The challenge was ambitious: grasp the fundamentals of Brazil’s culture and economy through an immersive week of meetings and tourism. Have we achieved our goals? Are we able to understand which are the challenges and opportunities Brazil will face in the next few years? As future managers, will we put at productive use our learnings by better handling business in Brazil?
The answer to these questions is not easy nor brief, thus we asked the executives of the companies we visited to provide some insights. Ana Corrêa do Lago, one of our hosts at Natura, defines the main challenge of Brazil as ‘Political stability and reinforcement of the green agenda’, while she highlights as the country main assets ‘People’s warmth and resilience, great modernist architecture (i.e. Brasilia), and outstanding and varied green landscape. Many countries assembled in one!’.
Indeed, Brazil is a multi-faceted country in terms of population, demographic, morphology and even cuisine. To navigate it, you need to understand the ‘Brazilian ABC’: the best of Brazil from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.
Açai – Now popular all over the world for its nutritional properties, this berry originally from Brazil is at best when eaten frozen, with few slices of banana on top.
Beleza – The cool way of saying ‘Hi’ among the youngest. The perfect start when you want to feel like a local.
Caipirinha – The national drink, made with cahaça and a zest of lemon, to be enjoyed from sunset to sunrise.
Dulche de leche – Argentinian will refuse to admit that Brazilians have mastered the recipe of ‘dulche de leche’, but this versatile dessert gets as delicious as it sounds.
Empanada – Forget the diet: bolhino, empanada and churros are only few of the many fried snacks that you will encounter. Totally worth the calories.
Farufa – The local version of ‘couscous’ and an alternative to ‘arroz’ (rice). Often served as a side in typical restaurants.
Gente – Literally translated as ‘People’, it is a popular way of addressing the crowd.
Havaianas – The most famous Brazilian brand: the colorful flip-flops are sold and worn literarily everywhere. Just one warning: it is impossible to restrain from buying them.
Ipanema – One of the most famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro, together with Copacabana and Leme. At Ipanema you can get the best view of the ‘brothers’: two rocks characterizing Rio’s skyline.
Leblond – One of the most beautiful and popular neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.
MASP – The biggest museum of São Paulo, hosting the largest collection of European arts in the Southern Hemisphere.
Não – Just to get the basics right, ‘não’ is ‘no’. In case you are wondering, its opposite is ‘Si’.
Obrigado – The first word you will learn and probably the only one you will master by the end of the trip. Works better when accompanied with a smile.
Pão de Açúcar – One of the greatest attractions in Rio de Janeiro. These twin mountains connected by a cable car are a great spot to get a 360 views of the city.
Queijo – … Or better, ‘Pão de Queijo’, are amazing cheese puffs you will be offered from breakfast to dinner.
Rio de Janeiro – No words can explain the beauty of this city: just add it to your bucket list and go check it out!
São Paulo – Paulisti will argue with Carioca on which is the most beautiful city of Brazil. While it is always worth abstaining from such a dispute, São Paulo is for sure the widely recognized business center of the country.
Telenovela – Telenovela and soccer are the favorite forms of entertainment of each Brazilian household. Worth watching one episode to understand why.
Ucuba – A precious seed growing in the Amazon now used in many moisturizers. Not (yet) able to make miracles, but it is as close as you can get.
Villa Madalena – A neighborhood famous for street arts, it is one of the unmissable spots in São Paulo. Mark your map.
Zouk – A traditional dance. Not as popular as the Brazilian ‘Samba’, but danced everywhere from nightclubs to Carnival parties.
~Alice Signori ‘18