Study abroad Brazil, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

Posted by: Students Worldwide

Published on: 30/07/2021

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Student life in Brazil, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro


Would you recommend studying abroad in Rio de Janeiro?

My 6-month study abroad programme in Rio de Janeiro with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro really helped me improve my language skills and overall, made me much more independent and self-confident.



How did you arrange your accommodation?

Around 6 months before flying to Rio de Janeiro, I booked a hostel for the carnaval festival on Staying in a hostel was fantastic as I met a lot of other people my age, who I then ended up exploring the city with, and I met lots of locals who gave me recommendations about the city. Then I arranged a flat share with some Brazilians in Gávea, near my university campus through searching international groups on Facebook. I would definitely recommend staying somewhere with air conditioning, as it can get up to 40 degrees celcius in summer!


Which areas would you recommend to stay in?

In general, the Copacabana area is always popular amongst tourists but I personally found it to be a little unsafe and would recommend areas such as Ipanema or Leblon instead. They are typically more expensive but they are definitely much safer neighbourhoods that are also close to the beach and nearby amenities. I lived in Gávea for 6 months, as it was so close to my university campus and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a lovely family area with a lot of fruit and vegetable shops, a nearby shopping centre with a gym and plenty of local restaurants and bars. It is also only around 20 minutes walk to Leblon beach, which is beautiful!



Is Brazil safe?

Whilst I had no issues at all on my trip to Brazil, safety is definitely something that you have to keep in mind whilst travelling.

My top tips to stay safe are:

  • 1. When you are out partying (most likely in Lapa), please do not bring anything valuable with you. Locals can spot tourists and you will be a prime target for pick-pocketing.
  • 2. If you need to bring valuables with you, buy a bag that can be secured with a zip and a tie close to keep your items safe!
  • 3. Avoid putting your phone in your jean pockets. Instead, a lot of locals put their mobile phone inside the front of their jeans, which is much safer!
  • 4. Avoid walking around on your own, and always get a taxi after sundown to be safe. (UBER is a popular taxi service in Rio de Janeiro and you can track /share your location with friends)



How did you apply for a visa ?

I had to apply for a study visa for longer than 90 days and so made an appointment with the Brazilian embassy in London. I had to provide copies of documents such as bank statements for proof of finances, my birth certificate, notary signatures for verification, and then had to pay a fee for the visa itself. It can be a little stressful as there is a lot of incorrect information online, so please double check everything. If you are staying longer than 90 days, you will also need to travel to the embassy in Brazil to provide further documentation. If you live in the U.K. here is the link to the Brazilian embassy in London:

Please take into consideration that during the visa process, the embassy will keep your passport for a good number of weeks, especially in busy periods, so don’t arrange to fly anywhere in the meantime (I made this mistake).



What can you do in Rio de Janeiro?

The city of Rio de Janeiro really is spectacular! If you can, I would recommend you to go to Carnival as it has a fantastic atmosphere, and is a really fun way to integrate yourself in the city.

From mountain hikes, days at the beach or even shopping in the luxury malls, Rio de Janeiro has activities that everyone can enjoy. It was a fantastic city to live in as it has a lot of cheap food and drink options. Just remember to carry small amounts of cash (in reais) as a lot of places don’t have change or accept bank cards.

Also, don’t be afraid of ordering food and drink on the beaches, this is perfectly safe and I never had any issues! I would personally recommend eating at pay per kilo restaurants and all-you-can-eat pizza buffets. Also, make sure to try all the weird and wonderful toppings available with açaí!


Credit – Aimee Reid

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