7 Things the World Can Learn From Brazil

The World Cup ended in disappointment for Brazil, but offered the world a good image of the country — at least to the foreigners that came to the event. According to government data, Brazil hosted more than 1 million “gringos” coming from 203 different countries, and 95 percent of them intend to visit the country again.

Here are 7 things the rest of the world can learn from Brazil and its people.

They have a rich literary tradition

Our literature is a treasure that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Abroad, meanwhile, our writers are revered. Recently, the Guardian wrote about authors made ​​in Brazil and declared the country is as good in producing books as it is in playing soccer. And our best writer is Machado de Assis, who studied at universities outside Brazil and is on literary critic Harold Bloom’s list of 100 geniuses, alongside writers such as Dante Alighieri, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. In addition, Bloom elected our Machadão (great Machado) “the greatest black writer in the West.” A writer who, perhaps unknowingly, described the Brazilian spirit so well when he wrote: “The art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil”. This serves as a lesson not only to Brazilians, but also to the whole world.

They offer a lifeline to their most vulnerable

bolsa familia
While some criticize it for being government assistance, others praise its results. Notwithstanding, Bolsa Familia, a national welfare program that gives financial aid to poor families on the condition that children go to school and get vaccinated, has been widely praised for offering a lifeline to struggling Brazilians. As The Economist notes, the city of New York has adopted a similar model. Thanks in part to the program, 36 million Brazilians have been lifted out of extreme poverty.

They help each other in times of crisis

brazil jan 2011 floods
In January 2011, 916 people died in a hilly region of Rio de Janeiro due to floods and landslides, and 345 remain missing. It was one of the biggest disasters in the history of the country, and soon the whole country started to organize to help the survivors — donating food, clothing, medicine and labor. The Red Cross had to stop accepting new donations; in addition, donations to bank accounts totaled 31 million reais.

They know how to party

festa junina

If “gringos” think the only popular celebration in Brazil is Carnival, they are seriously mistaken. When June arrives along with cold weather, the whole country puts on plaid shirts and straw hats to square dance, jump campfires and eat the best regional delicacies ever made. Eating paçoquinha (a sweet made with peanuts), canjica(hominy) and rice pudding, and drinking quentão (mulled cachaça) and mulled wine are things that the whole world should experience — more than once!

They will stop everything for a cup of coffee

brazil cafeNo matter the time, the amount of work stacked on the desk or the concentration given to an Excel spreadsheet, it’s always time for a cup of coffee. These breaks are not considered a waste of time, but a time to socialize, to discuss ideas and, who knows, maybe to find solutions for that work stacked on the desk. The spontaneity with which Brazilians stop the world to have coffee with a coworker is not common in other countries.

They’re eternally optimistic

Brazilians are a people of faith, who believe that everything has a solution. Tomorrow will be a better day than today. Regardless of the crisis or the despair it engenders, they always bet that the future holds something better. To be Brazilian is to be an optimist by nature.

“What’s mine is yours”

caipirinhaIn Brazil, when someone makes a caipirinha, everybody drinks it. It’s customary to order a round of beer to share with friends at a bar and share a pizza with two, three, or eight people. In some countries, it is common for everyone to have his or her own food or drink. Not here. In Brazil, you share.


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