I love young people. They feel they can conquer the world. Usually they are right, but I have some news for those of you with your eyes set on Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro is not like any other city.
I got an email the other day from an old friend who is concerned about her son’s 24 yr old friend. He is planning on coming to Rio de Janeiro to experience life and write a book. He is coming next month and plans to figure things out here.
Did I mention that Brazil is not Europe?
Like any good experienced woman, my friend is looking out for this young one. She sent me an email asking for tips. I had a good laugh at his innocence, though I still believe his goals are totally possible. Of course there are some things he should remember. I figure, why not write a post about it and help more than one adventurous 20 something year old.
First off, you are not going to land and find a good apartment in the first couple of weeks. Ok, anything is possible but it is unlikely. Thankfully Carioca 20 somethings are moving out a little sooner than Mr Rant’s generation (but not by much) and there are a lot of travelers who have made roots here. That could help you out in finding a place. Plus you have a ton of hippie- esque 30 somethings who rent out rooms and love new blood.
The thing is that apartment rentals and the entire roommate situation is different here. Roommates are a still broadening field. Renting an apartment on your own is a bitch and, even if you are lucky, it may not even come with a fridge (much less cabinets of any sort). In Rio de Janeiro an apartment with a fridge and oven can technically be considered at least semi-furnished.
Secondly, it is not easy to make money. Here many waiters are career waiters. It is much less common, almost doesn’t even happen, for a person to work in a restaurant while putting themselves through school. And if you think you are going to work in a bar you may be disappointed. Cariocas like legal workers, ones that speak Portuguese, and there is a lot of Brazilian competition. No you will not be allowed to set up your guitar in a coffee shop and make tips off of patrons.
And oddly enough, you won’t find a million English students just because you are a foreigner. That time has passed.
Basically, save money first just in case.
Thirdly, Rio de Janeiro is expensive! Gone are the days where you could really make your dollar stretch. If you like to eat food, you will spend money. Goodness knows you are going to drink. You will spend money. Kiss free wifi goodbye unless you are at Starbucks and make a purchase.
Fourthly, go for it! You are you in 20s. Just plan and be prepared. I guarantee that you will have a total blast, unless you are an absolute tool. No one likes a tool, not even Brazilians.