Facts about Brazil
Capital is Brasilia but largest city is São Paulo
Main language is Portuguese
Currency is the real (one real = 100 centavos)
The largest country in the Latin American region, and fifth largest in the world
Borders with Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean
Sixth largest economy in the world, after overtaking the UK in 2011
Most popular national sport is football (soccer); Brazil has won the World Cup five times, most recently in 2002
Major agricultural products include soy beans, wheat, rice, beef and coffee
More than 2,000 beaches
The annual Carnival, held in Rio de Janeiro in February, has become world famous for its spectacular parades
Life in Brazil
From the easy-going coast-and-carnival culture of Salvador to the historic ports of São Luís, Brazil offers many attractive destinations for students.
The country’s capital city, Brasilia, is not particularly well known – though it does have to compete for the limelight against the iconic Rio de Janeiro, and the sprawling metropolis that is São Paulo.
Then there are the nation’s huge areas of natural beauty – including the Amazon River and Rainforest, and the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Iguaçu National Park. These attractions are all in addition to the fact that Brazil is home to many of the best universities in Latin America, as well as being one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Brazil is an especially exciting place to be if you’re keen on sports. In 2014, the FIFA World Cup will be held here, and in 2016 Rio de Janeiro – already world-famous for its annual Carnival – will host the Olympic Games.
While Brazilian cuisine is not as internationally familiar as Mexico’s array of tortillas and burritos, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign that it is lacking in the flavour department.
Each region has its own distinctive cuisine, but common ingredients often include rice, black beans, root vegetables, fish, beef and pork. There are plenty of fresh exotic fruits to enjoy, and don’t forget to sample the rum and lime-based Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail!
Information For Students
As a student in Brazil, you may well be based in São Paulo, which is one of the biggest metropolitan areas not only in Latin America, but the entire world. São Paulo featured in the 2012 QS Best Student Cities, scoring highly for its six QS-ranked universities, relatively low cost of living and strong reputation among Brazilian employers.
As well as being Brazil’s industrial and commercial centre, São Paulo is also the cultural heart of the country. Here you’ll find buzzing nightlife, cutting-edge drama and dance companies, and world-class museums.
Other notable cities for students include Belo Horizonte, home to the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; Port Alegre, where Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul is based; capital city Brasilia, with its Universidade de Brasilia; and of course Carnival city Rio de Janeiro – where you’ll find the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro.
An undergraduate degree in Brazil will usually take four years to complete, but this will be five or more for ‘professional’ degrees – such as architecture, engineering, medicine or law.
Ability to study in Portuguese is a requirement for international students at undergraduate level, and is assessed by the Certificado de Proficiência em Língua Portuguesa para Estrangeiros (Celpe-Bras) exam.
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