British expat in ‘challenging’ Sao Paulo says coming back to the UK was ‘traumatic’

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Andrew was living in Japan when he decided to go on a holiday to Brazil. When his bosses didn’t agree on his time off, he quit his job in Japan and moved to Brazil.

British expats may want to plan their relocation carefully, but Andrew just up and left.

Planning to stay in Sao Paulo until “my feet start to itch again”, Andrew first went to Brazil on a holiday and never left.

Moving to Brazil after Japan, Andrew said the “transition wasn’t difficult in comparison”.

He did, however, had to adapt to some very different behaviour.

He explained: “I did run into some erm… let’s call them challenges!

“The most interesting of these being with greetings.

“The Japanese and British aren’t nearly as familiar when it comes to acknowledging each other, this meant that I found the kissing and hugging aspect of Brazilian culture quite awkward at first!

“Actually, when I say quite awkward… what I really mean is very awkward!”

While the Briton was quite content in Brazil, he also had difficulty with making friends.

He said: “Meeting people isn’t too difficult in a city this size, but making friends was something I found a little harder.

“Brazilians are pretty friendly by nature though, so after plenty of perseverance and effort, I now have a small circle of Brazilian friends.

“I would say I spend an equal amount of time with my expat and Brazilian friends, and there is definitely a big overlap between the two.”

Life in Brazil required some adjustments, with “Brazilians having a completely different concept of time and punctuality” and the “less is more” approach to beachwear.

Andrew said: “Brazil is probably the only place people will give you funny looks for covering up your body with board shorts or big swimming costumes.

“It’s all about skimpy speedos and bikinis!”

British expats sometimes move in search of a cheaper lifestyle.

But Andrew said Sao Paulo was “an expensive city”, with some items “a lot more expensive than back in the UK”.

While his new home had issues with “crime, pollution and disorganised” and could “feel big, ugly and occasionally unfriendly”, Andrew was not planning to move back to the UK.

He said: “I came back to England for a couple of months where I stayed with my parents.

“To go from one of the largest cities in the world to a tiny village in the north of England was something I just couldn’t get used to.

“You can always find something going on in Sao Paulo at any time of day or night.

“So readjusting to a life in which the last bus into the centre of town was at 5.30pm, well… it was traumatic!”

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