary towels, etc. And a sign that says when you need to, use something, when you can, donate something.

I thought that both of these things were simply lovely ideas, and things that would unfortunately probably be taken advantage of in the UK. But here in Brazil people really do just seem to be able to be that kind to each other, and that makes me so happy.

(You can bet that I donated a whole load of books and products before I left!)

Exhibit #3: The nicest graffiti ever

I know this is a strange thing to mention, but I’ve never been to a country where the graffiti just seems so… nice? One piece of graffiti I saw literally translated to “F**K YOU BROCCOLI!”, and that was honestly the meanest that I’ve seen it get!

In bus stations I’ve seen graffiti that says things like (translated) “I hope wherever you’re going you find happiness”, “Love yourself” and “Have a good day, you are beautiful.” I even saw in the bathrooms at university a big piece that just read “DISCOVER YOUR CLITORIS” (and one ‘kind soul’ underneath added, “I can help show you the way!”)

This one that I passed every day on my way to the bus station simply reads, “Smile, you deserve it.” 

Exhibit #4: Jumpers on dogs

There were a whole lot of stray dogs in the city where I lived, and as the weather began to get much colder, I noticed that a lot of them were sporting the cutest little shirts and jumpers. It seems that people give old clothes to dogs that are cold, and I think that’s just the kindest thing ever. I’m so sad that I don’t have a photo to show you, because it really was adorable.

Exhibit #5: General politeness

When I was buying the last few things before leaving, a man in the queue turned to the man behind him that was holding a basket in one hand and leaning on a crutch with the other, and told him “You go in front”, and when the man on the crutch politely declined, he insisted “Go on, you’re holding two things, I only have one!” (My rough translation) They both chuckled and the one-item man gave the crutch-man a friendly pat on the back as he passed, I watched the whole thing with a warm little smile on my face.

And did you know that, in Floripa at least, if anyone sits down next to anyone on the bus, they will always say “licença” (excuse me), we British pride ourselves on politeness, but even we don’t do that!

Exhibit #6: Hitch-hiking

Ask almost any student living in Lagoa that goes to UFSC (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina) how they get to class every day, and I guarantee they will say that they pegar carona (hitch-hike), it’s the most common form of transport for students here, and even promoted by the mayor. No-one I know has had any problems, and they’ve met a lot of nice people while doing it. I somehow can’t imagine that working very well in England!

I know that most of this list is comprised of very small things, and I’m sure there’s many examples that I’ve missed out, but I just have this overwhelming sensation that the people here are, for lack of a better word, just lovely.

I of course could be accused of over generalising by just saying ‘Brazilians’, but this applies to at least everyone I have met on the beautiful, welcoming Ilha da Magia. And I honestly can’t wait to return and explore the rest of the country to find out if these stereotypes are true elsewhere!

(To read more about Kia’s adventures in Brazil and other parts of the world, click here to visit her blog, Aspire to Amble)

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Kia Marie Hunt

Travel blogger, illustrator, creative, and lover of languages. Studies Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian Sign Language. Currently studying abroad in South America! (Uruguay and Brazil)

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