Internships Abroad in Rio de Janeiro

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A Guide to Interning Abroad in Rio de Janeiro

On the Southeast coast of stunning Brazil lies one of the world’s most colorful and cultural cities – Rio de Janeiro. Home of Carnival and Samba, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Christ the Redeemer, this sprawling Latin American city has much to offer young professionals looking to beef up their resume with international internship experience. With 13.5 million people, multiple corporation headquarters, and a flourishing economy, internships in Rio de Janeiro are available in almost every field. Get swept away by the marvelous landscape and the carefree yet energetic vibe radiating from the Cariocas city inhabitants – “Romantic Rio” awaits you!

Internship Placements

There are a multitude of internship opportunities in this vibrant megalopolis. Some of the most common types of internships in Rio de Janeiro are found in the fields of education, language, environmental studies, and international relations. You can live with a Brazilian family and teach them English while improving your Portuguese. The lush environment provides ample opportunities to focus working with wildlife or in conservation conducting field work. Several corporations are headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, so there are also internships in business, marketing, and other internationally-focused fields.

In addition to these fields, the range of industries to choose from is truly staggering: community development, journalism, web design, health and medicine, ecotourism, photography, and engineering. Internships in Rio de Janeiro can last anywhere from a few weeks to a full year, or even two, it all depends on the placement you choose. Those who choose to intern in Rio de Janeiro can expect to work anywhere from 10 to 40 hours per week. 

Requirements for internships in Rio de Janeiro are quite specific. Internships are almost always unpaid and applicants must be enrolled in an academic institution where they are taking at least one academic course. Interns must also have a concentration or previous experience in the field they want to intern in. Student who intern abroad in Rio de Janeiro are legally allowed to work a maximum of six hours per day too.

Life in Rio De Janeiro

Rio is divided into zones, with the South Zone being the wealthiest and most developed area. There is certainly no lack of things to do in this dynamic Brazilian city. The Cariocas are a friendly people, commonly showing their affection with hugs and kisses. They are generally quite laid-back, with a more nebulous concept of time. Evenings are spent enjoying the active music, dance, and art scene, or the city’s world-class theater productions. The city has one of the largest futbol stadiums in the world, the Macarana. For the more adventurous thrill seekers, there are also plenty of opportunities for hiking,sailing, surfing, and even hang gliding.

As the site of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the future host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio has seen a much needed upgrade in its metro transportation system in order to accommodate the staggering number of tourists coming in for the latter events. Similarly, the notorious favelas, poor and compact slums and neighborhoods located mostly in the North Zone, have seen an increase in investment and recuperative efforts, as well as a decrease in criminal activity.

Salary & Costs

By law, internships in Brazil are unpaid and interns must pay a fee to participate, which usually includes housing, in-country support, a transportation stipend, and sometimes additional perks, such as a mobile phone, visa assistance, medical insurance, Portuguese lessons, or professional training. Some companies offer a monthly stipend, between $300 to $500. Those interning in Rio de Janeiro in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math tend to receive larger stipends when offered. Not all internships in Rio include housing, so be sure to check with your program provider or potential employer to confirm all inclusions before committing.

With such an influx of tourism, and a growing economy, Rio can be pretty pricey. A cheap meal runs at about $8, a fancier dinner for two about $40. Monthly transportation passes are approximately $50. On average a one bedroom apartment in the city costs $800, and a three bedroom apartment is just below $2000.

Accommodation & Visas

Accommodations for individuals who intern in Rio de Janeiro vary in quality based on the area of the city where you choose to live. Many internships include housing, providing options such as a private room in a shared apartment, a studio apartment, dormitories, or homestays with Western style amenities. Again, not all internships in Rio de Janeiro include accommodation, so be sure to check beforehand.

With new visa regulations, internships in Brazil must be worked out in conjunction with a local school or university. The entire process can be a lengthy, two to three months, so be sure you get started well before your desired departure. Interns will need to apply for the Temporary Visa IV, in order to intern abroad in Rio de Janeiro for up to one year, which requires a valid passport, birth certificate, duplicate applications, two photos, company invitation letter, police statement of no criminal record, proof of sufficient funds for stay, proof of residency, and medical examination, where applicable. The cost is approximately $180.

Benefits & Challenges

Quality of Life: Brazilians are famous for their relaxed nature, which infuses a rich “in the moment” kind of quality to everyday experiences. Living amidst the natural beauty of rainforest and sea, the cultural hodgepodge, the Cariocas have fashioned a particularly inviting lifestyle that is itself a form of art. Just be sure the distractions don’t interfere with your work ethic!

Safety: Geographically, Rio de Janeiro is a tropical climate that sometimes experiences the occasional monsoon, flash flood, or mudslide, so be aware of your surroundings and become familiar with emergency evacuation measures. Additionally, try to avoid dangerous looking neighborhoods, as places like the favelas still encounter problems with crime and drug use.

Portuguese: There are only a few places in the world to immerse yourself in this singular, poetic romance language. It is grammatically similar to both Spanish and French, but the pronunciation and sound are distinct. This is one of the more challenging romance languages, but learning just a little bit can go a long way both professionally and with the locals.

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A Guide To
Interning Abroad in Rio de Janeiro


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