We have officially discovered the best topic for discussions in our teaching sessions.
While sometimes controversial and uncomfortable, for both Brasilians and foreigners alike it does really bring out some interesting topics that everyone can contribute to (although still not everyone is!)
Me and Matthias have now done the same stereotype session six times telling the same jokes each time. Basically we take it in turns to discuss a German stereotype, then a British one, then the stereotypes we had of Brasil before we came.
It would appear its difficult to convince people that German isn’t a horrible language (pen in German = Kugelschreiber) and that Brits are all posh (they have Downton Abbey over here!)
The best things to talk about are our Brasilian stereotypes of football, carneval, samba, beaches, beautiful people… And some uncomfortable topics of poverty and crime. Each group is slightly different with some agreeing on some stereotypes and not on others. Not many Brasilians enjoy the carneval, and I think we’ve only had one person who has actually seen the carneval as they only really do the big parades and competition in Rio and São Paulo.
It throws up some intriguing conversations about excessive skin baring, music and the idea of the tradition. Many ‘Brasilians’ have some non Brasilian ancestry with a lot of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese grandparents which I guess adds to the fact that not everyone here looks like what I thought Brasilian people looked like.
Its also really easy to make comparisons between Northern Europe (as we figured German and British stereotypes overlap a lot) and Latin America particularly with food and especially beer.
Being a typical blonde, blue-eyed German economist student, stats and graphs did come out. How efficient.
Often the best part of each session is when one of the Brasilian students brings up a stereotype we have never heard of for our own countries. Apparently Germans have awful teeth and Brits drink warm beer? Also we both only eat potatoes. And ginger hair is common in England?
We just end up assuming they have mixed up their euro counties. Although in pretty sure nobody drinks warm beer…
The session normally ends up with everyone agreeing Americans are stupid.
Today is Wednesday so yesterday evening we had a German girl from AIESEC join our session. She’s on an AIESEC mission to recruit engineering students for GIPs (work placements for non aiesec-ers) in Germany and was in Maringá for just a few days. It was interesting as she was also blonde with blue eyes. Despite Matthias trying to convince Brasil that its not so common.
But a 3rd European in the session did add another dimension particularly to the whole, Brasil has beautiful women and in Europe we don’t care about being beautiful or clean. We did manage to convince most of them that we do in fact shower everyday and go to the dentist.
Tonight we are off to another AIESEC promo event, where I think they just to attract new members with good looking foreigners.
We’re also finally getting round to organising our next mini adventure out of Maringá, to visit Curitiba and Florianopolis. More updates on that as the happen… “Breaking News” style. Matthias wants to drive part of the way so we are looking into that as a possibility instead of spending another night in a bus instead of in a real bed.
Should be nice to spend some time away from maringa seeing different cities. And beaches. I feel like I know about Curitiba from urban planning lesson at A-level geography but we shall see how much I know (or don’t).
To see a beach will also be a welcome treat from the distinctly Southern Europe style grass and red soil in Maringa. Unfortunately there is a Praia de Ingleses in Florianopolis which in keen to avoid, despite my guide book ( now referred to as the holy book post Foz Do Iguacu) saying it was the most popular.
I may yet get a tan in Brasil!
Until whenever next time might be…