Country Profile: Brazil

A fascinating tropical paradise, full of color, splendor and energy, Brazil is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you are looking for a place where you can find sites untouched by civilization, the incredible and mystical Amazon forest has no equal.

Your studies of Spanish won’t help you much in Brazil, or “Republica Federativa do Brasil,” as the majority of people speak Portuguese. Brazil is the largest country in South America, and its economy is the largest as well. You cannot travel to South American and ignore this important nation; it shares common boundaries with every South American country except for Chile and Ecuador.

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The amazingly friendly Brazilian people have an energy and enthusiasm which is intoxicating. Their unrivalled passion for music and dance attract people from all corners of the glove seeking an escape from their everyday lives. The Brazilian festival of Carnival is world-renown.

The Brazilian culture is rooted not only in its early Portuguese settlers, but in its African population, native indigenous population, and other European immigrant cultures. This cultural mix has resulted in a fantastic atmosphere of music, physical arts, and some very unique cuisine.

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Brazil, there are three cities that you can’t leave out of your travel plans.

First of all, there is Rio de Janeiro, called the party capital of the world by many. Here, people live life to the fullest, enjoying sunny beaches, local dance sites, delicious drinks, local cuisine, and — of course — sports! If you don’t know about Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, then you may not understand why soccer has such an important place in Brazilian culture. Rio is a happening, international city that is ideal to start your tour.

If you are ever thinking of living in Brazil — either temporarily or permanently — São Paulo would be the city I recommend. It is one of South America’s biggest cities with over 16 million residents. Residents of São Paulo, or paulistas, are very proud people who pride themselves on their good education and culture. The city has an exiting atmosphere, and with its diversity of cultures, it has something to offer everyone. Don’t miss out on the great nightlife powered by Brazilian samba dancers and their unique and captivating music.

Of course, you can’t leave Brazil without visiting its capital, Brasília. Brasília is one of the world’s most large-scale planned and (some would say) ambitious city's in the world. It was constructed between 1956 and 1960 by order of President Juscelino Kubitschek. The city was originally planned for only 500,000 inhabitants, but that number has quadrupled to about 2,000,000 people. Brasília inspires mixed feelings in many people. Some say that the city looks good on photos, but that its design lacks in functionality. Whether or not the urban design inspires you, you can always expect the fantastic, flamboyant inhabitants to make your visit worthwhile.

Don’t forget that any trip to a foreign country isn’t complete without day trips to some of the more secluded towns and cities. In the rural, less cosmopolitan areas, you will be able to get a real feel for its people and culture. Find out why so many people love Brazil!

Here are a few recommended Portuguese lessons to try next!

Divirta-se! Have fun!

Tereza Pereira: Rocket Portuguese