Culture and Language
Rio Grande do Sul is known for its coastline (especially Torres and Cassino Beach), its cuisine and its winery-topped hills (Gramado, Canela and Bento Gonçalves). It's also a region with a great barbecue (churrasco) tradition, influenced by the local gauchos (the expression for Southern Brazil's cowboys). As an important immigration hub in the eighteenth century, many cities in the South of Brazil exhibit traces of German, Italian, and Polish culture, especially in the food.
In Porto Alegre, entrepreneurs can find the buzz of a large city while enjoying green areas and regional parks, like Redenção and Moinhos de Vento. Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana, a cultural center with exhibitions and events named after the city's most famous poet, is one of the unmissable cultural spots in the city. So is the Mercado Público (Public Market), housing over a hundred grocery stalls and some of the city's famous restaurants. You'll know you're fully integrated when you and your friends end your afternoon at Guaiba River Orla watching the sunset with a traditional vessel of chimarrão, a yerba mate infusion.
And let's not forget football! The sport is a well-known national treasure, and Rio Grande do Sul hosts two important (and rival) teams: Grêmio and Internacional. Choose wisely!
Learning Brazilian Portuguese will be necessary. Even though Porto Alegre has a growing community of expats, English speakers remain scarce in the public service sector, for example. Luckily, the state capital has many Portuguese courses and schools available. Some popular choices are Bem Brasil (portuguesbembrasil.com.br) and Wizard (wizard.com.br/escolas/poazonasul). Class prices range from R$40 (US$8) to R$120 (US$23) per hour.