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Expats Experiences - SAO PAULO

#1 Perspective of a Belgian

I am a 28 year old Belgian living in São Paulo since 2012. I married my Brazilian wife when I was finishing my university studies in Belgium and got my first job here at SP in Marketing. Now I lead a team of marketing professionals in a 4 year old "startup" with around 50 employees. I love São Paulo. It has everything you could want, 24/7. It doesn't look great, but the people here make up for it and then some. They are all very friendly and welcoming to the gringos. There is a lot of violence but I have never been a victim. I think only by paying attention can you get by pretty safely! And I drive a used armored car, which makes me feel even safer than in Brussels, my home country. The traffic is not much worse than Antwerp or Brussels. And I live close to my work. The food here is great. And thinking in dollars or euros it is also cheap. Unfortunately my salary is in Reais. Another big part is culture and access to art. There are some great museums and exhibits. They have become very popular, often gathering huge ranks. The only thing I miss here is the colder weather. It's quite fun to see people in coats though when it's 20 degrees Celsius outside. I definitely recommend SP if you are thinking of living abroad. SOURCE: Gregory Goris, Quora

#2 São Paulo today

First of all, São Paulo (SP) is a multicultural city with 12 million inhabitants. For example, it has the largest concentration of Japanese outside of Japan (more than 1 million) plus other people from China, Korea, Europe, and other South American countries. It doesn't compare to New York City, but São Paulo never sleeps either. I think when moving to another country you have to have an open mind and recognize that you are in another country with different ways of living. For example, traffic in São Paulo is generally chaotic depending on the region, there are many “bikers” driving like crazy in the middle of cars. There are few drivers who respect the crosswalk lanes, so you should search both sides of the street first. Is there violence? Yes, but comparable to other big cities in the world. There is a great contrast between poverty and wealth; there are districts comparable to Europe and others to the poor side of Africa. On the other hand, Sao Paulo is the cultural center of Latin America, it has an incredible food scene, fantastic and unique bakeries and a good metro system. For a Brazilian, São Paulo is an expensive city, but when compared to the prices in the US and some European countries, the cost of living is lower. There is an American journalist named Matthew Shirts who works for National Geographic in Brazil, has lived there since 1976 and is a good reference to talk about Brazil and its peculiarities. To keep in mind, it is common for Brazilians to contact other people with kisses and hugs, unlike the US or Europe. Most relationships of all kinds in Brazil begin with a kiss, as opposed to the American custom of simple handshakes or nods; In São Paulo, for example, it is customary to give the other person a single kiss when meeting them. That is all. It is a happy people, willing to help you. SOURCE: Douglas DePaula e Silva, Quora

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