Adilstone Abroad: Working and Living as a Teacher in Brazil
Embracing Life Abroad: Mary Cox's Journey in Brazil
Seeking international opportunities after university, Mary Cox set her sights on Brazil—a country that had already captured her heart through family connections and previous visits. With a love for the Portuguese language and a vision for her professional growth, she believed that immersing herself in a foreign country would be pivotal for her development. Her decision to move to Brazil marked the beginning of an enriching chapter in her life.
Mary's role as an English teacher in the state of Pernambuco fully immersed her in Brazilian culture. She observed a significant cultural difference in the Brazilian approach to schedules and time. In the U.S., the saying goes, "time is money," emphasizing efficiency. In contrast, Mary discovered that many Brazilians live by the adage "time is life," which fosters a more relaxed and unhurried approach. For example, when a Brazilian says they're on their way, it could mean they are just beginning to think about departing, unlike in the U.S., where it typically indicates that the person is actively traveling to the destination. She learned to embrace flexibility，acknowledging that the practices she was used to in the United States were not the only, nor always the best, ways to get things done.
Community life was another area where Mary saw difference. In Brazil, spending time in the community is a central part of life, more so than she had experienced in the U.S. This extended into the realm of hospitality, which was both more spontaneous and more expected in Brazil. People readily opened their homes to her without hesitation, and it was common for friends to drop by unannounced, expecting hospitality in return—often in the form of food or company.
She found joy in celebrating these differences, learning the value of community, and enhancing her skills in hospitality—lessons that have clearly enriched her both personally and professionally. Gradually, she grew to appreciate this new rhythm, adopting a blend of flexibility and punctuality that mirrored the impressive work ethic she observed.
Working in Brazil provided Mary Cox with invaluable professional experience, especially in learning to collaborate within an international team. She engaged with individuals from diverse backgrounds, languages, and approaches to problem-solving, which broadened her perspective on effective work strategies. This exposure to different methodologies allowed her to appreciate the variety of ways to achieve excellent results, often divergent from her own initial ideas.
Moreover, her time as a teacher in Brazil deepened her empathy and understanding of what it feels like for her students to adapt to living and working in a foreign country. In her current role, this insight proves crucial when working with candidates relocating internationally, as she can now relate to the complexities they face—the challenges and opportunities, as well as the blend of positive and negative aspects that accompany an international move.
For those contemplating work abroad, Mary advises starting with networking to discover opportunities, as she did on her journey to Brazil. She underscores the importance of detailed research and solid planning, like securing a work contract, to align expectations with reality. Once settled, she encourages diving into the local culture with an open mind while respecting personal boundaries to avoid exhaustion. Throughout, she champions staying true to oneself, adapting without compromising one's principles.
Whether you find yourself on the cobbled lanes of Brazil or any other corner of the globe, may you hold onto the spirit of adventure, the pursuit of growth, and the joy of international camaraderie—just as Mary did.