Common misconceptions and clichés about life in Brazil

Hello everyone,

Old clichés die hard, as the saying goes... and living in Brazil can generate lots of misconceptions in the eyes of the people.

What are the most common misconceptions about the expat lifestyle in Brazil?

What are the most common clichés about life in Brazil in general?

Did you have a biased view of the country before moving there? What is you view now?

Thanks in advance,


One of the major misconceptions I found was that people think every day was like it was pictured in the movies. Street bands, samba, and Carnival. These are some exciting things about Brazil and maybe for some it is like that for them especially if you are rich and have lots of free time on your hands.
For the every day normal person it is much the same as what you left in my case the USA there are the everyday things you must do. the one thing I found though is the bureaucracy is the worst of any place I have ever lived but I take it in stride now because Brazilians don't know any different. Also the yearly bank strikes, something unheard of in most first world countries simply isn't permitted. The main reason being banking is key infrastructure and must function always the economy depends on it. 
As far as being biased I had no preconceptions of what I was getting into, And from the start I was moving here to be with my wife everything else was secondary to that.

You may or may not get use to bank strikes, but it reality here in Brasil.

As such, you should always have a secondary back-up bank in he USA, etc. to get through emergencies.

The university professors went on strike for five (5) months (to the best of my knowledge it was five months).  The students got completely dumped on.  What a gross waste of taxpayers money.  I was told, but could not prove, the professors got their full salary while they were on strike.

Have a good day!!!

To Brazilians this is normal, to most of the developed world these kind of abuses aren't permitted or allowed to carry on for long. You go on strike you had better have money set aside there is no getting paid while on strike. Strikes like these cripple Brazil's economy, they blame the politicians and a lot of finger pointing goes on but in reality these kinds of things are the reason Brazil is suffering through a recession the worst they have seen in recent times.  The US went through major inflation rate hikes when Jimmy Carter was president. The cure though harsh was accomplished by Ronald Reagan he instituted  a cooperative wage freeze on the part of Businesses and citizens. The Air Traffic controllers went on strike for absurd raises during this time. President Reagan fired them all he said " No union has the right to put in jeopardy the economic well being of the country".  It takes political will power to do these things. He reduced inflation from a high of 15% to 3% with further reductions occurring during The first Bush, and Clinton's administrations. The economy took off after his common sense actions took hold.

That said I do have a secondary bank in fact my retirement money is deposited in it to use as needed. I can use that banks ATM card or transfer some money here to my bank here and use the ATM card from them so no worries on that side of things

i have not experience of Brazil .i wish i will be visit soon

It was Nixon, not Reagan,  who implemented the wage/price freeze. It was around the time of the lines at gas stations caused by the oil embargo when the price of a gallon of gas tripled, then everything else started going up.

if you are from the USA then why do you complain and want brasil to be like USA .you come from USA first world countries then stay there. i have been to brasil twice and stayed one month each time .I know Brazilian families i come from same style  country like them and I don't expect a lot as I know what is it there .I'm just emphasizing that  wherever American want to go and live it should  look like the USA but we don't expect anything the USA change fir us there if we live there ..stay in your country if you think it's the best in the world

brasil is not USA  speak to Obama to sort your problems there lucky one you have two banks and two cards to play around while Brazilian suffer

brasil is a nice country my friend don't  listen to people from Europe and USA. they have a nice life and want brasil to be like them we know where we come from Africa or Asia  they have not seen that life  yet

I live in south Africa I visited brasil twice and saw the reality there which I sonr deny but at least  life is nice and people are wonderful I know there's poverty and problems and that yiubfins anywhere even in the best countries try and come and live in Africa  and see I'd you would handle  it ..I survived and lived here for 25 years. it all depend on your achievements and strength. .don't blame any country


This is an expat website. It's a place to share our experiences...the good and the bad. I don't want Brazil to be the US and we are not trying to change it. If anything, we are bringing our money here and improving the economy. Spending money, employing locals, etc...

I think you got the wrong idea and might be on the wrong website!

hi Craig I'm not in the wrong website I know it since James the Canadian started it ..we are not the same I don't have money nor can employ people you see we different ..then take your money  somewhere else or keep it in USA  or try India or Afghanistan

When my wages were frozen Reagan was president.

You are very hostile. We are all good people here. You can disagree in a repectful manner. No need to be harsh.

thank you

That's exactly what I was trying to say...

What dboudjel said....!

A person that visits for 2 or three weeks at a time really has no idea about the problems that Brazil faces as a  country or of actually living and working here.
I am not saying Brazilians are not nice people or that the families aren't nice on the contrary.

The topic was about and for people who actually live here, the good and the bad things they have experienced. Constructive criticism is often good and sometimes helpful.  There is no reason as the worlds 6th largest economy they can't be better than they are. Brazil is a powerhouse economy in South America and could rank even higher. I would like to see Brazil in its rightful place as a progressive modern, first world country. So they absolutely need to streamline their bureaucracy and get rid of some things that are holding them back.

In the end it is up to Brazil to do these things when they do that the investments in Brazil will come and they will have a better life.  I talk to a lot of Brazilians and they want nothing more than to live in the US because they want to live in a first world country, So i ask them why not make that happen here in Brazil? Brazil is a diamond in the rough but could really shine if the people wanted it to.

thank you John for the reply even though I will still want to live in Brazil which I'm going to settle next year hoping it will get better sorry for misunderstanding me seeing I'm living in south Africa and you guys coming already from 1st world countries  ..I'm glad I'm back to this blog and forum I used to enjoy it with James  may he rest in peace he had a deep knowledge of life in Brazil
but thank to all of you guys for as well keeping this forum up and running

I would want you to come and live in Brazil despite its problems. I see a country that is trying to be the best it can be  in South America. I am from The US but that doesn't mean I want Brazil to be second rate. I live here with my wife and when Brazil succeeds it benefits all who live here. It benefits my wife who owns a business here. It benefits me when I build websites for Brazil companies. It benefits their economy by our spending and paying taxes. You could rightly say I am more pro Brazil than Pro US. I see potential here that could make Brazil great and want that to happen. I too knew James very well and it saddened me to hear what happened to him. If you knew him you would know he was very critical of some of the things here in Brazil and often was outspoken on it. perhaps that is why he was silenced. I don't know this for certain but Brazil lost a good man. Enough said on this I cared very much for him and don't want to expand more on this so I will leave it at that.

thanks a lot John I'm already  planning I have a fiancee in goias and will be there in Feb but thanks a lot for the help we keep in touch always

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