Brazil is the largest and most populous nation in South America. Both by geographical area and population, it is the fifth largest country in the world. Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers. It borders all South American countries except Chile and Ecuador and covers 47 per cent of the continent.
Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America and is one of the four emerging economies collectively known as BRIC countries. Major export products of the country include automobiles, footwear, steel, iron ore, coffee, corned beef, orange juice and electrical equipments.
Brazilian topography is varied and includes plains, scrublands, highlands, mountains and hills. Given its size and geographical diversity, Brazil experiences a diverse range of weather conditions: equatorial (north), tropical (center), sub tropical, semiarid (northeast), and temperate (south).
Brazil hosts a human population of 192 million which is derived from three main ethnic groups: Indians (original inhabitants), Europeans (mainly Portuguese), and Africans (mostly from sub-Saharan west coast). 80 per cent of the population practices Christianity.
When one thinks of Brazil, vibrant and colourful carnivals, enthusiastic football fans, exotic beaches and the great Amazon river come to the mind. It is a fast emerging economic and political power in South America.
Brazil’s most popular tourist attractions are the Salvador beaches, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Ouro Preto. One can enjoy a diverse topography - waterfalls, wetlands, unique flora and fauna, and the Amazon rainforest which is home to some of the world’s oldest tribes.
It is a melting pot of people, cuisines and locales and that’s what makes living in Brazil a whole new experience. Perhaps, this is the reason why Brazil is such a popular study destination for students across the globe.
It is believed that the Brazilian way of life is relaxed and carefree. In addition to this, studying there is more cost efficient than studying in other North American countries like the US and Canada. Brazil is a hot favourite study destination for those who want to pursue a course in business, design, linguistics, and public relations.
Most of the study programs take advantage of the beautiful locales in the country and organize study-related excursions and trips to sites of artistic, historical and cultural significance.
There are more than 2,600 government and private universities in Brazil. Tuition is free for EU students, although fees have been recently introduced for the non EU students. The government or public universities are known to offer quality education. An undergraduate program in the country takes four years to complete.
However, this can even touch five years or more if the student is pursuing a course in medicine, engineering, law or architecture. The international students must be able to study in Portuguese especially at the undergraduate level. Major universities in Brazil are University of São Paulo, State University of Campinas, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and University of Brasília.
Quality assurance is an important part of Brazil’s higher education system, with postgraduate courses evaluated in every two years. Courses that score considerably less are then monitored by CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) which is the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education.
There are a number of scholarships available to study in Brazil but most of them are for one-year study abroad. Another thing is that the international students are entitled to educational loans that are available to Brazilian students.
Most international students will need to obtain a visa to study in Brazil. You can do so through the Consulate General of Brazil (Consulado Geral Do Brazil) in your home country. Student visas are issued for one year and can be renewed.
Visas usually take around two to three months to be processed, so make sure you allow plenty of time before the start of your course. You can fill in the visa application form online. To complete the Brazilian visa requirements, you will then need to send a printed and signed receipt to your nearest Brazilian consulate along with the following documents, or go to the consulate in person:
● Passport valid for six months after the end of your course
● Copy of birth certificate (may or may not be required)
● Two printed and signed visa application forms (Pedido de Visto) which will be stamped by the Consulate General
● Two passport-size photos
● Copy of a letter of acceptance from a Brazilian institution recognized by the MEC. Letter should include the length of the course, number of hours per lesson and number of lessons per week. The signature on the letter must be legalized by a Notary (Tabelião) in Brazil.
● Certificate of prosecution/conviction history issued in the last 3 months
● Proof of sufficient funds/financial support for the duration of your stay
● Medical examination results – depending on your country of origin you may also need to get a yellow fever vaccination (you’ll be given a vaccination card which you’ll need for your visa application)
● Receipt of payment of the consular fee for visa processing
You will also need to submit your academic transcripts to the Conselho Estadual de Educação, the educational institution located in each Brazilian state, which will authorize recognition of foreign education certificates.
You must enter Brazil within 90 days from the date the visa is issued. When you get to Brazil you’ll need to register with your local branch of the Federal Police (Polícia Federal) within 30 days of your arrival – you’ll be charged a tax for each day of delay after these 30 days and it may harm your chances of applying for a visa renewal or extension later on.
Police registration is necessary order to formalize your stay and to get an ID card for foreigners. You must present your passport, student visa, copy of the letter given to you by your university, and your consular fee receipt. You need to pay for this card using a special form given to you by the Federal Police. You must also use the Federal Police department to apply for a visa renewal – at least 30 days before your visa expiration date.
As a student visa holder, you may also apply for a visa for accompanying family members to join you while you study in Brazil, but neither they nor you are allowed to work in Brazil. You will also need to purchase private health insurance – either before you leave your home country (which will be easier) or when you get to Brazil (with the assistance of your institution’s Office of International Affairs/Assessoria De Relações Internacionais who are responsible for foreign students).
Make sure to hold on to your Embarkation/Disembarkation card, which you will fill in, sign and get stamped by the immigration officer at the airport. You will need to give it back to an immigration officer when leaving Brazil so they can record your departure.
Few universities in Brazil offer accommodation to international students but because Brazil is a relatively affordable country to live in, they don’t face a lot of problem. Here’s a list of generic living expenses that an international student has to incur while studying and living in Brazil.
1. Hostels - Rs. 3,20,000 to Rs. 9,00,000 per annum
2. Lodging- Rs. 48,000 to Rs. 1,10,000 per annum
3. Furnished flat - Rs. 6,00,000 per annum
4. Basic utilities (Gas, electricity, heating and water) - Rs. 45,000 to Rs. 77,000 per annum
5. Phone & internet - Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 30,000 per annum
6. Public transport - Rs. 7500 to Rs. 8500 per annum
7. Entertainment - Rs. 4500 to Rs. 5000 per annum