Adjusting to the differences


This is the second part of the two-part conversation with Brazilian international student from the University of Winnipeg, Lincoln Amemiya.

Click here to check the first part.

Lincoln Amemiya has known what is like to be an immigrant since young.

Amemiya talks about the differences between his home country and Canada from his perspective. /LIGIA BRAIDOTTI

His grandparents immigrated to Brazil when they were young because they were also seeking a better life.

As the first part of this conversations shows, Amemiya came to Winnipeg to have a better living, to be able to raise his children in a safer environment.

However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss home, he said. There are many cultural shocks that an immigrant has to go through.

What are some of those differences?


Education – Never take it for granted

A study by the Instituto Paulo Montenegro shows that 13 million Brazilians over 15 years of age don’t know how to read and write due to the low budget for education provided by the federal government.

This year, Canada ranked 10th place in the Global Education Ranking based on Math and Science. Brazil ranked 60th place, according to BBC.

Equality – “You get what you pay for.” Not really.

“Here you reap what you sow. In Brazil you sow something that’s going to be distributed to people who don’t do anything to help their communities,” he said referring to the Brazilian welfare program.

According to the MercoPress website, Brazil’s tax revenue was 36.3% of its GDP in 2012.

Brazil ranked 30th place in a study by the Brazilian Institute of Planning and Taxation (IBPT) on where taxes brought more welfare in 2012.

The study analyzed 30 countries among the United States, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Italy, etc.

Canada ranked 7th place.

There are about 18 taxes Brazilians pay every year, others every semester or trimester, others only when you buy a certain product.

Above all that, most Brazilians pay for education, health and security. Yes, the country provides them with that, but because of corruption, the system is broken, said Amemiya.

Dignity – Working for minimum wage

Amemiya said that he’s noticed that even when someone works in an entry-level job full-time can provide for their family whereas, in Brazil, it’s shameful to work in an entry-level job.

“I’m not afraid and I’m not ashamed. I’m not building this life for myself, I’m building this life for my children,” he said.

“Just like what happened to my grandparents. Who reaped what they sow were us, their grandchildren. It’s because of their sacrifices that I’m here today.

Amemiya is currently experiencing education in the University of Winnipeg and has noticed some differences between Canadian and Brazilian educational systems. /LIGIA BRAIDOTTI

“I had the opportunity to go to the right schools, work, have a comfortable life and chose another country to live.”

According to The Brazil Business, the Nominal Minimum Wage for 2015 set in January was BRL 788,06.

However, the Intersindical Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies, who calculates the minimum wage necessary to fill someone’s needs, the minimum wage in April 2015 was BRL 3,251.61. That is just over four times higher.

Nutrition – Better processed than never

Amemiya said he’s still not used to the food here.

“I don’t know if it’s because of the weather, but there’s a lot of processed food here,” he said.

His wife Talita Amemiya said she sees a lot of elder people at fast-foods.

“We have a fast pace, and it’s hard to come home and cook, sometimes you just don’t have time,” she said.

They said in Brazil fresh fruit and vegetables are very cheap, so they used to have a balanced and healthy diet.

Since they arrived in Winnipeg, they’ve been trying to keep their diet, but they said is hard because of time and prices.

“Fresh food is expensive here,” said Amemiya.




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