- Brief introduction: name, age, occupation, family, country of origin…
My Name is Axel, I’m 28 years old and I’m from Germany.
- Where are you currently living/staying in Brazil and why are you there (tourism, study, business, work…)? How long are you planning to stay?
I am living in the city of Munich in Germany and travelled to Brazil for 3 months in 2013. I just had finished my studies of tourism-management and as I have never travelled so far before I wanted to do a journey to another continent and get to know a completely different culture. In the beginning, I had only planned to stay 5 weeks, which already seemed a long time to me, but in the end I stayed 3 months in Brazil until my visa expired and I had to go back. But it wasn’t easy to say good-bye. Since then, I haven’t been back to Brazil, but I am planning to go back really soon and get to know more of Brazil and improve my Portuguese.
- What were your expectations about Brazil before travelling?
When we think about Brazil here in Germany we firstly think about nice beaches, a tropical landscape, samba, caipirinha and soccer, but in the same time Brazil has the reputation to be a very dangerous place. But I didn’t worry so much about this fact and I have already travelled to other countries that were considered dangerous, so I was rather expecting a nice country with a rich culture, friendly people, a lot of exotic things to eat, a lot of music and beautiful landscapes.
- Which of those expectations proved to be true and which proved to be false?
First of all, I have to say that through all my 3 month in Brazil I never had any problems regarding safety. People were very friendly to me: Once I visited a friend’s family that I have never met before and the family asked me to sit on their dinner table and I had to try all the Brazilian meals and juices. I was so overwhelmed by this kindness.
Brazil was really like I expected it. I have never seen beaches and landscapes like in Brazil before. I also spent carnival in Brazil and it was awesome to see all the people singing and dancing together on the streets. That was how I imagined Brazil.
- What do you like and dislike the most about Brazil?
I love the relaxed lifestyle of people. When you are from a country like Germany where everything is very planned and organized it is also nice sometimes to go to a country where everything is more relaxed. People take their time to do things, are talking to the busdriver etc.
I liked that Brazilians are very out-going; they love to dance and to sing and to have fun. I think that was the main reason why I loved brazil so much.
But in Brazil you also have to have a lot of patience. There doesn’t exist a timetable for busses, you never know when your number will arrive and also in the supermarket it can take one hour until you can pay your things.
And one thing I had to get used to was noise. You always hear music when you open a window and people are talking louder than Germans, which for me at first was a bit strange for me.
- What was the coolest place you visited in Brazil? Why?
Every place I visited had its beauty but the most stunning place for me was Praia da Pipa. When I arrived there after long trip from Recife I really thought: “Wow, this is paradise” Everybody was so relaxed, the town was so cute and my hostel was surrounded by palm trees with an amazing view. The next day we went to a beach where we could swim in the water together with dolphins; an unforgettable experience.
- Can you describe one experience in which you had to deal with cultural shock and how you managed to overcome it?
There were a lot. Once at night, I was waiting for a bus at a bus station. There weren’t a lot of people there, but I thought the bus would arrive soon, so I could save the money for a taxi. While waiting there, a girl and two boys came in my direction and when the girl saw my watch she asked me to give it to her. I denied and luckily after three times of saying ‘No’ she went away. After this situation I knew, that I have to take more care, before worse things would happen. I think, because here in Germany it is no problem to wait for a bus or a metro at night, I didn’t realize that I have to take care doing this in Brazil. But now I know this for my next trip.
- What advice would you give to a foreigner planning to travel or move to Brazil?
I would say: Just do it J It’s normal to be a bit nervous before your trip and you hear a lot of things, positive and negative about brazil but once you are there you will have an awesome time for sure and make friends very quickly. I think it’s also important to try to learn the language. It helped me a lot and to me the language of a country is always the key to its culture and the people.
Axel has a very successful and fan Facebook page. You can learn more about him here: https://www.facebook.com/OAlemao1/?fref=ts