Sonntag, 20. September 2009

first weeks of work and life in Sao Paulo

After some time of absence due to my first busy work weeks and a lack of motivation and time I am back with news from Sao Paulo.
One month ago I started my internship at the Chamber of Commerce of Germany and Brazil in Sao Paulo. I am learning a lot and it is really interessting how the bilateral realtion between Germany and Brazil works. By the way Sao Paulo is the biggest German industrial location which means the place with most German companies in the world. For this reason the Chamber of Commerce I am working for is the largest in the world with in total more than 150 employees. Another very interessting aspect of my work is the intercultural communication and colaboration between Brazilians and Germans in the chamber. It is really enriching and enlargens your horizon on the one hand but on the other hand it is really difficult sometimes. In some aspects these two cultures represent the total opposite. Especially in terms of time and project management and planing the representatives of the two cultures have totally different attitudes. The Brazilian culture is charactarized by impovisation whereas Germans want to plan everything in advance and have a written project plan. For Brazilians personal relations are very important which leads to a very different kind of reunions as the Germans are used to. Brazilians like to start with talking about football, family and the weather first whereas Germans want to come straight to the point and make business as fast as possible. As you can imagine these facts can lead to some difficulties in colaboration between the two etnities.
So besides improving my intercultural communication skills and enlarging my network of business collegues in Brazil and Germany I am learning a lot by drafting market researches, organizing delegations for companies i Brazil or Germany and find business partners for both side among other interessting tasks.
Another really interessating experience which again proves that many prejudices are wrong is that Brazilians, at least Paulistanos (inhabitants of Sao Paulo) really work a lot. I as an Intern am working from 8am to 17.30pm and sometimes I stay even longer. And believe me there are many collegues who work even more than that and stay until very late in the office. And unlike in Austria for example noone leaves the office at 1pm on fridays. So there are a lot of Brazilians that work really hard and a lot more than many Austrians.
By the way the place where I stay with its for Sao Paulo cheap price and ideal location has really proven to be a lucky punch. There are some collegues of mine who either have not even found a prover place to stay or pay a lot more and need to take a bus or metro for an hour to come to work. Thanks to Orkut and all the guys I am sharing the apartment with. This really saves me a lot of money and time I can use for other things.
What else have I done during the last weeks except for working and getting crazy about Sao Paulo traffic.
Well, I have travelled to Ilha Grande, an island which belongs to the state of Rio de Janeiro. There are not streets, no cars, no banks, only beaches, nature and some bars and tourists. It is an absolute paradise and I recommend it to everyone to do a trip to this fantastic island.
These trips are a welcome change to my day to day life in Sao Paulo which during the week mostly consists of working, eating, gym and sleeping. On Tuesdays I usually go to the weekly Couchsurfing meeting in Sao Paulo which is a great opportunity to get to know people here and plan trips and weekend activities.