Brazil – more than football and samba!

Tomorrow Brazilians have their Independence Day – congratulations! Here in CERG we are so fortunate to have several researchers from Brazil, so let’s spend the opportunity to get to know them a little bit better. I challenged post doc Marcia Alves to tell more about her homeland, and the experiences of researching here at NTNU. 

It is our national day tomorrow, but it is not like May 17th in Norway, with big celebration throughout cities. In Brazil, it is almost like a normal Sunday. However, we celebrate a lot in the rest of the year! You have probably heard about Brazilian Carnival, football, samba… but, what else do you know about Brazil?

Brazil is an extremely huge country and its population is nowadays close to 197 million. It is ranked as  the third greatest fruit producer in the world with exporting tons of orange, banana, coconut, pineapple, papaya, cashew, cashew nuts (did you know that the nuts comes from the fruit?) and Brazilian nuts. Coffee is the national beverage, and the vodka or aquavit from Brazil is called cachaca (destilled from sugar cane) and it is used for preparing the traditional caipirinha. Others snacks that one may find in any corner bar in Brazil includes cheese buns (ostebolle, prepared in Ni Muser, Trondheim, Brazilian like recipe), and pasteis, coxinhas, rissólis (from Polish cuisine) and many others.

If you want to know more, you may find a Brazilian in your way since more and more Brazilians are coming to Norway to work on research. At NTNU Cardiac Exercise Research (CERG) group, Brazilians already make up 7 out of approximately 50. What brings Brazilians to such a  different place so far away?

Most Brazilians from the CERG group comes from Sao Paulo. The city have 15 million circulating persons each day, they may take up to 3 hours to their work, they see cars accident almost every day, and at work, they share a crowded lab space or prefer instead to work until late at night. Additionally, they may work twice as much as here to get the same results due to closer and better facilities found here. On the other hand, Sao Paulo has some of the best restaurants in the world, a nice climate, and a quite good social and cultural life.

When in Norway, Brazilians experience a completely opposite way of life. For instance, they are offered a quite higher salary, but at the same time, a much more expensive life. They can bike or walk to work (not as easily as Norwegians though, especially during winter), and they have a peaceful life during and after work. And a great thing is that Brazilians tend to be healthier in Norway, trying to follow the healthy Norwegians!

How do Norwegians feel about Brazilians? Probably, for NTNU and Norwegians, it may sometimes be annoying to have to speak and write more English. But, if you get to know a Brazilian you realize that they (almost always) may know some good technics, and they will be glad to help anyone with enthusiasm and good humor. Have a try!

An exchange program between the university of Sao Paulo and NTNU is under planning, and we look forward to get to know more Brazilians in the future.