Interview with Rosana Barbosa, Brazilian teacher and writer in Halifax

Rosana Barbosa é professora de História na Saint Mary’s University em Halifax e, além de ter vários artigos publicados, é autora de dois livros: Brazil and Canada: Economic, Political, and Migratory Ties, 1820s to 1970s, e Immigration and Xenophobi: Portuguese Immigrants in Early Nineteenth Century Rio de Janeiro. Rosana tem uma carreira de sucesso na área acadêmica. Antes de aceitar o convite para lecionar em Halifax, a brasileira deu aulas na Universidade de Toronto, Guelph, Brock e no Glendon College da Universidade de York.

Rosana Barbosa

Translated from Portuguese with Google Translate; (automatic; not revised).

Wave – After more than thirty years, what has changed in the Brazilian community since your arrival?

Rosana – It changed a lot, mainly because of the great presence of Brazilians across Canada, not only in large cities but also in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Me I’ve met Brazilians in Winnipeg, Saint John’s (NL), Moncton, Calgary, Waterloo, Georgetown, St. John (NB), Quebec City, Ottawa etc. In Halifax, where I live, the Brazilian presence is increasingly apparent, including on the beaches around the city. By the way, “What are the best beaches in Nova Scotia” is always a matter of paramount importance in the Brazilian community.

Yeah important to note that this presence is not only of residents, as well as visitors and students. Canada is now a tourist destination and one of the most popular options for students who want to improve their English / French or complement your studies at universities and colleges.

With this greater presence of Brazilians, the isolation of the end of the years 80 does not exist, at least not as it used to be. In general, you has more access to aspects of his life in Brazil – be it food, television programs, newspapers, etc. I remember very well that for get any news from Brazil I had to go to Metro Reference Library, in Toronto, to access the Veja magazine once a month. Homesickness was also a problem seriously, because phone calls were expensive and letters it took at least two weeks to arrive. The internet today revolutionized the world and made the immigrant’s life so much easier.

Other big change is that in the late 1980s, Canada was seen often as a way of accessing the United States, or a second option – for not obtaining residence in that country. Nowadays, Canada is the first option of the majority that is on here. The country has become attractive for the security of its cities, good health and public education social services quality. In addition to respect for foreigners and immigrants, who is prevalent around here.

One of my most recent works deals with the historical links between Brazil and Canada – showing that the two countries have historically been connected in different ways ….

Wave – You have several works that address Brazilian immigration in Canada. What are the main results of your latest studies?

Rosana – In fact, Brazilian immigration to Canada has never been very prevalent in my work. I did a little research at the turn of the century, seeing that this was a subject that was still invisible in Brazilian and Canadian data. Immigration has always been present in my work, but more in relation to Brazil in the 19th century. One of my most recent works deals with the historical connections between Brazil and Canada – showing that the two countries have historically been connected in different ways: with the cod trade, with the establishment of the Light company in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as well as for immigration – including two cases of Canadian emigration to Brazil: in 1876 to Benevides, in Pará, and in 1896, to coffee farms in São Paulo.

Wave – In your opinion, what is the image of Brazil and Brazilians for the Canadian citizen?

Rosana – I think the Brazilian is well regarded by Canadians. Our friendliness and good humor always help, but also the fact that the majority of Brazilian immigration is made up of people with some educational background and from urban areas, facilitates acceptance in Canada – not because they deserve more than others, but because cultural and social differences are milder among the Canadian population. As for Brazil, I believe that there is a lot of curiosity, but also little information. Canadians always relate Brazil to heat, carnival and football, but most don’t know much about our country.

Wave – To study or migrate, Canada has been one of the most sought after countries by Brazilians. What is your message to these patricians?

Rosana – I think perseverance and also the definition of an objective are essential – even if you have to choose to live more modestly to invest in education or any other personal or business investment. Difficulties always exist, but if you are sure (or almost sure) of what you want to achieve, it is worth fighting for. I doubted myself many times, but I kept going, even though I try very basic English when I came to Canada. I am the first person in my family to have a PhD – my two grandmothers were practically illiterate, but I persisted and achieved something rewarding. The point I want to make is that even when conditions do not seem favorable, your objective can be achieved – whatever it may be – even if it is only peace, security and better opportunities for our children. In such a polarized world, where depression is so common, we must prioritize our well-being. With peace and quiet everything ends up going the right way, right?