Promoting Brazil at the University of Toronto.

By Cristiana Moretzsohn

Have you heard of BRAZUCA? Do you consider yourself a Brazuca or know someone who is?

The word ‘brazuca’ is normally used among Brazilians who live abroad in a positive way. The expression has a touch of patriotism and pride in being Brazilian, it is almost an adjective!

Making an analogy with the word, four Brazilian students at the University of Toronto created the “BRAZUCA”, Brazilians United in Canada, a student organisation that promotes Brazilian cultural integration at the university and, in just a short time since it was founded, it has already received the award for “Outstanding New Group Award of 2011”, given by the UTSU, University of Toronto Student Union.

Wave spoke to two founders of this group, Adam Yang, 22 years of age, a Philosophy and Sociology student and Nina da Nóbrega Garcia, 19 years of age, an International Relations student. The other two founders are Klara Yang and Anna Vieira, both students at the University of Toronto.

How did the Idea to create BRAZUCA come about?
BRAZUCA: When we came to the University of Toronto (U of T) in 2009, we realized that among the 61 student groups that existed at the U of T, there were no Brazilian or cultural Brazilian groups. We then met with a small group of Brazilian friends to create the first Brazilian group at the U of T, the BRAZUCA, which became official in February 2010. (The formalization of the group requires the creation of a constitution, registration for official recognition as a student group, web page creation, logo, etc).

Tell us a bit about the group, your intentions and ideas.
BRAZUCA: The main objective of this group is to bring some Brazilian culture to the U of T. Multicultural as it is, there had to be a group that represented the cultural diversity and richness of our country. Therefore, through a series of events, we try to represent the different facets of the Brazilian culture; always trying to go beyond the stereotype that Brazil is just samba, soccer and beautiful women.

[quote float=”left”]Foreigners always have a special affection for Brazil.

Recently you received an important award from the student union at the U of T, How did you feel about the award? What makes you different from the other student groups at the university?
BRAZUCA: We received the award for “Outstanding New Club” for the year 2010/2011 for the “exceptional contribution that this group brings to student life” by the UTSU (University of Toronto students’ union).

This award is real compensation for our work and enthusiasm as a student group. It is a great incentive to continue working and even to expand our activities. The award brought interesting status to the group, and at the same time increases our responsibility, because we are not seen as a beginner group anymore.

How is the Brazilian community seen in the student universe in Toronto?
BRAZUCA: Foreigners always have a special affection for Brazil. This is no different inside the university. I believe that this is why we have had such success. After all, the majority of the members are not Brazilian – they are just interested in our country and culture.

What are the future plans and events for BRAZUCA?
BRAZUCA: We are directly involved in the organization of the BRAFFTv workshop, which will take place at Hart House. We are also planning a series of Brazilian film and documentary exhibitions. We will continue to have our popular Bate-Papos, where people come together to help and practice Portuguese (all levels are welcome). Soccer tournaments and matches are also on the agenda.

[quote float=”right”]Our group wants to promote Brazilian culture and not just unite Brazilians.

Can anyone participate in the group or do you have to be a Brazilian?
BRAZUCA: Anyone can participate. Our group wants to promote Brazilian culture and not just unite Brazilians. Our name gives the Idea that it is a group for Brazilians and just Brazilians, but this is not our objective. This is why, next year the group will have a new name: BRAZUCA – Brazilian Culture in Canada

The main message of BRAZUCA:
BRAZUCA: Brazilian culture is vibrant. As we are far away from our homeland, BRAZUCA is the way that we can, stay in contact with our culture whilst promoting it to those who are here. BRAZUCA is a mini Brazil inside the university, where all, Brazilians or not, are welcome.

If you want to check out the events and get to know the group, BRAZUCA’s site is: