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Brazil - My experience so far

 
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Vecchia



Joined: 05 Jun 2009
Posts: 54
Location: Sao Luis, Brazil

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:22 pm    Post subject: Brazil - My experience so far Reply with quote

Hi all,
In an effort to help other aspiring TEFL'ers here's my story so far.
Experience/Qualifications: BA(hons) French, CELTA and about 20 months experience.

Its been about three weeks now and so far so good (on the whole!) When I first got here I spent about 2 days in Salvador, which is on the north east coast. It's a great city and I probably could have easily got work but crime was such an issue that I just felt it wasn't worth staying around. Also, I had a flight to Porto Alegre booked so I wasn't going to hang about anyway.
Porto Alegre was such a let down I was left really disappointed. The hostel I was staying in was terrible and it had no heating whatsoever and showers outside. They are actually having the coldest snap in about 10 years (just my luck) so it rained and rained and I just couldn't warm up it was ridiculous. Then, on my second night I caught a Brazilian guy going through my suitcase during the night whilst I was sleeping, literally inches from my head! I confronted him but he said he was 'moving' stuff. A complete lie but all my stuff was locked away in a cabinet so it didn't really matter. The following day I then saw an old lady get coshed over the head and then her bag stolen in daylight. After all of these experiences I just gave up on Porto Alegre, it's actually really overrated. Also, I had heard stories of really hot blondes everywhere but this never materialised, so I don't really get what people are on about when they talk about that.

So, I had a look at the map and booked a flight up here to Sao Luis. It's a tropical island with a main city population of about 1.1m so quite big. The weather is great and you get downpours in the afternoons so it's quite humid. It is quite poor but suprisingly crime is low (for brazil anyway). I've made some great Brazilian friends and met a girl so I'm learning portuguese quite quickly. It's not a hard language but it's quite nasal so pronouncing words properly can be tricky. Learning portuguese is an absolute must if you are working outside of Rio/SP because a) you are more likely to get ripped off and, b) you will find it much harder to make friends.

Work: I have managed to find some work and although the pay is low (17 Reis per hour!) it should lead onto other things. It's with a big chain which is not ideal but it is well organised and the staff are friendly. I've had a couple of calls from privates as I've been handing out business cards so I hope things will pick up in that area. The director of the school said there is a big shipping or mining company looking for native speakers but you need to be fluent in portuguese too as you're kind of bridging the gap between the portuguese company and foriegn engineering contractors. So, my aim is to learn the language as quickly as possible and then work for them as the pay will be quadruple! I've also got another interview on Monday, there are three stages and the 2nd is with a psychologist for some reason. Should be interesting as apparently she doesn't speak a word of English...
As far as schools go, all the big chains are here. Fisk, Wizard, Minds etc. BUT minds wanted me to work 7 hours a day, Monday through Saturday which I think is ridiculous. I politely declined.

Renting an apartment has been a real challenge and without the help of this brazilian girl I'd be stuck. Rentals are astronomical considering what you get; it's because literally no one actually owns proprty here. I've seen a few shockers but later hopefully I will get the flat I'm after. It's located on/near the Uni campus so an opportunity for more students and, of course, parties Smile.
As for money I doubt I will start breaking even for another month or so. Brazil isn't cheap but really worth it as the people are very relaxed, eassygoing and well humoured. Sometimes a bit too relaxed up here but you can't have it all right?

So although Sao Luis is off the beaten trackt it is worth it. Personally, I think you can make it in any city in Brazil with a positive attitude, business cards, a decent cv and some savings.

I hope this helps anyone thinking about coming over to Brazil to teach.
All the best!
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DLat



Joined: 01 Mar 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the post, and sharing your experiences so far. Good luck to you in Sao Luis.
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labomba



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very familiar. Exactly what I think of Porto Alegre and Salvador is not my favourite nordeste city, always prefered Recife, Natal etc. I think you have found yourself the right place.

I love Sao Luis, bit of a trek though on the bus! South to Teresina, north to Belem. But being far from the rest makes it what it is, a World to itself, unique.

They call Sao Luis nordeste, but to me it is a little mix of nordeste and moreso whats to come if you carry on to Amazonica. Lots of forro though and its a real good mix with the nordestino character shining through. I love Teresina too, but that dosen't have the buildings or reviver characteristicas.

Enjoy the suco cupuaçu. Nothing and nowhere is cheap in Brazil today and I'm glad I was there several years ago.

But NOTHING, NOTHING compares to Brazil. I miss it like hell.

Soarte.
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Vecchia



Joined: 05 Jun 2009
Posts: 54
Location: Sao Luis, Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

labomba wrote:
Sounds very familiar. Exactly what I think of Porto Alegre and Salvador is not my favourite nordeste city, always prefered Recife, Natal etc. I think you have found yourself the right place.


Agree with all of that but Recife...?! I've heard so many dodgy stories about that city. I was chatting to a Swiss girl the other day and she was surrounded by 3 guys and relieved of all of her possessions. Crime is a real issue there and some locals tell me it's worse than Salvador now...
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labomba



Joined: 28 Apr 2009
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Recife and in fact Pernambuco as a state is a violent place. Both unfortunately have very high murder rates. The state of Pernambuco has double the murder rate of the state of Bahia. Most of these are local male youngsters that are the main people being killed. But get to know the culture and I find other places worse for robberies. However, this is not an easy topic to discuss. There was a website called pebodycount which I think has stopped that kept a record of all the murdered and it came up with even higher figures:

http://rt.com/news/death-clock-counts-victims-of-brazil-s-murder-capital/

Back to why Recife? Well Recife is a different city to Salvador. Salvador is one of the top 3 tourist attractions in Brazil, together with Rio and Foz. Recife was always a bit more off the beaten track and more interesting. Mangue town with a real energy and the greatest city of the nordeste IMHO. I found no other city sells so many cocos and no where do they taste as good.
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 765
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sao Luis! Very cool!

I think you made a great decision, and certainly hope to hear more about that city.

I taught English in Sao Paulo, and somewhat ended up in Rio for a couple months as well, but mostly teaching and living in SP.

Everyone in Brazil said that SP was the coldest place emotionally from the people, but they were still much warmer than any other country I'd ever been.

I long thought that if I were to go back to Brazil, I'd quickly choose a northeastern city like Fortaleza, Maceio, or Sao Luis...not a lot of jobs, I don't think...but a good quality of life nontheless, and something would come up. Very cool that you're the first person I've known on the Brazil forum that has ever lived in Sao Luis! (I've been following this forum off and on since the beginning).

Also, very interesting to hear your experiences in Porto Alegre and Salvador. Hope to hear some other impressions of other places if you visit anywhere else in Brazil as well!
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Vecchia



Joined: 05 Jun 2009
Posts: 54
Location: Sao Luis, Brazil

PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments tiger beer. Although Maranhao is one of the poorest states it has to be one of the most beautiful! I went to lencois maranheses recently and....wow! Sao Luis has lots of character but if I did it all again I would probably go to natal or fortaleza as they are more cosmopolitan and feel less cut off.
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RL



Joined: 23 Jan 2010
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great posts Vechia. Please keep posting about your experiences in Brazil.
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