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Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

by Bella6363 Online Now Jan 2, 2013 at 2:16 AM

Hello, I am an American in my late 20's. I just signed a contract to work in Brasilia for a number of years and am now thinking I could have made a wrong decision... I was wondering if anyone who lives in Brasilia can help me out with some information.
1. I will be living in the suburbs of Brasilia and will have no car and a very bad sense of direction!! It is important that I make friends and have an active social life. I am planning on learning as much Portoguese as I can. However, how do I make friends when there is not a lively downtown area?

2. As I am in my late 20's, I am also concerned with dating and forming a serious relationship with a Brasilian. Are relationships between Brasilians and expats common and would it be easy to find someone to date there? The city seems so closed.

So far from what I have read on the internet, some things seem pretty dismal. I am looking to have some fun and an active life and was not aware of some things.

Thanks so much for any input.

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8 Answers
  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by davidjo Online Now Jan 2, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    I do not live in Brasilia but i spent a week there and found that the central area by the big park, tower and buildings felt as if there was something missing (lacked a heart) but i certainly made friends with locals there and was invited to the suburbs on several occasions and had a good time. In general the Brasilian people are exceptionally friendly and fun loving. The language was sometimes a barrier but you will soon pick it up, don't worry. I have a few friends male and female married to Brasilians and i think that there is no problem with relations between expats and locals , one of the reasons being is that Brasil is a multi-racial society and all are accepted. I would say forget your anxieties and go there with a positive attitude, and don't forget any new place takes time to settle down.

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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by wabat Online Now Jan 2, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    I imagine this is,your first expat position. Are you the only expat in the organization you are joining.? If not you will have a ready made set of friends when you arrive. Expats tend to look after each other. This network is very important and it will be easy to expand .. Incl,into the local population. If you into sports join local sporting club, if into Walkng join the local bushwalkng club, if dining / dinner parties your thing there will be people into that etc etc. You seem outward going so will have no problems. Off course you will miss home, family and friends for few months - that's normal. I recall when I first went oversees same age as you .. I continually asked myself if I was made especially before I went but also for while when there. One thing to do is make sure that you have friends outside work in addition to those you gain through work otherwise things become very artificial . As regards dating a local person , tread carefully . If you want it as more than fun think about what you expect to happen when your contract ends.

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  • bahiana77's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by bahiana77 Online Now Jan 2, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Most of the people I know, and stay with, in Brasilia are there with their families (around whom their everyday lives center), but I can give you some of my impressions. I've spent considerable time in Brasilia with friends who live in one of the superquadros. (They have lived in two different ones in the Asa Norte.) The superquadros are laid out to give a sort of neighborhood feeling, with a couple of blocks of stores and restaurants in each, within walking distance of most apartments (although hardly anyone except the maids walks). Some of the restaurant/bars have live music occasionally at night. Brasilia seems like a good place to raise a family, very tranquil, with lots of extra-curricular activities available for kids, and specialized transportation (vans) to get them there.
    Personally, I would find it difficult to impossible to get around without a car though, especially in the extreme heat and humidity.
    Here's a map of the metro:
    aboutbrasilia.com/facts/metr...
    But since it serves “suburbs” such as Aguas Claras (which I would consider just another city neighborhood) at the tip of the Asa Sul, but doesn't serve the Asa Norte where I have stayed, I haven't experienced it, so perhaps it is feasible to get around on the metro, in combination with the bus system. I am more familiar with what I would consider a suburb (Sobradinho, a 22 km distant commuter “satellite city” with about 100thousand people) which definitely requires a car.
    I can only describe my (married) friends' social circle, which seems to consist of their coworkers (and a couple of relatives), but they are transplants for work (as most seem to be) and not raised there (a more recent phenomenon given the age of the city). They may stop by at the superquadro where the job is located to have a beer and some churassco with coworkers before heading home. When we have gone out, I have seen groups of coworkers out together for dinner at a restaurant (and have gone out with my friends’ work groups). Occasionally these friends have invited a single coworker/friend home for dinner. I'm sure there are gyms/sports clubs, but I have only been to the large swimming pools in the national park at the tip of the north wing (a lot of fun). I can't comment on the singles scene, if there is such a thing (meaning clubs or other places where you could casually meet someone in your age group). Dating norms are quite different than in the U.S. (imho), so do try to inform yourself before diving in. Professionals in Brasilia have more money than elsewhere, so are able to do things and go places that other Brazilians might not. I haven't found a lot of things to do in Brasilia when I've been there (of the type you'd expect in a large city), but I've been to the occasional decent art show at the museum, outdoor exposition of horses (the city outskirts are still rural), or small performance of Brazilian music. The lagoa seems to be a busy and lively place to go out in the evening with friends or family. There are also some waterfalls fairly nearby the city, but I don’t know how to get there by public transportation. Many residents try to get out of the city on the weekends/vacations/holidays, to other cities, the beach, or perhaps Caldas Novas hot springs.
    I do know that it is difficult to meet locals in most of Brazil without good Portuguese. Brasilia, because of its high percentage of educated professionals, may have more English speakers than many Brazilian locations, but you probably will still need Portuguese to form a relationship. I would also add that in my experience, it takes about 2 years anywhere to make an entire network of new friends.
    Best wishes for a happy future in Brasilia.

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by Donna_in_India Online Now Jan 2, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Hi- I have not been to Brasilia so can't help with the specifics of the city but I was an American expat living in India for almost 7 years (married an Indian as well). I would definitely google "Brasilia expats" or such and join any/all expat groups NOW (such as internations.org/brasilia-ex.... The expats are a great source of local information (customs, politics, dating, good doctors, where to get a haircut, etc., etc.) as well as having meetings/get togethers and celebrating American holidays together.

    It may difficult for you in the beginning - it's hard being away from family/friends but hopefully it will be a good experience for you. Be sure to take along your sense of humor(!) because you will find many things that are so different than what you are used to (that may be good or bad). The upside is that you will surely appreciate the U.S. a lot more once you return. :-)

    Is your company allowing/paying for a trip or two home each year? A nice perk and something to look forward to.... I had to pay for my own but tried to get home each Christmas. I always packed up on my favorite food to bring back to India.

    Good luck! I hope you have a great time.

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  • robine's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by robine Online Now Jan 7, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    I spent a few weeks in Brasilia, but quite a long time ago now. Brazilians are certainly very friendly and welcoming, but you will need to learn Portuguese (not difficult). (I have been married to Brazilian for the past 39 years!) Your not having a car will be a problem, for (surprisingly, since it was planned by communists) it's designed entirely for the motor-car, and walking or buses are complicated.

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  • LouisD5's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by LouisD5 Online Now Oct 14, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Hi ,

    Hi hope everything is fine for you in Brasilia. I was wondering if you could tell me the name of the company hirering you ?

    Thanks

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  • bahiana77's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by bahiana77 Online Now Oct 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    fyi, it's:
    H-I-R-I-N-G

    I believe she may be teaching English at one of the international schools there. They usually hire at specialized job fairs in the U.S. or through specialized agencies in the U.S. for a consortium of international schools in different countries. Teachers need to be accredited in the U.S. and have considerable experience, afaik.
    This is an old thread and you are very unlikely to get an answer from the OP, who only posted once and never even returned to say thanks for the comments posted by others trying to help; no way of knowing if she ever read the responses.

    Again, ask your girlfriend the meaning of "QI" in the context of job hunting in Brazil and how she and her family can help you using theirs until you are in BRazil long enough to develop your own.

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  • AlainK8's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brasilia- nervous!!

    by AlainK8 Online Now Mar 8, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    Hey, I know how you feel and being nervous is natural, i've been here 5 months now, I sort of know my way around so if you need any help send me an email alain.kohler8@gmail.com

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