Your life will never be the same after taking a gap year in Brazil. Magnificent rainforests hugging the coastlines, impromptu capoeira dancing through cities, and roaring green hills as land meets water are just a few of the adventures you have waiting for you during your gap year abroad. Go on, take a gap year in Brazil!
Where oh where should you stay during your gap year program in Brazil? Check out the top three locations.
Rio de Janeiro. Instantly arriving in Rio you’ll be welcomed by the backdrop of music. Genres of all kinds fill the air fill beats while some might even take part in dancing. And this is no rare sight. Rio is a flavorful city with an abundance of culture enriching activities to take your gap year to the next level. All week long you can practice your Portuguese all the while saving the nearby personal enrichments for your next break: taking a cable car to SUgarloaf Mountain wide with panoramic views of the entire bay, hiking in a nearby rainforest, checking out a soccer game, or even taking dance lessons.
Salvador. This colorful city (literally) was once the capital of Brazil, is now a thriving multicultural art haven. Take a walk down the streets and you’ll be blown away by the eclectic impressions that African culture has left in this area. Ever heard of Carnival? You are join 4 million other people here while that’s happening and get your festivities on!
Sao Paulo. When you try to picture Sao Paulo, think a Latin American version of New York City or Tokyo. It’s THAT crazy. For gappers looking to make the absolute most out of an urban adventure, look no farther than Sao Paulo. There are oceans of distinct ethnic groups living in one giant city full of innovative theaters, 24/7 nightclubs, and eclectic food to satisfy all. Sao Paulo is perfect for a gapper wanting to become part of a spicy yet savory cultural cocktail including the largest communities of Japanese and Italian descendents outside of their home country. This city is also home to the most abundant openly gay group of people in all of Latin America.
Here, you will have the most luck finding jobs in Brazil for foreigners.
Brazil is a fascinating hotspot to take you gap year abroad to the next level. But what will you do with your precious time there? We have some suggestions...
Language Immersion. Learn Portuguese! Warning disclosed: knowing Spanish may not make it easier. But will it be worth it? Ahhh, yes, of course. Portuguese is a beautiful language you can spend a gap year in Brazil becoming fluent in. #DidYouKnow that more Portuguese speakers live in Brazil than around the world—combined!? Now’s the time to put your ego aside (it’s always hard to sound stupid, even if it’s not your native tongue) and leverage your gap year location to master a new language.
Adventure Travel. Brazil is home to the largest chunk of the Amazon rainforest and looks out on over 4000 miles of coastline. Fun fact: Brazil touches all but two counties in South America. You can bet that your gap year program will be filled with adventure travel if you let it, so will it? From the cloud forests to the waterfalls to the rivers and lakes—even to the dinner table (have you seen those steak cuts?!)—there’s an adventure around every corner for gap year programs in Brazil.
Teach Abroad. Teaching English abroad is one of the best jobs to have during a gap year. It relatively simple to get started with all the TEFL programs out there, plus they usually help you find housing. While living out your gap year abroad as you work in Brazil, you get to to immerse yourself in day-to-day connections with locals. How fulfilling does that sound?
Everything else you need to know about gap years in Brazil
Costs. Brazil can be an expensive country to live in. Be sure to save up as much as you can before you leave and start a FundMyTravel campaign to make your dream gap year happen. This is a way to gain spread the financial support across handfuls of friends and family, instead of the just a few. Another option to help fund your travel is to search for jobs in Brazil for foreigners.
Accommodations. Finding a place to rent yourself can be hard in Brazil, as most people own homes. If you opt to go on the route towards a formal program, coordinating your accommodations will typically be taken care of. It’s just one of the many perks! You can also opt in to a homestay living situation if you’d like to make meaningful connections with locals, improve your Portuguese, or have a deeper look into what day-to-day life looks like here. Or, opt for guest houses or apartments with other gappers like yourself!
Visas. You can stay on a tourist visa in Brazil for six months, but you’ll need to get a longer visa to be able to stay for the full duration of your gap year abroad. Refer to the GoAbroad embassy directory to get started on this process—it can be a doozy, and should be paid very close attention to.
Safety. Brazil can get a bad rap for its crime rates; don’t let this scare you away though. Polish up on your street smarts, keep valuables locked up and hidden, and don’t take drinks or snacks from strangers. Women should note that exaggerated “flirtation” by men can be common here. It’s generally just seen as a nuisance; hold your ground, don’t feed the trolls, and you’ll be fine. Ask your gap year program provider for more helpful safety tips in Brazil.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop
Good for you for taking a chance on a gap year. Gap years rock, end of story...well...it can be complex. Taking a gap year abroad (at any time of your life—NO EXCUSES!!) is like putting your personal growth on overdrive. Now, taking a gap year in Brazil is going to be one heck of an adventure. But it requires intention, reflection, and accountability. That’s why we love gap year program providers—they can provide the environment and structure to really help you thrive.
Pack your dancing shoes, your camera, and your guts for this trip. Brazil is going to test your ability to live life the fullest. Between late night samba parties to waking up at sunrise to watch the day greet Touchdown Jesus, every moment of your gap year in Brazil will be magical. Just don’t overdose on pão de queijo or brigadeiros, ka-peesh?
If a total language immersive, beach hopping, Amazon adventuring, and culture shocking gap year abroad is your thing, look no farther than your next gap year in Brazil.
Keep reading why you should take a gap year.