Within the framework of AWARE, I completed my internship semester at the CERTI research institute in Florianópolis from August to December 2016. My internship at the Center for Renewable Energies there was exciting and I learned a lot about smart grids. I also had the opportunity to participate in the development and installation of one of the first electric filling stations in Brazil. This gave me not only an insight into the Brazilian working world, but also enabled me to make many contacts with Brazilians.
My decision to go to Brazil was very spontaneous and I had no idea what to expect in Florianópolis. In the end, my expectations were exceeded by far and I landed on the island of Santa Catarina, which is a paradise in many ways. In the testimonies of the former AWARE students, you can already find many tips for Floripa. Therefore I would like to focus my report on the Brazilian mentality and introduce the unique culture of Brazil a little bit.
Brasileiros são comunicativos e alegres
Brazilians are communicative and cheerful
The fact that Brazilians are very sociable and impulsive can be seen from the warm welcome rituals in Brazil. These include not only the obligatory "Beijinhos" - kisses on the cheek between man and woman, but also a casual handshake with an "Oi, tudo bem?", which means something like "Hey, everything okay with you?" Brazilians are open-minded towards foreigners and they love to chat a bit. Moreover, their attitude towards life is very relaxed and their composure with regard to the future is enviable. In Brazil, people laugh a lot and because of their enthusiasm, Brazilians are often called the most optimistic people in the world. At the same time they are filled with pride in their ancestry and identity - a mix of Indians, Africans and Europeans.
O famoso “jeitinho brasileiro”
The famous Brazilian skill
The term "jeitinho brasileiro" refers to the creative way in which Brazilians solve problems and overcome obstacles in an unconventional way. In fact, Brazilians possess a distinct inventive spirit and are masters of improvisation. For example, my Brazilian friends' car didn't have a roof rack, so we simply strapped the surfboards directly onto the car roof and put the seatbelt through the windows. In addition, a lot of the furniture in our house was custom-made and my Brazilian roommate even became my favorite hairdresser, since he gave me a new, stylish haircut without any hairdresser training, but with full commitment and great care.
Samba no coração e ritmo no sangue
Samba in the heart and rhythm in the blood
Brazil is perhaps the most music-obsessed country in the world. There is a great variety of styles such as Forró, Sertanejo, Bossa Nova or Axé. The most famous is the Samba. Almost all Brazilians, especially the Brazilian women, like to dance and can move well. Often it seems that she has rhythm in her blood and almost every moment is an opportunity for her to dance and sing. Even as a gringo, i.e. as a foreigner, one is asked to dance along and so I too have often enjoyed spontaneous dance classes. Music is part of the attitude towards life here and is an integral part of every Brazilian's life. It is not about perfection, but rather a broad sound basis is created by numerous percussion instruments and everyone is invited to dance and sing along. An example of this is the popular Capoeira, a mix of martial arts, dance and acrobatics. .
O país do Carnaval
The land of carnival
Carnival in Brazil is one of the biggest parties in the world. We celebrate not only in Rio, but also in many other places in Brazil. Whether young or old, poor or rich, everyone dances, drinks and celebrates until they drop. These celebrations are an expression of Brazilian joie de vivre and offer the chance to forget all your problems for a week and get carried away in a carefree, exuberant festive mood. Brazilians love to party and love to have many people around them. This can also be seen in the fact that they like to organize a "Churrasco" - a social barbecue. A Brazilian friend invited me to her birthday party, which was attended by her friends, her whole family and the neighbors. Then the whole afternoon and evening was spent eating, drinking and laughing. Of course the Brazilian national drink "Caipirinha", which is mixed from sugar cane schnapps, squeezed limes, white sugar and ice cubes, should not be missing.
A culinária do Brasil
The Brazilian cuisine
Brazil is a country with a diverse and fascinating food culture. The national dish "feijoada" is a hearty bean stew with dried meat, smoked sausages and numerous other ingredients, served with rice and roasted cassava flour. Typical dishes of the northeastern cuisine are "Moqueca", a stew of fish or seafood, coconut milk, palm oil and tomatoes, as well as my absolute favorite dish "Acaraje". The main ingredient of this street food dish are peeled and ground eye-peas, which are processed into a dough, formed into balls and fried in palm oil. For consumption, they are usually sliced and filled with spice pastes, tomato salad and shrimp. For dessert, one can enjoy a "brigadeiro" - a kind of truffle praline or a cup of "açaí" ice cream made from the Amazonian berries of the same name. Brazilian cuisine really does have a dish to suit every taste.
As maravilhas da natureza do Brasil
The natural wonders of Brazil
Brazil offers a variety of breathtaking natural spectacles. Nowhere else can you find so much nature, so wide landscapes, so untouched green as here. On the coast you will find dream beaches and a multitude of paradisiacal islands. In Florianópolis there is even a unique sand dune landscape, where we made a campfire every now and then. Like the Brazilians, I was often impressed by the natural beauty of their country. There is almost nothing more beautiful than taking a "trilha", a small hike through the wilderness, to reach an untouched sandy beach. In the interior of the country, one of the Amazon rain fields and many impressive nature parks such as the Chapada Diamantina are waiting for you, where you can hike very well. Furthermore, a part of the world-famous Iguaçu waterfalls is located in Brazil and you should not miss this natural wonder. Rio de Janeiro's location is also dreamlike, embedded in a unique hilly landscape and situated at miles of sandy beaches where the waves break and offer a welcome refreshment.
Brasileiros são “early adopters“
Brazilians are Early Adopters
There are many people in Brazil who are enthusiastic about new technologies. For example, the mobility app on private chauffeur services has established itself very quickly and this system even works in the favelas. Many universities have "Empresas Juniores" - small student companies in which students from different faculties work together on projects and can thus gain experience for their future professional life. For this reason, the number of start ups in Brazil is increasing continuously. I could also feel the enthusiasm for technology of the Brazilians in my department. There was a great deal of interest in electromobility there, and they looked at the possibilities of this new drive concept without any preconceived ideas. The many young people in Brazil have great potential, as they are easily enthusiastic and enjoy working in a team.
In the meantime, I have even been able to make friends with a few Brazilians who are currently studying and working in Ingolstadt, so I can practice my Portuguese a bit. I would like to add that you don't have to be afraid of communication problems in Brazil, because Brazilians like to talk with their hands and feet anyway. In no case should the language barrier prevent you from having an adventure in Brazil. There are few countries in the world with a comparable welcome culture, according to the motto “Seja bem-vindo no Brasil!”.
AWARE makes an important contribution to the intercultural networking of the TH Ingolstadt with universities and companies in Southern Brazil. I can only encourage you to get involved with AWARE and contribute to the THI presenting itself as an international and versatile university. Finally, I would like to thank the whole AWARE network once again, especially Anne-Sophie Lohmeier, Manuel Steidle and my colleagues at CERTI.
Johannes Walter, Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at THI