Brasilia, Brazil Report of what it's like to live there - 06/19/09

Personal Experiences from Brasilia, Brazil

Brasilia, Brazil 06/19/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes

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2. How long have you lived here?

2007-2009

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3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Miami to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Foriegn Service

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

GOV: If you have a family of three or more you are assigned a big house, and most of the houses have a pool and a big yard. Others stay in apartments that are very big, and some of them have pools. The average commute to work is 15 minutes. There is hardly any traffic here in Brasilia.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Okay.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Humidifiers for the dry season.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos Pizza, and other Brazilian fast food. The prices are similar to those in the U.S.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Ants in the house not a big problem.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

APO

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Full-time maids get an average of US$350 and up per month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Plenty

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Okay in Brasilia.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Brasilia International Baptist is all in english, and a Catholic church here gives Mass once a week in english.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

English on TV and at movie theaters.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Language is necessary. You can get by if you speak spanish.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

None

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Safe and affordable.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any kind for the city, but if you take road trips, the roads can get rugged.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes. Same as in U.S.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

No

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Good

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

They are hard to find, and you must speak portuguese.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Business casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime in Brasilia is very low compared to Rio, Sao Paulo, and Recife. In the past year we had a couple of homes that were burglarized.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No concerns, medical care is good.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Like living in South Florida. Two seasons, dry and rainy. Dry season is June - October and rainy season November - May.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Most of the kids attend either Brasilia International (BIS) or Brasilia American school (EAB) with about 600 students (about 80 Americans) mostly rich Brazilian kids and other international kids. The school was failing before I arrived, but has made a 180 degree turn around over the past four years. I have kids in pre-K, K, and 5th grade.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

The preschool we used was all Portuguese and only half a day. The American school accept kids 3 years and up.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Medium size.

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2. Morale among expats:

Families: good.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

The kids always have play dates or parties to go to. There nice resturants and clubs here.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Very good for families. Some singles here have a hard time.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Public parks, a amusement park, camping, waterfalls near-by, a hot springs park in driving distance, etc.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Cristals

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9. Can you save money?

Yes

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, my family doesn't want to leave.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

coats, but bring your light jackets for dry/winter season.

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3. But don't forget your:

toys for birthday gifts. Toys, shoes, and elctronics are expensive here.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

City of God

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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