Just a month ago, I returned from a 6 month study exchange in Brazil. It was part of my studies as I had to follow courses related to the ones I followed back home. I could have done this at many partner universities in the world, but I chose to do this in São Bernardo do Campo. This is a city that is part of the greater São Paulo metropolitan area.
The 2014 world cup showed us just how welcoming and tolerant the country of Brazil can be for all those that are lucky enough to travel there. Brazil is a vast and beautiful country, a melting pot for many different nationalities, cultures and traditions. Over half of Brazilians are connected to some form of European heritage and the amount of mixed ethnic backgrounds in Brazil is steadily growing year on year.
Maceio really is something else! It has everything — from a tropical climate with palm trees, lagoons, and clear blue ocean water, to delicious cuisine, friendly and welcoming locals, and endless cultural activities to enjoy, such as dancing the samba or forró while reveling in the city’s exciting nightlife. It is a simply amazing place to learn Portuguese!
And there’s no shortage of things to do once the morning lessons are over. The local food is fantastic – one of the most popular dishes from the area is “sururu”. Which is mussels cooked in a yummy coconut sauce. And somehow, it manages to taste even better when you have it at one of the beachside restaurants with awesome views! If you like, you can also visit a little village nearby called Massaguiera… But make sure you work up an appetite before you go – the village is known by everyone for its fresh seafood served in absolutely massive portions!… and it’s true! Of course if you don’t like seafood too much, Maceio has plenty of restaurants of it’s own… so eat your heart out… Just be prepared to come home from Maceio just tiny bit heavier than when you arrived!
I couldn’t have chosen better than Salvador da Bahia – a city with a tropical climate, beautiful beaches, a rich cultural and historical heritage, and joyful, welcoming people living a relaxed, easygoing lifestyle. I just returned from a Portuguese language course in Salvador, and this magnificent city on Brazil’s northeast coast has everything you could imagine… and more!
The first thing that I loved about Salvador was definitely the local cuisine which is specific to the region – Salvador is a seafood-lover’s paradise! I would highly recommend the moqueca, which is a large seafood stew that comes with crab, lobster, or shrimp, as well as a wide variety of vegetables… yummm! Also, do not leave Brazil without trying acarajé. It is the name for an amazing snack that originated in Western Africa: fried black-eyed pea fritters stuffed with delicious shrimp. Nowhere else will you find such an interesting, delectable mixture of African and Brazilian culture and cuisine than Salvador!
In June last year, a photographer called Steven Loos attended a 16 week Portuguese course in Maceio.
Although he originally went only to study and improve his language skills, he took part in a couple of volunteer projects, helping in a boy’s orphanage and a girl’s orphanage.
Originally asked by other volunteers to simply go and take some pictures, he had so much fun in the few hours he was with the children that he had to go back! “They’re too fun” he enthusiastically writes…