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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in São Paulo, Brazil

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

São Paulo

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No

Expats living in Brazil interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Brazil interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I speak a little Portuguese, and I did not learn before coming here.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

Yes

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

VERY SIGNIFICANT

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

I am currently in the "rejection of the culture" stage... moving rapidly to the "cultural adjustment" phase.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Depression, frustration

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Beauty of the country and friendliness of the people.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The people - in general - are not very honest... you have to watch your back in almost all transactions. Plus, the people are lazy and do not do very good work. Plus, everything takes forever... terrible bureaucracy.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Listen to the advice of others who have been through your situation.

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Guide to Living in São Paulo

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Expats in Sao Paulo find themselves living in one of the most important cities in South America. Technology, finance, and services drive its economy, and that of Brazil as a nation. Influences from all over the world have shaped its culture.

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Expats in Brazil are able to get excellent health care in and many of the larger cities in Brazil. There is national health care available, but expats still strongly recommend private health insurance while living in Brazil.

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I am sorry to say that after 14 years in Brazil my advise would be don't move, please reconsider. I have grown to love Brazil but the prices, lack of infrastructure, noise, traffic and now protests and violence have taken their toll.

Join our Brazil Expat Forum

Visit our Brazil Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Brazil from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in São PauloGuide to Living in São Paulo

Expats in Sao Paulo find themselves living in one of the most important cities in South America. Technology, finance, and services drive its economy, and that of Brazil as a nation. Influences from all over the world have shaped its culture.

Healthcare in BrazilHealthcare in Brazil

Expats in Brazil are able to get excellent health care in and many of the larger cities in Brazil. There is national health care available, but expats still strongly recommend private health insurance while living in Brazil.

Restaurants in São PauloRestaurants in São Paulo

Support your favorite restaurants in São Paulo as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

Moving to Sao Paulo

I am sorry to say that after 14 years in Brazil my advise would be don't move, please reconsider. I have grown to love Brazil but the prices, lack of infrastructure, noise, traffic and now protests and violence have taken their toll.

Expats-Talk-About-The-Biggest-Challenges-They-Face-Living-in-Latin-AmericaExpats Talk About The Biggest Challenges They Face Living in Latin America

Expats talk about some of the biggest challenges they've faced living in Latin America. Whether you're moving to Panama City or Punta del Este, this article is a must read to help you prepare (hint: you'll be much happier if you learn the language) and adjust your expectations (realities: the roads are rough, the pace of life is slower and bureaucracy is unavoidable). Despite all of the challenges, the list of what expats like about life in Latin America far exceeds the challenges.

Healthcare-in-BrazilHealthcare in Brazil

Expats in Brazil are able to get excellent health care in and many of the larger cities in Brazil. There is national health care available, but expats still strongly recommend private health insurance while living in Brazil.

Brazil Guide
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