RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A reinvented town square that fosters community as a haven and well of information, a source of contacts, discussions, advice, warnings and new friends in a new city , a private social group that has weaved a genuine sense of belonging to the world to legions of fluctuating foreigners in the Brazilian capital.

This vision takes the form of the Living Brasilia Forum, LBF, a private Facebook group that brings to life a new generation of services that harness the true power of Facebook to help expats meet people, find jobs, find apartments, to seek advice and stay in contact with people in similar situations.

Preventing spammers and those with no local-international connection from cluttering its feed, the group has become a valuable meeting point for expats to stay up to date, get informed about important news, events, talent community and artists, potential or active hazards, Covid developments, vaccine availability and more.

How a Brasilia Facebook forum became the glue that binds the expat community together

LBF is the source of opportunities for expats in Brasilia to discover commonalities with people from very diverse backgrounds and cultures who may feel isolated in a new country, but it is also a powerful spotlight on the benefits and the challenges of life in the area, helping to untangle the complications of the city and serving as a platform or trampoline for new projects and ideas.

Brasilia is home to a significant number of international families, the capital hosts diplomatic missions representing almost 135 nations with a constant rotation of delegations making the expatriate community dynamic and constantly evolving.

As the song says, Brasilia is a different city, it can be difficult to find your way around, to travel for miles and miles without finding a store, or a pharmacy, or even a neighborhood grocery store, unless you understand the city only by the way those who have been here longer can help you understand.

Building a life in Brasilia can be a lot of questions, getting connected can be daunting.


Founded in February 2013 “to give or receive information about our city, its surroundings, and how to make the most of our time here,” LBF is small by Facebook group standards; but it consists of around 2,300 members, a size that allows it to be intimate and comfortable, but also makes it an invaluable platform for building an international community.

“Are you a foreigner living in Brasilia? Need contacts, advice and useful information? Do you want to find the right doctors, discover new places, find out more about events, entertainment, find a household help or work opportunities? Do you like meeting new friends? Then Living Brasilia Forum is for you,” say administrators Fiona Murphy and Christoph Diewald, opening up to the wider community.

Admins dedicate hours each week to community management, reviewing membership applications, monitoring policy enforcement, and simply ensuring that discussions build bridges instead of discord.

As a result, LBF is an essential starting point for navigating everyday life and connecting with other expats for newcomers and long-term residents alike, it’s the kind of place families find comfort. other families to meet, ask questions, post information about city events, find other expat groups and activities, and more.

The group is energetic, which means that any urgent questions will usually be answered quickly. It’s the ultimate group for real-time background information, links to locally relevant articles in The Rio Times, referrals, and access to activities like Vox Mundi, the Brasilia International Choir, local branches of global communities like the Hash House Harriers, articles about expat life in the immediate geographic area from B4D Magazine, and resources like brasilia4dummies, as well as free courses, events and more, or just check out other expats.

Brasilia is one of the safest cities you are likely to find yourself in in Brazil but, like any city, things happen. The Living Brasilia forum lets you stay up to date with security issues as they arise, with news links, answers to questions, expat reports and incident stories from first hand.

“Resettlement and life can be challenging and sometimes isolating; hope that through this group, we can all help each other, welcome new families, find new friends, and keep a good balance in our lives with this additional support and information,” says the group’s explanation of its mission.

While it’s possible to spend countless hours mulling over the philosophical implications of living in a new country, LBF is generally concerned with the practicality of everyday life.

When it comes to being an expat, LBF is more than the kind of anchor that sustains and builds a unique web of life, it’s a profile of long-term commitment to pragmatic service to the community, says Julie Cartagena, a newcomer from Brasilia transferred from Bolivia.