Interview with Luciana

The first interview for AMEB. Here will be little windows into what it is like to live in Brazil and/or be Brazilian. Today, I have my friend from Rio de Janeiro, Luciana. Enjoy and please comment below!



Where did you grow up in Brazil?

 – I was born in Manaus (Amazonas state), but moved to Petrópolis (Rio de Janeiro state) when I was 7 years-old and lived there until I turn 18. Then I moved to Rio de Janeiro for my Law studies at the State University and I have been living in Rio since then (I am 29 now).


What is your profession?

 – I had graduated in Law in 2006, but right now I am a receptionist at a hostel in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro city.



Which languages do you speak?

– I speak Portuguese and English, and also have some knowledge of Spanish.



How did you learn English?

– I have joined English courses when I was 11 years-old, but English has been part of my life long time before that. My first lessons came from home with my mom and older brother. I still can remember my mom teaching me how to sing “I just called to say I love” and my older brother teaching me how to count until 10. My mother was always encouraging me to learn English and music was also really important in this process of learning another language. I was always trying to learn songs in English and trying to learn the lyrics by only listenning to the music. Back at that time, there was no google or internet tools to give me the lyrics right away, so I had to learn the lyrics by only listenning to the same song over and over again. Then I went to US in a High School student program. I lived for 6 months in Florida and that helped improving my English skills.  


What is your cultural/ethnic background?

– I am Brazilian, so I am pretty much a little bit of everything 🙂 There is a little bit of Brazilian natives, black, arab, but it is mostly from Portugal.


Favorite place in Brazil?

– Rio de Janeiro!





How can you tell that a person is a gringo/gringa – minus language?

– Usually by the way the person looks. The physical appearance, the clothes and the havaianas tell a lot if the person is or isint a gringo.



How has Brazil changed over the years?

– The world has changed a lot over the years and it couldn’t be different to Brazil. We still have the same problems of corruption, precarius education and health systems for the majority of people, but I believe some things in Brazil have improved along the past years. The economy got better, and the people of lower classes now have more access to goods and technology than they had before. The bad thing is that the prices are getting higher when compaired to the rest of Latin America: real state properties, rents and even food are getting more expensive, specially in Rio de Janeiro. Despite that, we have more jobs now and the tourism is getting better and better.



Could you see yourself living anywhere else? (Outside your current

city or abroad)

– I love Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, but I could live abroad again. I guess it could be anywhere near the ocean. My great passion is Portugal, so it would be easy living there (specially up north and at the city of Porto). 


How did we meet?

– That is an interesting question… We have a common friend named Claudio. You have rented an apartment for Carnival days, but you would still need a place to stay for your first night in Rio before going to the apartment, so Claudio asked me if I could help you somehow. So we have talked online and you stayed one night at my house 🙂



What made you give up Law to go into the tourism industry?

– When I was 18 years, I had to decide what I was going to study at the University. I thought about Tourism, but back then there was not that much talking about Tourism and there were no public course of Tourism in Rio de Janeiro, so I ended up joining the Law University. I studied Law for 5 years and worked for more 5 years as a Lawyer, but have always kept myself informed about what was going on in Tourism. On November, 2011, I finally decied to leave Law behind and start my studies on Tourism. Since I don’t have any experience on the area or further studies on that, I started working in a hostel. I am happier now than ever in my life, and I can’t see myself working again in Law. However, I have no regrets about Law and I think it was really important for my education and my background.



How was your experience in the US?

– It was really good. I have met very nice people there and have great memories from US. I miss the people, the roads, the nice smell of most of the stores and I really miss some food! I hope I can go back to US and have the chance to visit more of this huge country. 


What is your biggest annoyance about visitors?

– When they don’t respect the hostel rules. It is not really common that they do disrepect the rules, but this is really what spoils my mood.


Favorite foreigners? (country)

– It is a difficult question… I still haven’t had enough guests to have a favorite nationality. 


Advice to future visitors coming to Brazil?

– I see some people bringing lots of clothes to Brazil, and later they tell me they didn’t use most of them. We are talking about a tropical country with the most relaxing and easygoing environment, so don’t worry about bringing too many things. All you will need is some light clothes and comfortable shoes or sandals. Come here with open mind and enjoy the place 🙂




Getting to Brazil: Visa

For those that are interested in visiting Brazil, I decided to talk about the process of obtaining a visa and clearly any confusion about why American citizens must get a visa before entering the country.

Unlike when traveling to Europe or other parts of Central and South America, US citizens need to an official tourist visa to enter the country. The reason for this is that the Brazilian government policy of reciprocity. The US government requires all Brazilian citizens to have a visa in order to enter the US and this visa costs about 140 dollars. So Brazilian responds to this policy by requiring the same of US citizens. This is very understandable and fair, atleast I think so, and it is still a far much easier process for US citizens compared to Brazilians.

The process for obtaining a visa is as follows:

a) have a valid passport;

b) a return ticket (return must be booked);

c) evidence of having enough financial resources to pay for their expenses during their stay in Brazil. The individual should allocate at least R$ 170, 00 for daily expenses. Examples of documents accepted as evidence: a credit card and its last invoice where the credit limit can be assessed;

d) if the tourist is staying in a hotel: evidence/receipt of the booking, or

e) in case the individual is staying with a host family: an invitation letter  from a Brazilian citizen living in the Brazilian city where the tourist is going to. The letter should state the period of time the Spanish tourist is staying in the residence, and it has to be signed by the host as well as certified by a register office which will issue a proof of residence in the name of the host. (Please note that there is no standard form for the letter of invitation. Provided that the information above is included, the letter should be certified).


In my experience c, d, and e were not asked about and I did not provide documents


Next go to the to the website of the consulate that represents your region of the US, then fill out and print the tourist visa application


Visa request form


Here is where things can get a bit annoying if you don’t have all the correct documents. I suggest mailing in everything instead of having to drive or fly to the nearest consulate. Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (embassy) 


Go to the post office and get a US postal service money order for $140. NO CASH, CREDIT, or NON-USPS money orders will be accepted. While at the post office obtain 2 express next day envelopes: 1 with the address of the consulate and 1 with your home address. 


Place inside:



visa application

photocopy of round trip tickets to Brazil

photocopy of driver’s license or photo ID as proof residence in consulate region

2 passport photos

USPS money order for $140

return express mail envelope


After you mail everything, it should take about 2 days to get your documents returned with your valid Brazilian visa.


This will is good for 10 years with a total of 180 days allowed per year in the country. So basically you can stay 6 months per year in Brazil for 10 years.


So get now that you have your visa it is time to get out there and enjoy all that Brazil has to offer


Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta

Embassy of Brazil in Washington D.C.

Brazilian Tourism Website