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Learning Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro

Articles Posted on 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

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

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

Vlog Posted on 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

News Posted on 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

Vlog Posted on 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

Articles Posted on 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
. 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

Santa Teresa
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.

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.

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”!

Vlog Posted on 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

Articles Posted on 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.

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,

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

in Leblon. They have great food, Taco Tuesday, and an amazing happy

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.

is in Leblon. They have amazing lunch specials.

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

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

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.

is throughout Rio and is my favorite pizza for delivery.

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

There are two great Thai restaurants in Rio.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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


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.

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.

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


is in Leblon and has quick delivery.

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


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

and Juice

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.


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

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


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.

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

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


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

in Leblon and Gávea

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

News Posted on 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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