Venezuela

venezuela Capital: Caracas
Official Language: Spanish
Wikipedia Article

 

Introducing Venezuela...

Salto Angel (Parakupa-vena): The World’s Highest WaterfallVenezuela holds all of South America in miniature: there are fine stretches of the Andes with snow covered mountaintops such as the Pico Bolivar, huge areas of Amazonian rainforests, fertile plains known as Los Llanos, miles of Caribbean shoreline along with the Los Roques Archipelago, and even a small desert at the Médanos de Coro National Park.

Archipiélago de Los RoquesThe country has a few geographical superlatives, including the world's highest waterfall at the Angel Falls (almost 1000 meters high!) and South America's biggest lake, Lake Maracaibo. On top of that, given its proximity to the Equator, Venezuela’s climate resembles that of a paradise, with dry and rainy seasons, and an average temperature of 27 °C. Due to its geographical position, the country has a “natural clock” all year long, the sunrise is around 6:00am, letting people know that it is time to wake up and go to work, and sunset is approximately 12 hours later, when it’s time to go home.

Venezuelan’s are easy-going by nature, driven by a fun-loving spirit. Venezuela is probably the country with the most mixed population in Latin America. Out of almost 28 million people 55% are Mestizo (a mixture of Europeans with Amerindians), 35% White, 1% Amerindian and 9% from other ethnic groups such as Africans, Arabic and Asians, being Roman Catholicism the dominant religion. Baseball is the national sport by default, and petroleum is the nation’s biggest industry and, by far, the main support of the country’s economy.

Gastronomy

Los Medanos de Coro (yes, there is a dessert in Venezuela!)The Venezuelan cuisine was and still is strongly influenced by the Spanish, Italians and Portuguese’s who have been living there since Columbus arrived in 1492. The most widely known “item” of the Venezuelan kitchen is the arepa, which is a sort of “bread” made out of corn. It can be filled with just about everything, from chicken, cheese, meat to even vegetables. Like in several other countries of Latin America, Venezuelans eat beans, especially the black ones, which form together with the carne mechada (shredded tender beef), white rice, fried bananas and white (hard and salty) cheese the national dish (pabellón criollo). Funny facts about Venezuelans and food include:

  • They are second in the list of countries with highest pasta consumption per capita, with 12.6 Kg per year (of course Italy is the first one).
  • They eat “arroz a la marinera”, which is an “adapted” version of the Spanish paella.
  • The best bread is sold in the Portuguese bakeries.

Studying in Venezuela

Pico Bolívar (highest point in the Venezuelan Andes)There are more than 90 universities spread all over the country where people are educated according to a more “traditional” methodology with lots of theory, quite similar to the one used in countries like Spain.

The system is divided between the public universities, which usually offer the best education, and the private ones, where it is easier to enroll. Finding an internship or bachelor/master assignment there is quite challenging.

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Miss Venezuela and...

Miss Universe 2008. (Miss Venezuela in yellow)With a total of 6 Miss Universe, 5 Miss World and 5 Miss International, Venezuela is one of the most successful countries in the world when it comes to beauty. In fact, we even have our own Miss Venezuela Academy, where each year thousands of girls go for castings dreaming of becoming THE next Miss Venezuela. Nowadays, most of the girls that are selected for further training undergo plastic surgery (typically nose, breast and buttock enhancement). In fact, this has become such a normal “thing” in Venezuelan culture and several stores advertize their newest clothes using enhanced mannequins.