About Me

I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina and raised in London, England. My father was Brazilian so my entire family (a party of 4) eventually moved to the city of São Paulo and then the interior of the state of São Paulo, where my parents acquired a farm.

In a span of about 18 years, I moved to Ilhéus, Itacaré and Valença (Bahia), Florianópolis (Santa Catarina) and São Paulo (city) looking for the best place to live although my parents remained in SP. After meeting my current companion, having my second child, and working in a company in São Paulo, we decided to  return to Bahia, where we currently live.

I have been working in the fields of translation and education for more than 25 years, and currently coordinate my own team of translators and work part-time for a company that provides language courses and resources for students and teachers. My website for translations services is: http://translations.e-advance.com.br/

Reasons for starting this blog

Brazil is unique. Not only in size and diversity, but in almost everything. There is no place like Brazil on earth, which makes it very difficult to describe. I have always been a keen observer and critic so it seemed only natural to write about such an interesting topic. I hope this blog helps you if you are planning to move or have moved to Brazil for work or to find a better alternative for the future. Brazil is never what you expect so enjoy the ride.

My blog, my rules

I do not approve sarcastic or gringo-phobic comments because this blog is for foreigners and critics and observers of Brazil to air their views and vent their frustrations, not to criticize mine, unless criticism is very constructive and well-founded. I will re-edit and remove all contact information and business propositions or invitations from comments.

43 responses to “About Me

  1. Oi Cipriana,

    O seu blog é maravilhoso. Faz tempo que eu não moro no Brasil, mais a minha mulher é brasileira o que me permete ter parte do seu pais no meu coraçao todos os días. Estou te escrevendo porque a minha mulher quer abrir uma conta de não residente no Brasil e colocar parte das economias lá. Para isso pensa en fazer transferencias de até 10000 reais. Esta saindo para lá amanha com o pasaporte brasileiro e a identidade irlandesa dela e me pergunto si pedem muita mais documentaçao para abrir este tipo de contas. Tem alguma recomendaçao de bancos com boas tasas?

    Muito obrigado,

    Carlos

    Like

    • Obrigada pelo comentário. Se você pretende transferir ou retirar dinheiro da conta estando fora do Brasil, sempre abra uma conta num banco internacional. Eu gosto de Santander e HSBC. Mesmo você não tendo conta com eles, você pode usar o cartão do seu banco estrangeiro e retirar dinheiro do auto atendimento. Nunca uso um banco brasileiro se não mora no brasil. Bom, esse é meu conselho. Eles seguem outras regras e são menos transparentes na hora de transferir. Ela precisa de um CPF e algúm endereço (tem que levar comprovante). Com o passaporte já serve como identidade. Renda, ela diz que é autónoma. Ela também tem que pedir senhas para celular e internet, caso precisa olhar no conta estando fora, e um cartão de débito com o selo Maestro para pode retirar dinheiro de outro pais. Se precisar de mais info, me avise.

      Like

  2. Hi Cipriana, love your blog. I’ve got a question. I’ve been bequeathed some property in Rio. A relative is going to buy my share. Tax will be paid on my share, in Brazil. I’m not sure of the next step to transfer the money from Brazil to the UK. Do I need to open a Brazilian bank account? Or can my relative just write out a cheque which I take to my UK bank? Any advice would be appreciated. Kind regards, Cristina

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment Cristina. I’m no expert, but the sender in Brazil has to have an account somewhere to wire money to the UK. Either at a bank or a money transfer service. Brazilians are not too familiar with the international cashier’s cheque method, but you could tell the sender to find out if his/her bank offers this service. Not all banks accept them. I would use a transfer service, such as money corp or a Brazilian transfer service (rendimento or similar). The most important thing here is to check the exchange rate each bank or service will use and if there are any hidden fees.

      Like

  3. We are from the NGO Ecosustentável in Brazil. We are supposed to receive a donation from a foundation in Switzerland. The sent us a form to be filled; it has a lot of items besides the Swift number and IBAN number. Until now, nobody in Brazil knows the meaning of the rest of the items. We have to fill the form to be able to receive the donation. Could you help us to get the informations for the form? Thank you in advance

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    • Thanks for your comment. I presume by your comment that you have already figured out the IBAN and SWIFT, right? If not, look at the post from the beginning to calculate and find both of these codes. What is the other information they are asking for?

      Like

  4. Hi Cipriana,

    Great blog. Very informative.

    I was wondering if you could give me a hand. I need to know how much cash I can take out of Brazil in R$ without getting taxed? I’m going to the UK on the weekend and I’m bringing money I wanted to send via an international bank transfer doesn’t seem to work.

    Can you please advise?

    Thanks!

    Like

  5. Hi Cipriana,

    Your blog is very informative! I wanted to ask you a question about bringing cash out of Brazil. I’m travelling to the UK on the weekend, and I want to know how much R$ I can bring out of the country without paying tax on it (you know they love tax here!) Since it’s such a hassle to do an international bank transfer I find that it’s just easier to bring cash out with me, exchange it, and then deposit it myself when I get to the UK.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment.
      The maximum without hassle is 10,000 BRL. (see this link). Why doesn´t a wire transfer work for you? I am sending daily transfers to my sister without issues. You have to have an account in both countries but it´s worth it. Then you can also deposit in your account here and use a debit card in the UK (maestro, mostly).

      Like

  6. Hello Cipriana:
    I googled “bad education in Brazil” and your blog was the first on the list. I was born in Colombia, lived and study in Panama and my parents are Lebanese. I attended an American University and since 2010 I’ve been living in Brazil. I have a 30 month old daughter soon to enter school and I desperately need to know what is it that you did to help your children in acquiring the best education that schools in Brazil can’t offer. The education system in Brazil seems to be very similar to that of Panama. I had a lot of problems when I entered university. I live in a small city in Parana and hear about how bad English, Mathematics and Science subjects are in schools. I always thought my children deserve a better education than what I received but now I don’t know how I can help them except trying to personally give them extra lessons at home, which will be tiring for them and me. Please, any suggestions?

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    • Thanks for your comment Sara.
      Yes, education is bad in Brazil in general. Even Brazilians admit it although not everyone knows why. I truly believe it´s the method. Copy and memorize never worked for me. To educate my daughter, who has had lots of problems at school and doesn´t remember 90% of what they “present” at school, I suggest the following:
      1. Travel as much as possible and speak to your daughter in whichever second language or mother tongue you speak fluently. The fact that my daughter can already speak English and Portuguese is a plus, regardless of the quality of education at school.
      2. Buy good course books (school books and printed material. check my homeschooling page on facebook) and hire a private teacher. Here in Brazil they have what they call “banca” which is a person who charges little to help kids do their homework, etc. There are also teachers who help people learn to read and write. For 200/month you can hire a teacher to teach your child anyway you want. I am using this professional as a way to extend schooling hours and discuss topics studied at school. If my daughter is studying shapes, for example, I provide all the material for the teacher to explore shapes further.
      I hope this helps and let me know how it goes.
      Cipriana

      Like

  7. Hello, Cipriana, how are you?

    We have a channel on YouTube called Ziriguidum (https://www.youtube.com/user/ZiriguidumChannel). Our aim is to show how the REAL Brazil, without those old stereotypes of Carnival, Samba and Soccer. We want the gringos to know that Brazil is much more than cheap clichés and that we have a ziriguidum, hehe.

    As we are at the beginning, it would be nice if you could watch some of our videos and give us a feedback to know what you think of the idea. We are often reading your blog!

    If you enjoyed and want to continue to keep watching our brazilian adventures,
    follow our twitter https://twitter.com/TheZiriguidumBr and like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ziriguidum.brazil

    Cheers!

    Beijos,
    Erica and Rebeca.

    Like

  8. Hi Cipriana,
    I enjoyed reading your blog! I wanted to ask you something: Do you know people from Europe that immigrated to Brazil for work? I am currently looking for work, and I’d love to move to Brazil. However, I run into many challenges. I’d lover to speak to other people who’ve done this, so I can ask them for their experiences. There is way too much discouraging stories on the internet.. Could you please sent me an email if you have some info for me?
    Thank you! Anne

    Like

    • I just sent you an email. However, if anyone is reading this and wants to help, it would also be valuable to anyone else with the same problem or questions you have. Thanks!

      Like

    • Cipriana,
      your blog is quite lovely, I wish i had discovered it before I moved to Brazil. I am an American but came to Brazil from Spain as my husband has dual nationality. As an outsider it can be very difficult to find out information. Thankfully I had my husband to really show me the ropes. I would be happy to talk to anyone about my experiences as a non Brazilian trying trying to get settled here: (my husband although orginally Brazilian has lived outside for so long he is practically as green as I am in some matters) We are in the Interior of Parana in a city called Maringá. I must say i will be reading through your blog for a long time! Again great job..I was especially blown away by the details in teh money transfer section. Thanks for all your great work🙂

      Like

      • Thank you so much for your comment and the compliments. I have your email. Can I send you some questions to post for other readers? I am compiling some questions I hope others would like answers to or would like to know before coming to Brazil. Can I send them to you for you to answer in your own words?

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      • Monica I just found this blog doing research on Brazil. I work independantly for Mary Kay Inc and am being encouraged to travel to Brazil to recruit and train Consultants to open their own home based Mary Kay business. When there I may only have 2 or 3 weeks at a time to advertise, meet, and begin a training program. If the trust level between Brazillians take time what do you suggest the best way to meet groups of women and develop a great training relationship. Casual invites and gatherings or a more formal approach? From what i’ve read it seems that guests may only attend events if there are others there they already know? Is that true for business relationship?
        melinda

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        • Thanks for your comment Melinda. I have personally been to lots of Mary Kay meetings and fully understand your concern. I think the key is that the people you recruit have to be very popular, friendly and extroverted. Sometimes, professionalism is not the key to success in Brazil, especially when selling. Brazilian will not appreciate a cold, but incredibly professional consultant that might be popular in other countries. It is true that most women only go because they know the people that are attending, but I personally think that they are more likely to go if they know the consultant. From then on, those women will invite their friends and increase the network of “friends”, but I honestly believe that the key is the consultant. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Feel free to comment again.

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  9. Hi, I need some advice and hope someone can help regarding withdrawing my FGTS from the Caixa. I left Brazil 3 years ago and I am now entitled to withdraw the money.

    I live in Canada and will travel to Brazil in a couple of months. I have two questions:
    1. What will I need to bring to withdraw the money?
    2. Can the Caixa transfer money to a Canadian bank?

    Since my knowledge of Portuguese is limited it is very difficult to get information from the Caixa website. Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment. You will need to go to the Caixa personally with your PIS card, carteira de trabalho (work card) and ID. If you don´t have a PIS card, they will issue it for you. It´s just a piece of paper with your name and a number. There is also a government website that tells you the number if you input your CPF. Your PIS number is always in your work card or contract. It´s for collecting all types of benefits and more like a social security number than the so-called CPF.
      If you want to transfer the money, you will also have to do that personally at the bank. They will not do it without a physically present sender. Take all your bank account information, including swift. But, yes, all Brazilian banks wire money to overseas banks.
      Good luck.

      Like

      • Thank you very much for you prompt reply. I do have my PIS number but not a card. Just one more question if I may.
        Do I need a letter from my former company that I no longer work there? I would have assumed the carteira de trabalho would be sufficient.

        Thanks again, I have really enjoyed reading your website today and have shared with some friends.

        Like

        • Your former employer should have “dado de baixa” your carteira de trabalho. That means, he should have signed it and put the date that you stopped working for him. If he did not do this, he will be in trouble and will have to pay for all that time that has passed since your last payroll. If he did sign, the “baixa” in your carteira is enough. There are other papers your employee should have given you, like a list of everything he paid you when you stopped working for him (13th salary, holidays, fines if applicable, INSS, etc.). This is done by your employer´s accountant. Regardless, they do not ask you for that in the Caixa. Only carteira de trabalho and the PIS number.

          Like

          • Many thanks again, you have relieved me of a great of stress. Thanks for providing everyone a fantastic source of information.

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            • Hi, sorry, it’s me again. I was recently informed by a friend that I would also require a:
              Termo de Rescisão do Contrato de Trabalho (TRCT)
              I did not receive such a form. Will this be really necessary?
              Thanks again,

              Like

              • Thats what I meant by the statement with the values your employer has to pay you. The TRCT has to be provided by your former employer up to 15 days after the contract expires or you stop working for them. If it is not provided, your employer broke a labour law and must pay a fine per day after that 15-day period as well as other legal penalities. As you said you were entitled to receive your FGTS I thought you had this statement, as you cannot be entitled unless you have it. You are entitled to the FGTS for almost all reasons expect justified dismissal, and the TRCT specifies why you are no longer working for someone and all the amounts you must receive. When my husband went to get his FGTS, he had already presented this and only had to show his Carteira and PIS to actually get the money. If your employer did not give you this statement, you have to request it immediately. If you are a foreigner, they usually play around because not issuing the TRCT saves them a lot of money.

                Like

  10. Hello again Cipriana,
    I’m reading your ENTIRE blog, article after article, since yesterday and I must say THANKS. As a Brazilian-born and raised (although living in Europe for many years now) I’m so glad that somebody (“a gringa”🙂 is taking the “bad guy” part showing us WHAT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CAN DO, day by day, starting by the smallest things, for our amazing country instead of complaining that nothing works or happens or “the effort just doesn’t pay off”. Taking responsability for our (brazilian) citizenship, claiming for our rights and carrying out our duties… this would be a good start. And then, who knows, things would progressivelly change (as they already but slowly do) and we would really reach the status of a nation. We can be so enthusiastic patriotic and at the same time feel so separate from the wealthy and the governance and “all this people above us” (as my grandmother said) as of we live in different galaxies and not in the same country… We Brazilians have to lern the big difference between a COUNTRY (a beautiful one) and a NATION.

    Like

  11. hola! hace poco conoci a un amigo de brasil pero no puedo recordar su nombre y jamas volvi a saber nada de el alguien me podria ayudar a saber su nombre? ¿sólo recuerdo que estaba en portugues y significaba hombre del mar, dueño del mar, me comento que su mamá escucho ese nombre en lo rio de janerio porfavor ayudenme

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  12. Thanks. I checked your blog and noticed you wrote “moor” instead of “more”, unless it´s intentional of course😉
    Cheers and thanks again.

    Like

  13. Oi Cipriana! Tudo bem? Meu nome é Polyana e eu estou lançando um site com a rede My Destination para o estado de São Paulo! O My Destination é um guia Em breve, estarei buscando parceiros para me ajudar com conteúdo em inglês sobre o interior do estado, e vendo que você está próximo a Ribeirão Preto/Rio Preto, E escreve em inglês, acho que você poderia trazer muito para nós🙂 Além de todo o conteúdo muito bom que você já tem sobre ajuda com várias coisas sobre o Brasil, com uma ótima didática para estrangeiros. . Obrigada!

    Like

    • Oi Polyana,
      Obrigada pelo comentário. Posso te ajudar sim. É só enviar o material quando estiver pronto para passar ao inglês, ou me dizer que tipo de conteúdo pretende incluir no site. Tirei seu email do comentário para que não receba spam. Vou te enviar um email para que tenha o meu.

      Like

  14. I am looking for a Brazilian for a forex project. If you know someone who would like to make money simply buying money, would you please let me know?

    Like

  15. Dear Cipriana,
    Very much enjoying your blog – Long time reader, first time poster….
    Could you tell me where I can find the legal restrictions on a Brazilian citizen receiving money they won in an out of court settlement in a European court? In brief, they won a settlement but there was no judgment. Would it be enough for the Brazilian government that the European lawyer who represented this Brazilian citizen provide a signed document stating that the money comes from an out of court settlement of a legal dispute? Or would the Brazilian authorities require also something from the defendants in the case?

    I hope I’ve worded that clearly enough! If you could help that would be brilliant, if you can’t perhaps you could point me in the right direction?

    Best from Ireland,

    Rob

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment Rob, and thanks for reading my blog.
      Are you planning on transferring that amount bank-to-bank? If so, the bank you transfer to in Brazil will need proof of origin of the transfer. They are usually not very fussy about which proof you provide and in most private banks, the documents don´t even need to be translated. If you have a document that the payment was made, by whom and to whom, you should be ok. Get in touch with the exchange department of the bank you are going to transfer to (they always have one and contact is usually via email) and tell them about the situation and which documents you need so the money is not jammed for months in cyber space. When I wanted to send money out of Brazil to pay a translator, I only needed an invoice or contract (they accepted it in English). They keep these documents in case the Central Bank asks for them.
      Good luck and let me know how it went.

      Like

  16. Hello there!

    My name is Malte Zeeck, and I am with InterNations.org. I really enjoyed reading your fantastic blog! I think expats in Brazil and around the world could really gain some great insights [and have a few good laughs] on this page. The quality of the blog in general is very convincing, which is why I would love to feature you and your writing on the Recommended Blog on Brazil section on InterNations.org
    Not only do we feature and link to your blog prominently; we also would like to hear from you directly in our questionnaire! We have also designed a link badge for your blog.
    Best,
    Malte Zeeck

    Like

      • Rogerio, que eu saiba, ainda não tem escritório da Swift no Brasil.
        O único contato que tenho é este:
        SWIFT Sales Support
        support@swift.com
        Tel: +1 540 727 1797
        Fax: +1 540 825 7819
        Este contato é para América Latina.
        Veja o site com todos os contatos no mundo:

        Like

        • Dear Sir or Madam,
          I highly appreciate that you posted my comment but this was a way of contacting you. I would highly appreciate if you would delete the comment that I posted from this page.
          As I could be considered a spammer or would get spam mails at the email address mentioned in the comment.
          Regards
          Malte Zeeck

          Like

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