• bjdemiranda

Differences between Canada and Brazil

I lived in Canada for 21 years of my life and I've been living here in Brazil for the last six years. In those six years, I've noticed some differences between life in Canada and Brazil. Some of those differences are obvious, like things relating to climate, and others are a little more subtle, like cultural differences. While there are plenty of differences between both countries I'm only going to highlight some of them- I'll save the others for a future blog post.


Warm vs cold culture


People in Canada are very polite and friendly, as are people in Brazil. But Canadians are colder than Brazilians. It's hard for me to describe exactly what that means so I'll explain with some examples. In Canada, when you meet someone you greet them with a handshake, in Brazil it's hugs and kisses. There is more touch here in Brazil and the people seem to be closer with one another. Even though Canadians are very friendly, the culture feels a little more formal. Maybe it's because Canadian winters are so cold and rigid so people are naturally a little more distant. Maybe it's because Brazil is a warm country and it's a latin culture so the people are also closer and warmer. Whatever the reason, this difference in culture is undeniable.


Teacher vs Mr. Murphy


I remember one of the first English classes I ever taught while I lived in Macaé. I was teaching a lesson about food to kids between 8-12 years old. We were going over the names of fruits and veggies in English when a little boy asked me a question, "tio como é falou 'eu gosto'?","Tio? I'm not your tio!", I replied before lecturing him about how inappropriate it was to call me tio! How dare he call me uncle, who does he think he is?! I was shocked. In Canada, a student would never call their teacher uncle or aunt. Like I said earlier Canadians are little more formal, and formality means students call teachers: Mr._______ or Ms.______. But here in Brazil there is no such formality, instead there is more intimacy and more of a familial relationship between students and their teachers. As such, I later learned that that little boy was not in fact being rude nor disrespectful, cultural norms are just different here in Brazil.

Another experience I had that really highlighted this difference was here in Florianópolis. I was teaching at an English school that offered after-school English classes at an elementary school. I would always arrive a few minutes before the students were dismissed and there was one teacher whose dismissal routine was quite unlike anything I had ever seen in Canada. Her students would line up at the end of class and, after dismissing them, she would give them each a hug and kiss before they went home.

That would NEVER happen in Canada. If a teacher in Canada did that with their students they would be thrown in jail!

Barbecue vs churrasco


When a Brazilian goes to a barbecue in Canada for the first time they better not get their hopes up! At a Brazilian barbecue there is picanha, chicken hearts, sausages, skewers, vinagrete, farofa, garlic bread and other assortments of meats. In Canada it's hotdogs and hamburgers. Of course there are people in Canada who take their grilling a little more seriously, but more often than not barbecues in Canada are quite lame compared to their Brazilian counterparts.


to highlight: destacar

"How dare he...": como ousa

elementary school: collegio

to dismiss: liberar

skewer: espetinho