Jeff Nitty Ransom, 68, is a Black expat in São Paulo, Brazil. Living in the largest city in South America since 1991, his story began after he met Fatima, his Brazilian ex-wife, in Miami. Two years later, they landed in São Paulo, where he taught executive business English for 20 years at multinational companies located in Brazil. After 31 years of living in Brazil, Ransom is now working to represent Brazilian companies contemplating exporting to Ghana.

Though sex tourism is popular for many men coming to Brazil, he emphasizes that this was not his motivation to live in Brazil.

“I landed in Brazil as an expat, not a sexpat. I didn’t have to chase after Brazilian women. I already had one,” Ransom says. Here, he shares his Black expat experience in São Paulo, Brazil:

Before His Expat Life

“I moved from New York to Miami in 1988. It was there that I met Fatima, my Brazilian ex-wife. With that in mind, it enabled me to concentrate on the serious issues of learning Portuguese and laying the groundwork to move to Brazil permanently.”

“We lived on South Beach. Three blocks from Ocean Drive. I worked in the hospitality industry. In the early 90s, you didn’t see any Black people on South Beach, Ocean Drive. None at all.  Now it’s the hotspot for Black America.”

Moving To São Paulo, Brazil

“On July 20, I completed 31 years of living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I got here in 1991, when I was 37 years old.”

“I landed in Brazil as an EXPAT, not a SEXPAT. I didn’t have to chase after Brazilian women, I already had one. I quickly settled into married life.”

“I arrived in Sao Paulo already speaking fluent Spanish. I learned to speak Portuguese on my own. No school, no teachers. As we say in Portuguese, ‘Eu aprendi falar Português na porrada.’ (I busted my ass to learn Portuguese). I speak fluent Portuguese. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

“Not once did I ever think about returning to America to stay for good. Only to visit. In fact, from 2002 to 2022 (20 years), I’ve been back to New York only once, in 2015, to see my father, family, and friends.”

“I spent 13 years and 7 months from 2002 to 2015 without stepping foot on American soil.”

Becoming An Expat For Good

“I completely divested myself from the American economy. I don’t have a bank account in America, I never voted, and never registered to vote. I was back and forth between Brazil and America from 1991 to 2002. During that time I was in the process of reinventing myself.”

Life As An Entrepreneur In São Paulo

Courtesy of Jeff Nitty Ransom

“I taught executive business English for 20 years at companies such as J.P. Morgan, Mastercard, Liberty Mutual, Microsoft, Eli Lily, Merrill Lynch, Oracle, and many more companies from Europe and Brazil.”

“In 2007, I formed a partnership with the U.S. Comercial Service, at the American Consulate as an interpreter. I accompanied American business people to meetings, who came to Brazil to conduct business. I translated Portuguese/English – English/Portuguese.”

“In 2008, I had the pleasure of meeting a Brazilian entrepreneur, who’s in the import/export business. He took me under his wing as an apprentice. He introduced me to another importer/exporter, who really helped me take this game to a higher level.”

Brazil And Ghana

“Now, I’m on my own and have already made two trips to Ghana, representing Brazilian companies that are contemplating exporting to Ghana. I facilitate the export process from Brazil to Ghana.”

“So, as a “Brother Going Global-Globalprenuer”, I constantly keep it moving, expanding, and growing.”

Related: The Black Expat: Why Black Expats Should Come And Experience Brazil’s Culture