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Study in Brazil

The largest country in both South America and Latin America, Brazil covers 8.5 million square kilometres and is home to over 208 million people. This makes Brazil the world’s fifth largest country by area and the sixth most populous. It is multicultural and ethnically diverse and a perfect destination for international students. There is something for everyone in Brazil!

Brazil is known for its bright and vibrant culture, which is influenced by the variety of traditions and histories. The country has a distinctive musical sound, and is famous for fantastic samba carnivals. If sport is your thing, Brazil has plenty to offer! The national football team have won the World Cup a record 5 times, and 3 Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One World Championships 8 times.

Why Study in Brazil?

The Brazilian higher education system is similar in some ways to that of many other countries. You can study for undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD degrees. There are many degree disciplines offered, all at a high standard and low cost. At the bigger universities there are many degrees taught in English, but you can practice your Portuguese as well!

Although you may recognise similarities in the education system, there are some noticeable differences. Bachelor and Associate degrees are referred to as graduate degrees. They take between 4 and 6 years to complete. When completed, you are qualified to work as a doctor or lawyer. A licentiate degree will take about 4 years, and allows you to work as a teacher. A technology degree takes about 2 years to complete. It will give you the skills to work in specialised fields, like agriculture or tourism. You can then earn either a lato sensu degree or a stricto sensu degree as postgraduate qualifications. The lato sensu degree will show that you have gained specialist knowledge in a specific subject area. However, it does not allow you to progress onto a PhD or other research degree. MBA programmes are classed to be lato sensu programmes. In order to progress to a PhD or research degree, you need to do a strictu sensu degree.

The government makes considerable contributions to higher education and tuition fees are reasonable. This makes Brazil extremely accessible for international students. There are a mixture of state funded and private universities, and tuition costs will vary depending on your choice of institution.

Most universities accept online applications, making it very easy for you to apply from your home country. Depending on your choice of university, you may need to provide extra information. This can include a research proposal, a letter stating your motivations for your course choice, a letter of recommendation, qualification transcripts and passport and ID photos. You will also require a visa.

There are also work placements available, depending on your area of study. For example, science and technology students at some universities are able to do a 12 week period of paid work experience. This sort of thing looks fantastic on your CV/resume, and can prove that you have the skills to be functional in a company.

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Cost of Studying and Living in Brazil

Brazil uses the Real (R$ or BRL) as its currency.

Study Expenses

If you are looking to study a publicly funded degree, you will not have to pay any tuition fees. This is because the Brazilian Federal Constitution has guaranteed the right to free public education for all students. You will likely still have to pay a registration fee.

If you choose to study at a private university, you will have to pay a tuition fee. The amount is set by the individual institution, and will therefore differ depending on your choice. On average, tuition at a private institution can cost between R$7000 and R$43,000 per year.

International students can access financial aid that will help with costs of meals, books, accommodation and transport. This is available through each institution. There is also a chance that your home country will be able to offer some sort of financial help in the form of a grant or scholarship.

Living Expenses

Unlike other countries, most institutions in Brazil do not offer student accommodation. This means that students have to find private accommodation. It might be helpful to contact your university of choice, as they can help students to find somewhere suitable to stay. Homestay is another great option for international students. This is where a student stays with a host family – a great way to integrate into the local culture!

Renting a private apartment in Brazil can cost between R$1000 and R$2,056 per month. A cheaper restaurant can cost from R$18, a cinema ticket will cost from R$21. in general, Brazil is one of the expensive Brazilian cities. It is important that you factor this into your plans and make sure Brazil would be a practical choice for you.

Study and Work in Brazil

Since the end of 2016, students are able to work alongside studying. This opens up lots of opportunities for international students to finance their studies and enjoy exploring their new home city in their free-time. This new form of working visa will also allow students to stay in Brazil after their studies if they get an offer of employment their stay. However, the conversion of the visa from study to work does take some time, so make sure you plan well.

Visas

Students will need a visa to study at a Brazilian institution. This is usually a temporary residence visa, which allows for one year’s study. This can then be extended to suit your study needs. The visa application process can take up to 3 months, so make sure you get it sorted in time!

In order to apply for a visa, you generally need to provide:

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • A letter of confirmation from your MEC approved institute
  • Two passport sized photos
  • Medical records
  • Two printed and signed application forms
  • Evidence of no criminal record, original and duplicate

Within 30 days of your arrival, you need to register with the Federal Police. This will allow you to acquire a foreigners ID card. If you need to extend/renew your visa, you need to submit your application at least 30 days before it expires.

For more information regarding visas, it is recommended that you visit: http://www.portalconsular.itamaraty.gov.br/vistos-para-viajar-ao-brasil

Language

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but Spanish and English are spoken in the bigger cities. This will give you a good chance to pick up more than one foreign language – a skill that will look fantastic on your CV/resume!

Most English teaching universities will have language requirements that students have to meet. Having this required standard allows the universities to be sure that each student they admit will be able to get the most out of their studies.

If you do not meet the requirements, lots of universities will offer English Language programmes. These allow you to improve your English ready to succeed in your chosen course!

Cities

Brasília

Home to more than 2.4 million people, the capital of Brazil is the 3rd most populous city in the country. Brasília is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its modernist architecture and unique urban planning style. There are around 124 world embassies located in Brasília, and hosts many international and national events. It is a popular business and tourism destination, with a lot going on. This makes it perfect for international students looking for an exciting city to live and study in.

Brasília has 2 universities, 3 university centres and lots of private colleges, meaning that you will have lots of choice! There are also options for different types of higher education institutions. You will be able to choose between a private and public university, allowing you to tailor your education to your needs.

São Paulo

The most populous city in Brazil, São Paulo is home to more than 12.1 million people. It will provide you with a busy social life, and many study and work opportunities. Not only does the city have an excellent presence in the business world, it also boasts many art, cultural and sporting attractions.

Located in São Paulo are many public and private higher education institutions. You will be spoilt for choice, and no doubt will find the course perfect for you! The University of São Paulo is a public university, and is the largest and most prestigious institution in Brazil. It offers a broad range of courses, and has a great reputation internationally.

Rio de Janeiro

Potentially the most famous city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is home to over 7.4 million people. It is known for being vibrant, loud and fun in all the best ways! Not only is it a well developed city in terms of business and industry, it also has many famous landmarks. These include Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Municipal Theatre.

Rio hosts one of the world’s most famous Samba Carnivals, with people flocking from all over the world to come and see the spectacle. It is also known as the birthplace of the Bossa Nova music genre, as well as having many internationally known beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana beach.

There are around 99 higher education institutions in Rio de Janeiro, all certified by the Ministry of Education. One of these is the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, which is the second best in Brazil. There are many universities for international students to choose from, covering all ranges of subjects from arts to applied mathematics.

Universities in Brazil

Browse universities in Brazil using the map. You can also select a university from the list below to view more information about the institution, its location and the courses offered.

Institutions in Brazil

Browse higher education providers in Brazil on the map or select from the list to learn more

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