Moving to a different country will always bring difficulties, but getting to know people in a similar position might ease the process. This article will cover the benefits that an expat community might have for newcomers.
Moving to Brazil and adapting to life in Brazil involves many cultural and practical obstacles, from learning a new language to explaining to children why they can no longer study with their current friends.
The latest official census in Brazil, released in 2010, showed that almost 287,000 foreigners had been living in Brazil for more than five years. This represented a growth of nearly 87% in comparison with the previous census from 2000. It is safe to assume that this growth has not stagnated.
Brazil has attracted many new expats over the past few years. Large developments in the offshore industry and renewable energy projects along with preparation for FIFA World Cup, in 2014, and the Summer Olympic Games, in 2016 have created strong business focused expat communities around the country.
It’s usually easy to find expat business communities in Brazil. There are a number of online resources available for such communities, for example, InterNations.org. The list below brings just some of the main benefits from engaging in these communities.
1. Knowledge and Know-How Exchange
Regardless of whether an expat is sent by a company to Brazil to establish a new subsidiary or to join a pre-existing local team, a whole different working environment will await them.
In this case, expatriates function as a link between the company who sent them and their new business environment. Their role is crucial as first contact with this new market, its practices and its economy become reality.
Being in contact with an established expat business community gives you an opportunity to learn from people who have first hand knowledge of how things work in Brazil. This can steer you clear of potential pitfuls and save you time by focusing less on the “how to do” and more on the “doing”.
There are plenty of people that already have experience with the hurdles of doing business in Brazil. Other expats are often willing to share their experiences and provide you with valuable insights and knowledge to help you overcome any hurdles you encounter.
2. Language and Cultural Integration
No matter how many hours are spent inside an office, the life of an expat is never just about work. It goes way beyond the business world, especially when the chosen country is Brazil.
There is a high chance that foreigners coming to Brazil have never spoken Portuguese - since it is the official language of just nine countries in the world. Staying in touch with an existing expat business community helps you understand how other people in similar situations have dealt with these issues, as well as providing important tips on learning Portuguese and teaching which words are most commonly used whilst working in Brazil.
Knowing more experienced expatriates will also help with understanding and integrating into the regional cultures, which is necessary for doing business in Brazil.
Brazil is a continental country and understanding the regional culture is important. For example, it is common knowledge that Brazilians are always late, however what’s socially accepted varies from city to city depending on the social context of the appointment. Many cultural differences are normally only detectable in daily living. Getting in touch with expats might help you avoid negative experiences while interacting with Brazilians.
3. Professional Networking
Exchanges amongst expats does not only benefits newcomers to Brazil. Networking is one of the most valued skills in the business world. After all, you can never say that you already know too many people.
Being a member of an expat business community allows foreigners to meet different professionals that may eventually become useful in a project or in a partnership. Meeting them in an environment where there are so many characteristics in common, like in this sort of community, may be even more beneficial.
This article was written in collaboration with InterNations.org, an international online community for people who live and work abroad. For more information, visit their website.