Those Weird Brazilians! – A Norwegian in Brazil

After two articles about how weird Norwegians are in the eyes of a Brazilian (Those Weird Norwegians and Those Weird Norwegians II), it is time for revenge. Here are 18 surprising cultural differences, seen through the eyes of our employee Kaja: A Norwegian in Brazil.

  1. Brazil is so big that Norway can fit 22 times inside of the country.
  2. Cake is a normal breakfast dish.
  3. There is little that can compare to a good Brazilian hug, and it is totally normal to hug somebody as if you did not meet for 10 years, even though you meet in the office every day.
  4. It is common to find soft, sinking toilet seats that say “pffff..” when sitting down.
  5. Water of 18 degrees is considered so icy cold that none but the very bravest will swim.
  6. When camping in the wilderness you have to watch out for deadly frogs, snakes, spiders, scorpions and crazy army ants that can cut all your things into pieces.
  7. It is normal to be called «my darling», “my love”, «my son» etc. by a shop attendant or a stranger in the street.
  8. Cycling to work is not common, but it is common to have it as a hobby.
  9. If an unknown number calls, you should not accept the call, as it could be a prisoner calling from the jail.
  10. Brazilians love to shower – at least three times a day – even before and after spending the day swimming in a river or waterfall pool with water so clean that you could drink it.
  11. The nature often have opening and closing hours, and in some national parks you will be fined if you exit too late.
  12. It is normal for women to use a super tiny bikini, but it is considered very inappropriate to show your underwear publicly on the beach or for example on a hiking trip (sporty or “covering-more-than-the-bikini” underwear is no exception).
  13. It is not uncommon to encounter cash machines that are out of order because they have been blown up (thus, they are fitted with colour cartridges with hopes to prevent it).
  14. Prostitution is not illegal, but abortion is illegal and really frowned upon.
  15. Brazilians are so friendly that they will share whatever they have with you, either it is an egg, hamburger, or a spoon of the acai bowl from the stranger next to you in the hairdressing saloon.
  16. Disney World in Orlando is a dream destination for many adult Brazilians.
  17. Ladies often dress up and wear a lot of makeup when exploring beautiful nature destinations because the main (and sometimes sole) motivation is to take selfies or do photo shoots.
  18. When “r” is the first letter of a word, it is pronounced as “h” in Brazilian Portuguese, leading to some confusions when speaking English, such as “You got too much sun, you look very hed today” or if you ask somebody their music preference, they may reply “hock’n holl”, “happie” (rap) or “heggae”.


Kaja Knutsdotter Fjørtoft participates in an exchange project between HI Norway and HI Brazil. The project is funded by FK Norway.

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