First, a little about bromeliads: They are native to South America. They are epiphytes, or "air plants", which means they have very few roots - they get most of their nutrients and water from the air. Some have suggested that they are slightly carnivorous, obtaining nutrients from insects that fall into their water-filled cups.
They seem like very tropical plants, but many do well here in coastal SC given the right conditions. The first few years I had them, they went completely neglected, even to the point of letting them stay outside during our coldest nights. Despite this they survived and bloomed most years. I have since planted them in our shade garden, which gets a little morning and afternoon sun, and shade the rest of the day. Some people recommend anywhere from almost full sun to almost full shade. My experience is that mine could use a little more sun - he flower stalk seemed a little too elongated, like it was stretching for the light.