Blog Culturas

Blog Culturas

Learning Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro

ArticlesPosted by blog Tue, November 17, 2015 00:13:05


"Learning Portuguese is easy! All you have to do is read Portuguese for an hour a day, write Portuguese for an hour a day, and speak Portuguese for an hour a day. Easy right! Yeah, I didn’t think so. If you are a disciplined person, congratulations, but if you are like me and get distracted by things like Netflix or a social life than learning a new language can be a bit tricky. Before I give advice on how to learn Portuguese or what tools to use, I want to explain my history with Portuguese and the learning process. I went through four different language schools, used Rosetta Stone, had two privet tutors, and used multiple apps and audio books to help me learn Portuguese. Before I left Brazil, I went on a weekend trip and was able to survive the entire weekend with only speaking Portuguese. I may not be fluent, but I hope that you can learn from some of the mistakes that I made.

The first thing that you will need to do is find a language school that you like and stay in that particular language school. It helps to be in a group, so only use personal tutoring to clarify any questions that you may have. My biggest mistake was hopping from one school to the next and hoping to get different results. All that happened was that I had to start from scratch and adapt to a new methodology. I think language schools are like workout programs. All of them work if you actually manage to do the work. Here is a quick rundown of the schools that I attended.

PUC: This is a university in Rio. PUC was the first school that I went to, and they focus a lot on grammar. We did not spend much time speaking, but I did leave the course with a good knowledge of the grammar rules. When we did speak Portuguese, it was often about topics that would not help in your everyday life. The class is four hours long and in the middle of the day, so PUC may not be the best for professionals.

Casa do Caminho: I had a bad experience there, but I had many friends who used this school and liked it. All of these friends eventually left the school and switched to a different language program.

Carioca Languages: This was my favorite school, and I would recommend to anyone. The material was interesting and relevant, and the teachers are all friendly and engaging. I went to this school for the longest period and loved it there. The only problem is that it is in Copacabana, which makes it hard to bike when it’s forty degrees outside. I think it's best if you find a language school close to your home or work.

Português Carioca: This school is great if you want to focus on pronunciation. The methodology is all about repetition. The things you learn in class tend to stay with you because you have said them over and over again. I found the material to move slowly, but the things I learned there have stuck with me.

The reason I am not fluent in Portuguese is that I was foolishly shy when in came to speaking, and it was all for no reason. This fear prohibited me from doing exactly what I needed to do, which was practice speaking to Brazilians. It was not until my third year in Rio that I got over my fear and just started speaking without caring how I sounded. I was able to conquer my fear with a healthy dose of public humiliation. My breakthrough moment was when I went to the beach with a bunch of gringos and just spoke Portuguese for an hour. I truly thought that the Brazilians around us would make fun of me, but that was not the case at all. No one cared about how we were speaking, not even one crazy glance or eye roll was thrown our way. Once I realized that no one cared, I took over the conversation and could not stop talking. It was like my body wanted to release three years of repressed language skills. Ever since that moment I have been trying to find ways to make learning a language more fun. Here are the fun ways I began to study Portuguese.

Duo Lingo: This “game” is great for helping you learn sentence structure. I think that it’s amazing for building vocabulary and does a good job of being repetitious without being annoy. It only takes about fifteen minutes and is a good way to start the day.

Brazilian Pod Class: This podcast has over 513 episodes for your to listen and practice. Will you learn tons of Portuguese? No. Will you get to listen to interesting topics that are relevant to your life? Absolutely. You will want to listen to some episodes of this podcast many times because they go into confusing words in Portuguese that tend to have many meanings.

MPB: It’s a radio station that plays popular Brazilian music.

Texting: One of the best tools for learning a language is to start texting your friends in their native language. I had one friend who just refused to speak English to me, and I incidentally picked up so much slang and new vocabulary just by texting him in Portuguese. Of course, I have to use Google translate for some words, but over time I just stopped using Google translate all together and survived on what I knew.

Telenovelas: It is great to watch TV in Brazil. The news is nice, but the newscasters can talk a bit fast at times. I think the Telenovelas are better because they characters speak much more slowly, and the plot lines are complete nonsense. You will find yourself repeating the phrases that the actors say so dramatically.

Porta dos Fundos: This I a comedy group based in Rio, and they have many videos on YouTube. They speak very fast, but you can turn on subtitles and follow along. I think that the videos are really funny and represent current Brazilian culture. If you watch these videos, you will get an insight to what Brazilian humor is.

The truth is that you will be able to learn enough Portuguese to survive in about three months. Many people get to a certain level and just never advance no matter how long they live in Brazil, so it’s important that you have fun learning. If learning feels like an obligation, then you will most likely not do your homework or use Google translate to do it for you. Relax and enjoy the learning process. Most importantly, never give up. Rio is so much more fun once you can start having conversations and making jokes with the locals."

Written by Nicholas Williams, blog columnist at Culturas. American citizen with a Master in International Marketing Management, Nicholas worked in Rio de Janeiro for four years and is currently living in Oslo.



New vlog episode: 5 basic social rules

VlogPosted by Marianna Mon, November 09, 2015 14:45:09

From punctuality to dress code: vlog episode number 7 brings 5 characteristics of Norwegian culture to keep an eye on. Take a look at the video and let us know your personal experience!

Plus, let's get in touch: we are also on Facebook and Instagram!

Survival guide of a Brazilian student in Oslo

NewsPosted by blog Wed, November 04, 2015 09:35:45

For those who are planning to study in Norway, we suggest to take a look on this site about a Brazilian student perspective of living in Oslo. Funny and down to the point, the blog gives recommendation on food, transportation and even touristic ideas with a low budget. Enjoy!

How important is to learn Norwegian

VlogPosted by blog Mon, November 02, 2015 16:05:24

One of the keys to better adapt in Norway is learning Norwegian. In the new episode, Vlog Culturas talks about the first steps to get in touch with the language and how it can affect your social and professional life once you moved to Norway.

Don't forget to follow us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook!

The Best Night Out in Rio

ArticlesPosted by blog Sun, November 01, 2015 20:37:17


"The moment that you tell your friends and family that you will be moving to Rio, they will start booking their tickets to come and visit. I personally felt like I was running a bed and breakfast the first two years I lived in Rio, but showing my guest a good time became routine. Here is my bulletproof plan for the best night out in Rio:

You will begin in the late afternoon by taking a taxi up to Santa Teresa. I recommend leaving by 15:00 to avoid rush hour, but I tend to be overly cautious about time. Have the taxi drop you off on the main street in Santa Teresa. It is there that you can walk around the shops of local artist and see all of the amazing architecture that Santa Teresa has to offer. Take your time and just enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. Once you have done all your sightseeing for the day, you can head on up to Santa Teresa Hotel.

Santa Teresa Hotel is spectacular. It looks like an amazing little oasis in a very urban area. Head to the bar area called Bar dos Descasados, and you will find one of the best bars in Rio de Janeiro. I found the atmosphere to be everything that you want in a bar; unique, dark, and social. When you walk into the bar, it looks like a cave but to the right is an open area where you can look out at the skyline of Rio. I would usually warn against ordering a specialty cocktail in Rio, besides caipirinha, but Bar dos Descasados can actually make any drink your heart desires. Have a few drinks and then head on up to Aprazível.

Aprazível is in a ten minutes walking distance from Santa Teresa Hotel, but it is ten minutes of walking up a hill. Aprazível specializes in food from the North of Brazil, and I have never been disappointed in my experience there. Every single thing on the menu is delicious, and the atmosphere is set up to make you feel like you are in the rain forest. You should really make a reservation at Aprazível between 20:30-21:00 to make sure you don’t have to wait. But, I think you should make reservations well in advance because you will want to sit in the tree house. To sit in the tree house you will need to have eight people in your party, but sitting up there will make you feel like royalty. At the end of your meal, you will have the decision to make; should you go home or should you continue on with your evening. No matter the choice, Aprazível has private cars to take you home or to your next destination. The private cars are slightly more expensive, but they are worth it because a cab would be almost impossible to get. If you do decide to continue on, I urge you to go to Rio Scenarium.

Rio Scenarium is a huge club in Lapa and draws in a mix of locals and tourist of all ages. There is usually a long line to get in, but the line moves very quickly. There are three floors once you get inside. The first floor has a live samba band, the second floor plays Brazilian funk music, and the third floor is a dining and smoking area. I usually would hang out on the first floor and try to dance samba at the beginning of the night, but I would always end up on the second floor whenever I was really ready to bust a move. Rio Scenarium has a way of making you loose track of time, so don’t be surprised if you leave around 4:00 am.

I have done this night more times than I can remember, but I guarantee you that your friends and family will remember it as their best day in Rio."

Written by Nicholas Williams, blog columnist at Culturas. American citizen with a Master in International Marketing Management, Nicholas worked in Rio de Janeiro for four years and is currently living in Oslo.



Culturas Vlog presents "Fredagstaco"!

VlogPosted by blog Mon, October 26, 2015 09:28:12

A modern tradition in Norway is to invite friends and family to eat tacos on Fridays.
In fact, if you go to the grocery store on Friday around 3 pm, it's extremely common to find people filling the shop basket with avocados, tortillas etc. In this new vlog episode, the series shows how easy it is to prepare a tacos' night. Take a look! Don't forget to follow us on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook!



Where to eat in Rio de Janeiro

ArticlesPosted by blog Sat, October 24, 2015 14:09:43



"It’s easy to go on TripAdvisor and find the opinions of others, but these opinions can be a collection of one-time experiences and not give an accurate representation. I encourage you to look at TripAdvisor when it comes to finding places to eat in Rio, but I want to make a list of places that I went all the time. These places became where I would take all of my visitors, and where I would go out to eat on any given night of the week. You will notice that the majority of these places are in Ipanema and Leblon. If you are a Norwegian moving to Rio, you will most likely live in these areas or visit them frequently. I will break up all of the restaurants by genre and link them to their TripAdvisor page.

· Mexican: Brazilians do not like spicy food, which is why Mexican food is not very popular in Rio. There are Mexican restaurants in Rio, but most are bland and can’t make a margarita to save their life. My recommendations are,

o Azteca in Ipanema. It’s a small place but has a great burrito.

o La Calaca in Leblon. They have great food, Taco Tuesday, and an amazing happy hour.

· Italian and French: I would normally not pair these two together, but it should be warned that the restaurants in Rio have a lot of trouble making sauces properly.

o Quadrucci is in Leblon. They have amazing lunch specials.

o Zuca is in Leblon. The food is French inspired, and it is good dependable place to go.

o CT Boucherie is in Leblon. This is one of the best restaurants in Rio, and was one of my favorite dinning experiences.

o Brigit’s is in Leblon and is French inspired.

· Pizza: Remember what I said about sauce? Yeah, that applies for pizza too. The pizza in Rio is usually covered with layers upon layers of cheese, but there are two really good options.

o Vezpa is throughout Rio and is my favorite pizza for delivery.

o Braz is in Jardim Botânico and is my favorite pizza for dining out.

· Thai: There are two great Thai restaurants in Rio.

o Nam Thai is in Leblon, and is one of my personal favorites. I went there almost every single week. It’s that good.

o Sawasdee is in Leblon and Ipanema, and is also really fantastic. It has a better atmosphere than Nam Thai, but the food is not as good.

· Japanese: There are several Japanese and sushi restaurants throughout the city, but they all very in quality. If the place is cheap, the sushi is probably not going to be that amazing.

o Origami is in Leblon and Gávea and was my go-to place for sushi. It was delicious, charming, and had a decent price.

o Sushi Leblon is in Leblon and is the place that everyone will recommend. I personally do not like Sushi Leblon, but there are many others who love it.

· Indian, Vietnamese, and Chinese: There is not a huge representation of “exotic” foods in Rio. I never found an Indian or Vietnamese restaurant in the four years that I lived there.

o Mr. Lam is in Lagoa and is the only Chinese restaurant worth going to. It’s expensive, but I think that it is worth the price.

· American

o Outback Steakhouse is throughout Rio and is extremely popular. As and American, I was shocked. Outback is not a place you go in the US, but it is really good in Rio. I ended up eating at Outback all the time.

o TT Burger is in Leblon and Ipanema. TT Burger is another restaurant that I did not like all that much, but other people loved it. As an American, I know how to make a really good burger, so I am maybe a little too critical in this area.

o OMG Lounge is in Leblon. It is a burger restaurant, but it has a cool vibe and great drinks.

· Arab

o Yalla is in Leblon and has quick delivery.

o Amir is in Copacabana and was my favorite Arab restaurant in Rio. It was worth the trip to Copacabana.

· Brazilian

o Garota de Ipanema is in Ipanema. It looks a little run down, but I guess that adds to the charm. This is the place I would go if I wanted Picanha.

o Restaurante Diagonal is in Leblon and is never crowded. I went here constantly and got to know the waiters. It was just a great place to people watch and eat good food.

o Via Sete is in Ipanema and is one of the most dependable places to eat. It’s always good.

o Aprazível is in Santa Teresa and is one of my favorite places in Rio. I will write more about it in another post about the best night out in Rio.

o Fogo de Chão is in Botafogo. Yes, it is a chain restaurant, but the food and atmosphere are better than the other churrascarias in Rio.

· Pastel and Juice

o BB Lanches is in Leblon. GO IMMEDIATELY!!!! The pastel com carne will change your life. I have a friend who freezes the Pastels and brings them to her children when she travels to Norway.

· Kilo Lunch

o Delirio Tropical is in Shopping Rio Sul, Ipanema, and Gávea, and is the best kilo restaurant in the city. It’s also really healthy.

o Icaro is in Shopping Rio Sul. It was the kilo restaurant that my husband went almost every day for lunch.

· Other

o Juice co. Lounge is in Leblon. They have good dependable food. You can take anyone there, and they will be able to find something they like on the menu.

o Jaeé is in Leblon and is the healthy option for fast food. They have good wraps and juices.

o Bar Astor is in Ipanema and is mostly a place to drink. They have great drinks, but their food is also good.

· Bakery

o Colher de Pau is in Leblon and is where I ordered my birthday cake every year. They have the best brigadeiro in town.

o Tilho Capixaba in Leblon and Gávea

o Kurt in Leblon"

Written by Nicholas Williams, blog columnist at Culturas. American citizen with a Master in International Marketing Management, Nicholas worked in Rio de Janeiro for four years and is currently living in Oslo.



II Brazilian Professional Meeting discusses new projects in Oslo

NewsPosted by Marianna Sat, October 24, 2015 14:02:51
More than 50 Brazilian professionals attended the event

Team Culturas held a presentation about cross cultural services


The II Professional Meeting was held on October 21st and gathered a group of Brazilians to talk about the future of the community network in Oslo.

Last 21st of October, BNCC, with the support of the Brazilian Embassy in Oslo and Culturas, organized the second meeting of Brazilian professionals in Norway. More than 50 professionals attended the event, demonstrating the strength of the Brazilian workforce gradually arriving to Norway.

This strength can be multiplied through the formation of an established community with common goals. BNCC has made itself available to collaborate in the structuring of this community since last year, inviting all Brazilian professionals to become members. We would like to thank participants for their presence and also invite those who did not have the chance to meet us to become a part of this group.

All interested Brazilian professionals are invited to become members of BNCC. In doing so, they will have access to the benefits of being a member of the network as whole, but also, will automatically be included in this community that works towards strengthening this network and bringing benefits to its Brazilian members more specifically.

The main goal of the second meeting was presenting the project to strength the business network among Brazilian professionals and companies in Norway, which started last year. In the occasion, the Ambassador of Brazil, HE Flavio Helmond Macieira welcomed the group while Culturas and Brazilian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (BNCC) held a brief presentation.

Right after, members of the community introduced themselves and talked about their experience with BNCC. The event was then followed by a happy hour session with tacos and drinks.

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