Studying an undergraduate degree in Brazil won’t only give you a student environment that will be the envy of your friends, it will also give you a great education. Brazilian universities are on the rise, with more and more entering the top 500 of world university rankings. The Brazilian economy is one of the fastest developing in the world too, meaning that savvy graduates could be part of a future boom.
How can you study a degree in Brazil?
Brazil is South America’s largest country and has an impressive number of universities and institutions where you can study an undergraduate degree. Its developing economy has seen a push towards improving education standards and attracting international students. Some of the types of university where you can study an undergraduate degree in Brazil include:
- Federal government managed universities
- State government managed universities
- Municipal government managed universities
An undergraduate degree in Brazil will usually take four years to complete. However, certain professional degrees, such as medicine, law and engineering may take up to five years to complete. You must be able to speak and write Portuguese to academic standard – this is a requirement in Brazil and is assessed by a language exam.
All students, whether home or international, will have to pass an entrance exam known as the vestibular. These normally take place in December or January.
Tuition feesTuition fee costs for international students in Brazil vary from university to university, but you should expect to pay around $2,000 per year. However, many public universities do not charge tuition fees, so you’ll only have to pay a registration fee.
Immigration and visas
The vast majority of international students swho study a degree in Brazil will need to get a study visa. Although the criteria differs from country to country, almost everyone will have to pass the following:
- Original passport valid for six months after the end of the course
- Copy of a letter of acceptance from an approved Brazilian institution
Proof of finances for the duration of the stay
Once you are in Brazil, you will have to register with your local branch of the Federal Police within 30 days of your arrival. If you don’t, you’ll be charged a tax for each day you go past the 30 day limit and it may harm your chances of applying for a visa renewal or extension.
It is vital you double check all information with the Brazilian embassy in your home country before travelling.
Accommodation and living costs
Universities in Brazil don’t normally offer accommodation to their students, so unlike other countries, most students live in private accommodation.
It’s worth contacting your chosen university’s international office in advance to see if they can provide you with advice on where to stay. It might be worth booking into a hostel for the first month or so of your studies, as it is much easier to find accommodation once you are in the country.
Living costs: Brazil has a relatively high cost of living compared to other South American countries, but as with every country, the higher the standard of living you want, the more you will pay. Eating out, drinks and public transport are all more expensive than other South American countries.
Rent: As a guide, here is what you can expect to pay in rent:
- Lodging with a landlord – R$180-350 per month
- Pensionata – R$350-800 per month (a room with meals included)
Furnished flat – R$500-2,000 per month depending on the city and where you live
How safe is Brazil?
Brazil has a reputation for being one of the more unsafe places for international students to study, but with precautions most students will avoid any problems. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, not venture into the favelas (shanty towns) without a guide and to stick to taxis and private transport when getting around.
As with most major countries, crime can be an issue in the bigger Brazilian cities. You can avoid most problems by following these rules:
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Always carry a charged phone
- Avoid potentially quiet/ dark shortcuts
- Avoid carrying a lot of cash
- Let friends know where they are going
- Always keep a close eye on personal belongings whilst out
Never accept things from strangers – whether this is a lift home or a drink
Make sure you get your own dedicated travel insurance before heading out to Brazil.
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:
- Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
- Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
- Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill
What to do next
If you really want to study in a foreign country, but you aren’t sure where, take a look at our country guide. Alternatively, if you want to find out more about how to study a degree in Brazil, sign up for our Free Application Service and we'll get back in touch with you promptly.