Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Experience the Culture of Brazil while Teaching
Brazil has many advantages for TEFL teachers and is a good choice for first time teachers, as well as seasoned veterans. Of course, of the many plusses are the weather, outdoor activities and the majesty of the Amazon. This goes hand in hand with the warm, vibrant atmosphere, positive culture and unique food. The process for getting work in Brazil can be different than other places in the world and many people say you should find work after you get there. The cost of living in Brazil is higher than other South American countries, but so is the pay, and in bigger cities, even more so. Below are just a few of the most amazing sights in Brazil, but we would love to hear your thoughts on more places to visit in the comments section.
Located in the North East of Bazil, Olinda is an historic city which draws travelers from all over the world. Classed as a world heritage site, the downtown features some of the best preserved colonial era buildings and just a stroll around is like a journey back in time. The locals are warm and hospitable, like the weather and the churches and downtown historic area are sights that have to be seen to be believed.
Also located in the North East, Salvador is the third biggest city in Brazil. As with many areas of Brazil, the local demographic help make up the rich culture of the city and it is well known for its music and food, both influenced by their African origins. As well as maintaining a lot of its original colonial architecture, the peninsula where Salvador is located is also famous for its diverse water sports and leisure activities due to the different types of beaches, surf spots and rock-pools.
No list of ‘Things to experience in Brazil’ can ignore Rio de Janeiro. It is a city surrounded by monuments, both natural and man-made, is rich in culture, diversity and history. When people picture the city, they immediately think of the 30m statue, Christ the Redeemer; a huge image of Jesus Christ with arms outstretched, looking down over the city from on top of Corcovado Mountain. Down in Guanabara bay, is Sugarloaf Mountain, both of which are famous landmarks in their own right. The night-life is second to none and a trip to Brazil is not complete until you go to Rio.
Rio de Janeiro
60% of the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, is located in Brazil. It is not a huge tourist draw card, as many people perceive it to be dangerous. However, if you do your research and travel with a local, these dangers can be avoided. This means you can get a real, natural experience in the rainforest without being swamped by tourists. You may be able to spot jaguars, birds, cougars, lizards, snakes and massive spiders among many other things in one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The best way to see it is to take a boat tour up the river.
While not exclusively Brazilian, they certainly do make Carnival their own. Every city as its own take on this 3-6 day party, but they are all fun, vibrant celebrations of music, colour and local pride. The massive parades are typically led by what are known as “Samba Schools”. Each neighborhood has its own party and the styles vary from region to region. These have deep cultural meaning for the people who take part in them, so while the party may be absolutely excellent, remember to respect everyone and party in moderation.
While most of the falls are found in Argentina, there are still plenty to see along the Iguazu river in Brazil. All up there are between 150-300 waterfalls at any given time and each one is between 60-80 meters tall. One of the best things about visiting the falls is that they are located close to the airport, which means it can be visited even on a short trip, or as that one last thing before you leave. The area relies on tourism as a source of income and due to recent investment in the national park means visitors can get up close to the stunning falls.
The capital city of Brazil and fastest growing city in the country, nothing exemplifies the diversity of Brazil like Brasilia. As a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis, Brasilia has incorporated sculpture into its architecture giving it a cityscape unlike any other. It is a business and business tourism hub so it caters to a wide variety of travelers and no matter what time of year you visit, you are bound to get swept up in the lively atmosphere of the city.
Deep in the west of Brazil are the Pantanal Wetlands. While less well known than the Amazon rainforest, it is certainly no less spectacular. It features an outstanding range of biodiversity depending on what time of year you go there. As a floodplain, it ranges from almost completely submerged in the wet season, to totally dry in the dry season. Different animals migrate to and from the area and different plants come into and out of bloom. As with the Amazon, it can be hard to find a good tour guide, but they are worth it.
Off the Eastern coast of Brazil is Fernando de Noronha; an archipelago of 21 picturesque islands. This is the perfect place to get away from the city of you are teaching in Sao Paulo, Rio, or Brasilia. Completely free from the non-stop lifestyle of the big cities, people travel to Fernando de Noronha from all over the world to drop beneath the waves and suspend time for a while. The archipelago is the top of a submerged mountain range and makes the perfect destination for a scuba diving vacation.
Fernando de Noronha
Built during the rubber boom of the late 1800’s a lot of money was flowing into the region and in 1896, the Amazon Theatre was opened in Manaus, deep in the heart of the rainforest. The Renaissance style architecture alone is astounding, however, it is the juxtaposition with the backdrop of the forest that is really amazing. Attending a performance by the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra is the ultimate way to experience this jewel of the rainforest.