Differences Between the US & Brazil

Written by Tatiana Aviles Andino, (Syracuse University) Student Correspondent Brazilian Studies & Portuguese Language in São Paulo, Fall 2015

Capture2There is definitely a sense of adventure when you wander off to live in another country, that’s how I felt coming to Brazil. The first few weeks in Sao Paulo were filled with energy and adrenaline because everything seemed fascinating. After some time, and lots of embarrassing mistakes, I started to know the Brazilian culture, which is very similar to my Puerto Rican roots, but more different from the American culture. Here are some of those differences that I’ve found so far here in Brazil.


Sense of Space:

Brazilians, as other Latino cultures, are very friendly and affectionate towards each other. They will greet you with a kiss on the cheek and will come really close while they talk to you. The concept of personal space is not as common as in the US. Although it might be shocking at first for a foreigner, it’s also nice to feel from the very beginning you meet them.



A lot of Brazilians don’t have a sense of hurry and are more patient than Americans. Their concept of time is different, so a lot of people are not as punctual as in the US. For example, some professors and students may come 15 to 20 minutes after class was supposed to start.2015 Fall-group shot_Tatiana Aviles Andino


Free Health Care:

Isn’t this amazing? And it covers foreigners too!! Contrary to the US, in Brazil you don’t need any type of health care plan, you can just go to a public hospital or doctor and they will attend you free of charge.


Teeth Are Important:

Most Brazilians have a toothbrush and toothpaste in their bag to take it whenever they go. So don’t be weirded out if there is someone in the public restroom brushing their teeth after they had a meal.


No Tipping:

In the US, although not mandatory, most people feel obligated to pay a tip for some services. Here in Brazil, people usually don’t tip for anything. Some restaurants might charge a service fee, but most people (taxi driver, delivery man, etc.) won’t expect anything from you.


Capture3Lunch & Dinner:

Lunch is the most important meal of the day for Brazilians. It’s also more common to have dinner at around 9pm, so don’t be surprised if a restaurant is completely empty at 6pm.



These small restaurants are my favorite because they are one of the cheapest option, the food is delicious and you get to eat a lot. They usually sell rice, beans and your choice of meat or chicken.