Brazil is a country teeming with youth and vivacity. IGS has placed students in Rio de Janeiro and San Paulo. Our favorite internship was for a sports marketing student passionate about working with a professional soccer club. It took lot of contacts, but we successfully placed him with Santos Football Club–the famed organization where Pele grew into a star. In Rio, we placed a graduate student with a leading women’s advocacy group. Located on the edge of a favela, the organization helped at-risk girls avoid falling into prostitution rings. Brazil is likewise an excellent location for conservation biology students looking to make a difference. With the most diverse habitats in the world, interns have a chance to make a measurable difference. Excursions to the Mato Grosso and Manaus provide an excellent glimpse into the world’s greatest rain forest.

ABOUT THE COUNTRY 

Officially, the Republic of Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of the 17 mega-diverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection. Due to its rich culture, and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

ATTRACTIONS

Rio de Janeiro  Rio de Janeiro is the fifth-most-populous Latin American city by population, and one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, other attractions include the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado; Sugarloaf Mountain–a granite peak with cable cars to its summit; Maracana Stadium– one of the world’s largest; and Sambodromo–a grandstand-lined parade avenue used during Carnival. The city is also known for its raucous Carnaval festival featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers. Rio was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics making the city the first South American and Portuguese-speaking city to ever host the events.

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s vibrant financial center and is among the world’s most populous cities. With numerous cultural institutions and a rich architectural tradition, its iconic buildings range from neo-Gothic and to modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edificio Copan. The colonial-style Patio do Colegio church marks where Jesuit priests founded the city in 1554.

The metropolis is also home to several of the tallest skyscrapers in Brazil, including the Mirante do Vale, Edificio Italia, Banespa, North Tower and many others. The city has cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It is home to monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Ibirapuera Park, Museum of Ipiranga, Sao Paulo Museum of Art, and the Museum of the Portuguese Language. The city holds events like the Sao Paulo Jazz Festival, Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo Fashion Week, the ATP Brasil Open, the Brasil Game Show and the Comic Con Experience. The Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade rivals the New York City Pride March as the largest gay pride parade in the world. The municipality is also the Earth’s 11th largest city proper by population and wealthiest state in Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer One of the most recognized landmarks in the world, Christ the Redeemer, is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is 30 meters high, excluding its 8-metre pedestal. The arms stretch 28 meters wide. The statue weighs 635 metric tons. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone. Located at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. The statue is a recognized symbol of Christianity across the world, has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New7Wonders of the World.

TRAVEL ADVENTURE

Brazil, with its subtropical forests, historic neighborhoods and unique attractions is an amazing destination sure to delight tourists of all ages. Travelers will be astonished by the lush natural surroundings and the many things to do and see in Brazil. Both a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and the pulsing rhythms of Rio’s Carnival.

The crystal waters, tall palm trees, and broad stretches of silver are only a few of the reasons why Porto de Galinhas is frequently cited as Brazil’s best beach. Brazil has an amazing range of impressive waterfalls of all sizes and shapes. Iguacu Falls, in eastern Parana, is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, truly a sight to see. Brazil’s National Park is another wonder. Walk through the flourishing Missioner Forest, see the breathtaking Iguassu Falls and enjoy all nature has to offer, including spectacular views and amazing scenery.

The Gruta Do Lago Azul, also known as the Blue Lake Grotto, is a cave that houses a stunningly clear blue pool that is over 200 feet deep. Visitors from all over the world flock to the Blue Lake Grotto to see its stunning azure sites. In recent years, thousands of prehistoric animal bones have been found at the bottom of the cave. Archaeologists have found everything from the bones of giant sloths to saber tooth tigers. The Serra de Capivara National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from all over the world. The park has a large number of prehistoric sites with paintings that date back centuries.

When the Lacerda Elevator opened in 1873, it held many world records, including one for being the highest elevator in the world at 63 meters and for being the world’s first urban elevator. The elevator is considered one of the most popular attractions in Brazil and attracts visitors from all over the world. At the top of the towers, you can see an amazing view of the surrounding areas, including the Mercado Modelo, the Bay of All Saints, and the Fort of Sao Marcelo.

THE PEOPLE

Brazilians are reputedly one of the most hospitable people in the world and foreigners are usually treated with respect and often with true admiration. They are fun-loving people. While Southerners may be somewhat colder and more reserved, from Rio upwards people usually boast a captivating attitude towards life and truly enjoy having a good time. Friendship and hospitality are highly praised traits, and family and social connections are strongly valued. To people they have met, or at least know by name, Brazilians are usually very open, friendly and sometimes quite generous. Once introduced, until getting a good reason not to, a typical Brazilian may treat you as warmly as he would treat a best friend.

Music plays an important part in Brazilian identity. A mixture of martial arts, dance, music and game, capoeira was created by African slaves brought to Brazil, mainly from Portuguese Angola. Distinguished by vivacious complicated movements and accompanying music, it can be seen and practiced in many Brazilian cities. The traditional lifestyle and graphic expressions of the Wajapi indigenous group from the state of Amapa were proclaimed a Masterpiece of the World’s Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.

Housing & Commute
Cost
Visa
Safety
Languages

Rental prices in Brazil strongly depend on the location. They tend to be cheaper in Sao Paulo than in Rio de Janeiro. Rio has become the most expensive real-estate market in South America, especially in the Zona Sul, which includes such coveted neighborhoods as Ipanema or Copacabana.

Most large cities in Brazil are equipped with extensive road networks with buses being the main and most accessible form of public transport for Brazilians. Where available, taking the subway is a viable option to avoid intense traffic. Taxi is expensive but can save you a lot of time and trouble, especially if you are going out at night which is when public transport can be dangerous. Nevertheless, safety precautions should still be taken at all times when commuting through Brazil’s urban areas.

For those who would like to explore different parts of the country while living in Brazil, cars are the most convenient option, as are planes for longer distances. Although Brazil lacks a comprehensive railway system, it has an excellent coach network. Its long-distance buses are an economical way to travel.

Budget! Yes, boring, but very necessary. Especially when you’re dealing with different currency. Although it is the most expensive country in South America, the rate exchange makes living in Argentina reasonable and affordable. That being said, you can go out and eat to your heart’s content for $15 or less. Hit the local markets to save up some money and eat better quality food, use more public transportation or maybe share rent and some of the costs with a roommate. Use FundMyTravel to jumpstart your saving now!

Visitors of Brazil must obtain a visa from one of the Brazilian diplomatic missions, unless they come from one of the Visa-exempt countries or countries eligible for an electronic visa.

Brazil generally has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, meaning that whenever prices and restrictions are applied to Brazilian visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same measures for that country’s visitors. Holders of passports of the following jurisdictions (All European Union citizens) do not require a visa to visit Brazil for up to 90 days tourism or business purposes. An identity document is accepted instead of a passport in some cases.

The visa process is particularly tedious for US citizens, because Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, and special attention should be paid. There are several consulates in the country, but you MUST apply to the consulate that covers your jurisdiction.

Tourist visas (including those granted on the spot in immigration control, as for most Europeans) can be extended at any office of the Policia Federal. All state capitals, and most border towns and international ports have one. Tourist visas only be extended once, for a maximum of 90 days, and under no circumstances can you be granted more than 180 days with a tourist visa for any 365-day period. You should contact the federal police about 1 week before your visa expires.

Brazil is an overall safe country for most tourists. Some travellers might face some dangers while in large cities or in remote areas. It is ranked 81th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries. By law, everyone must carry a photo ID at all times. For a foreigner, this means your passport. The crime rate in Brazil, except in southern region, is considered high. The murder rate is four times higher than many developed nations and rates for other crimes are similarly high. Crimes such as pickpocketing, car jackings, burglaries and armed robberies are a common sight in the country. It’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil and is widely spoken by most of the population. English is often studied in school and is increasingly studied in private courses. It has replaced French as the principal second language among educated people. Language is one of the strongest elements of Brazil’s national unity. As time progresses, fewer people speak dialects drastically different from Portuguese to make it easier for people to communicate with one another from one location to the next.