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Living & Working in São Paulo

Hello!

My name is Norm, I'm Scottish and currently living in Scotland, UK.

I'm planning moving to São Paulo soon with my wife (Brazilian) and my son (Brazilian with dual nationality - 8 months).

I have my Brazilian passport and full working documents for Brazil. My plan is to buy a house and have soon savings then start working, I'm preferably planning to teach English..

Does anybody have any advice on this subject?

Thanks in advance.

Hi Norm,

I'm an American who's lived and worked in Sao Paulo for over 8 years now.  If you let me know the type of work / life you're planning here in SP, I can probably point you in the right direction on good places to live.

Cheers,

John

P.S.  My father's family is originally from South Uist ... Go Scots!  MMc

Hey John!

Thanks for the reply.

At the moment I'm still unsure of my plan, I'm thinking of working along the lines of teaching. As from what I see is there is a lot of work for native English speakers. Can I ask what it is you do?

Thank

Norm

Hi Norm,

Yes, there is actually demand for native English speakers as teachers but it's actually a bit tricky finding the "serious" demand.  I would guess the best approach in the respect is, at least at first, find a private school (colegio) that caters to expatriate families and wealth Brazilians who are preparing their kids to go to foreign universities.  In my experience, there are many young Brazilian professionals with university degrees who say they want to learn / improve their English language skills.  The two main reasons are (1) they want a promotion or a pay increase from their employer (employers pay more for bilingual employees here), and (2) they want to "travel to the US".  The problem with this group is that they tend not to be seriously committed to English proficiency; they basically just want to be good enough to get the pay increase and vacation in Orlando (very low hurdles).  Orlando caters heavily to Brazilians, so they don't need much fluency to vacation there; and the easiest way to get the pay increase is to attend a well-known English language training school (there are many here in SP, most of quite low quality) and simply get a course completion certificate (because their employers don't speak English that well and have difficulty personally verifying their English language skills).

I basically do statistical modeling and forecasting for banks and large companies (whose managers and executives tend to have Level 2 or above English skills).  I thought it would be much easier to gain clients but because I am a foreigner it has taken me about 8 years to begin to be regarded as "sério", which is the primary requirement to do business here.  Sério can be roughly translated as "serious", but it actually means much more: it means a simultaneous combination of capable, committed, and trustworthy.

Here's an example: My son is a native American English speaker who graduated from colegio with high scores, and strong Level 2 Portuguese skills.  I know a young Brazilian woman who has, at best, good Level 1 English skills who spent 6 months in New York City in a cosmetics training course.  My son has great difficulty attracting English language students, but the young woman is in demand at private high schools to teach English.  What's the difference?  One person is considered sério, and the other is not.  So, as foreigners we must generally work with a institution that's considered sério. 

Cheers,

John

Pretty accurate

My experience is that many Brazilians prefer been taught English by another Brazilian and for some reason are kind of suspicious/reserved at been taught by a foreigner.....it helps a bit if you speak good Portuguese though, then they tend to relax and trust you more.
But yeah, don't expect them to roll out the red carpet and come rushing just because you are a native speaker. Some schools I have worked at tell me they are weary of hiring Natives as they have a tendency to pack up and leave mid semester.....guess it's the whole "Serio" thing.
Where live the school market is all teenagers....they tend to be brighter and better in English than the adults, I guess it's a generational thing, now that more emphasis is been placed on English for wealthier kids.

That Orlando thing is so spot on.....oh my, what the heck are they so desperate to go to Orlando for,
kind of boring!

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