Internships Abroad in Sao Paulo

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A Guide to Interning Abroad in São Paulo

Brazil is known for housing most of the Amazon rainforest and amazing world-renown beaches along its coasts. But, São Paulo is specifically known as the artistic center of the country, and an overall business fueled city. The most populated and largest city in Brazil, São Paulo offers many internship opportunities, to say the least. Despite not having direct access to the nation’s well known rainforest or beaches, this highrise jungle maintains the culture and energy that Brazil is known for. São Paulo offers numerous prospects for internships abroad, equipped with weekend getaways that are still just a stone’s throw away.

Internships in São Paulo

Since the city possesses a significantly booming economy (and is one of the largest business centers in South America), completing an internships in São Paulo will most definitely make you stand out when apply for jobs in the future. Since there are a wide range of internship opportunities in São Paulo, finding one that fits your aspirations and goals will be easy, the harder part of the process will be getting the one you want! 

Journalism. São Paulo provides interns with the opportunity to intern with major newspapers and take baby steps into the field of journalism. Journalism internships in São Paulo will further your writing, editing, interviewing, and even layout and design skills. Interning in journalism also happens to be a great way to start building your portfolio in the field, and doing so abroad will only take your foundational journalism skills to the next level. International experience obtained through journalism internships abroad will be highly valuable no matter what country you end up looking for work in.

Law. With many different types of law internships in São Paulo, you will have many opportunities to further develop your understanding of the field and become a pro in your specialty area. With law internship opportunities ranging from working closely with a judge to interning with a private law firm to working in a legal department, there are a number of approaches you can take for your legal internship in São Paulo. Internship experience is especially important for those entering the field of law and legal justice, and by getting this experience abroad you will make your resume stand out from your peers immensely.

Social Work internships in São Paulo with organizations that provide programs for at-risk youth or other forms of rehabilitation programs are widely available. Social work interns will often be tasked with creating a safe environment for youth, and they will therefore have the chance to interact closely with community members. Additionally, some interns will work on improving on going programs or the basic functions of the organization. Social work internships in São Paulo will also typically expose interns to Brazilian culture more intimately.

It is common for internships in São Paulo to take place only Monday through Thursday, usually amounting to about 30 to 35 hours per week. By putting in some extra hours during those four days of the week, interns will be able to enjoy long weekends and explore the city (or areas outside of São Paulo).

Prior experience is oftentimes not required to intern in São Paulo, but this is entirely dependent on your field of interest and the specific placement you choose. Portuguese language skills are also not typically required, but can make a world of difference when it comes to communicating both in the office and around the city.

Life in São Paulo

Life for an intern in São Paulo will be busy, but it is well worth investing your time in every internship task to ensure maximum career benefits. São Paulo is a business center, and has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it a paramount choice for internships in Brazil. Although this means you will be expected to work hard, there will still be time to enjoy your surroundings on your free time and experience Brazilian culture. 

Interning in São Paulo will give you the opportunity to explore the city’s markets, the São Paulo Museum of Art, or Parque Siqueira Campos, a forest park right near the business district. With a wide range of cafes, bars, and restaurants throughout the city, you will always be able to go out for lunch or drinks with fellow interns, and more importantly new local friends. São Paulo certainly provides an urban experience with a Brazilian spice.

While Brazil is somewhat casual and leisurely with time, this is not true in the business world of São Paulo. Most business meetings will start on time, and punctuality is vital for success. Business meetings do, however, begin with conversation first, and should be led by your boss or mentor. 

Some things to keep in mind, both in and out of the workplace, include body language and forms of communication. Long handshakes are very common in Brazil, so be sure to shake hands with your colleagues and take your time. There are also a few common hand gestures used in Brazil that you will eventually get the hang of, and also some that you should leave at home, such as the OK signal (which has a different meaning in Brazil). Always keep in mind cultural differences in all your business and personal interactions and you’ll adapt to your new home in no time.

Salary & Costs

Internships in São Paulo are unpaid for the most part, but most programs will provide a stipend for interns that will cover daily living expenses. The cost of living in São Paulo is comparable to the United States, since it’s one of the more developed and expensive cities in Brazil. A one bedroom apartment outside of the city center can be rented for around $400, and a monthly pass for the subway typically costs around $45. Rent costs and transportation should be covered by any basic stipend however. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $8, and a cappuccino will cost you around $1.50.

Accommodation & Visas

Accommodations are typically provided for interns in São Paulo in either an apartment or condo. Homestays are also an option, but may involve commuting to and from your internship placement if the family doesn’t live in the city. 

There are ten different visas available to foreigners who wish to enter Brazil (which can seem daunting), but your internship placement provider will help you determine which visa suits your needs best. If you are engaging in an internship in São Paulo supported by a Brazilian University, then you need to get the Temporary Visa IV, or VITEM-IV. Otherwise, those traveling for business are required to obtain the Temporary Visa II, or VITEM-II. In order to get a visa and intern in São Paulo, you must provide proper documentation about your internship, including the name of the organization you will be interning with and the duration of your stay, with your visa application. Visas must be coordinated well in advance, so be sure to budget enough time before your internship begins.

GoAbroad's Insider Tips

The Smog in São Paulo will be extremely noticeable, especially for those who haven’t lived in a big city before. Air pollution is one of the biggest challenges for those intern in São Paulo, and for those who live there in general. Limiting time outside and paying close attention to smog alerts will keep you safe and happy during your internship in São Paulo.

Business in Brazil. Finding a job in Brazil before having work experience in country will prove to be very difficult. By exploring the business world of Brazil in a city like São Paulo, you will be able determine if you want to work in Brazil in the future, while improving your chances of getting a job there (and anywhere!) in the future. 

Read our comprehensive guide on intern abroad in Brazil

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A Guide To
Interning Abroad in São Paulo


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