It?s a relatively cold Friday afternoon. I am sitting in a coffee place, waiting for my first meeting. Believe it or not, but before I had arranged this meeting, I was hoping that it would be awesome to meet with someone from Brazil. For those who know me, it?s not a big surprise ? I have been in love with this country for a couple of years. But it wasn?t my priority.  Let?s call it a good luck, that my first interview is going to be with 20 years old Thiago Rangel, a student from Brazil (to make it clear ? from Belem).

Just close your eyes for a couple of seconds. If I asked you, what?s your first thought about Brazil, what would you say? If the answer is: samba or Brazilian Carnival, you are in the majority. But that is exactly what a typical stereotype suggests us! Will Thiago make you discover something new? Let?s figure it out together!

Maja Maciejska:  First of all, I would like to thank you for finding time!

Thiago Rangel:  Oh, it?s not a problem.

M.M:  So, why Poland?

T.R: I have been doing a project in Brazil. I was studying criminal law. During that time, I started making really interesting project – it was all about working with the young criminals. One day I got an option to continue doing it in Poland. Then I thought: why not? I had decided to arrive here two months before it started, just for traveling. My sister accompanied me. We visited the main Polish cities: Wrocław, Poznań, Częstochowa, Toruń, Zakopane. But for the whole project, I stayed in Podlasie region (since September 2011). During that time, I?ve met so many new people, working as volunteers as well, from all around the world. Such a great adventure! When my project was about to come to a close, I decided to quit studying in Brazil and start my studies here, in Warsaw.

M.M: Wow, what a big step! Was it hard to make this decision, to start a new life?

T.R: Not really, I like new adventures. And during the whole stay here it turned out that I really enjoy being here.

M.M: Congrats! I am more than sure that it?s going to be the time of your life. It?s always like that: we make a huge change in our life, but it?s all about getting new experiences. I bet, in couple of years you will look at that time with personal satisfaction. Can you tell me, why ? among all of the big cities ? have you chosen Warsaw?

T.R: First of all, it?s a big city and I am from a big city as well, so I couldn?t stay living in a smaller one. And secondly, the University of Warsaw is great.  So I didn?t even take into consideration the other place. Also there are no problems with finding a place for entertainment, plus it?s a capital.

M.M: You take the classes in English, right?

T.R: No, not at all! They?re all in Polish. I am a B1 level right now. Before I start studying on a regular basis, I have to be familiar with Polish. So right now I am taking one-year course to get myself ready for that. I need to practice as much as I can.

M.M: It must be so hard. I mean, I?ve heard that Polish is so complicated for foreigners, mostly because of the grammar…

T.R: I am actually good at the grammar. Thanks to my teacher, I can learn pretty fast. And obviously, having Polish friends really helps. I am living in Poland right now, so the language is around me all the time. What is more, Portuguese has pretty much similar sound to all those Polish ?dz, cz, dzi?. I personally think that for the other foreigners it might be a little bit harder. But – in general – yes, it?s not a piece of cake.

M.M: Anyways, I am serious ? congratulations. Every time when I try to imagine myself how tough it must be to remember by hard the declination. I mean, we have seven different endings just in one word, depending on the context.

T.R: Yeah, that?s true. That might be really complicated. I understand most of the rules, but I still have some problems to speak.

M.M: Right, it always comes first. It takes time to start talking. Can you tell me, if you could change your decision, would you choose Poland again?

T.R: It?s a hard question. You know, I really like it here. So I think I would. Of course, you have your ups and downs.

M.M: What exactly do you mean?

T.R: There is actually a big difference between Polish and Brazilian culture. You are still a little bit closed, reserved. It takes time to open you up.  Then you get to know more and more people,  and after that it?s way better! I remember one situation, when I was at the train station, trying to buy a ticket. I had a feeling that people didn?t want to help me. Finally, I found someone who did. So, in my opinion, it also depends on the people. I think that – in general – Brazilian people are more open-minded and easy-going.

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If you want to read about Polish girls, szarlotka and more, please come back tomorrow for the second part of the interview!