From the Amazon River and Rainforest to Iguaçu Falls and the bustling cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil boasts 62 National Parks and some of the most famous attractions in the world. Brazil holds several records for its wildlife numbers and diversity. While Brazil suffers from horrible economic divides, the people are hospitable and hold strong to their traditions. If you’re looking to gain new perspectives, learn the traditions of local communities, and perform meaningful work while exploring one of the world’s most astonishing countries, then taking a gap year in Brazil may be the greatest time of your life!
From colonial towns such as Ouro Preto to hidden Amazon villages, Brazil is for the daring, the passionate, and the most curious of gappers. Its charming coastal and mountain towns will captivate you. Its culture and art may make your heart Samba, and its pristine beaches are perfect for reading the poetic beauty of Brazil’s many great authors. Brazil is perfect for the gapper who loves diversity and is not afraid of getting lost in an enchanted land!
Types of Programs
Brazil is one of the most popular destinations for volunteers. There are many advantages to making Brazil your volunteer abroad destination. The country possesses magnificent beaches, wide expanses of unspoiled wilderness, and one of the world's most vibrant and musical cultures. The astonishing Amazon rain forests make Brazil a favored destination for both ecotourists and volunteers looking to participate in conservation efforts. There are hundreds of conservation programs willing to work with gappers to create an adaptable schedule.
Currently, Brazil is a progressive country with a rapidly rising economy, but many disadvantaged children are still in urban slums and poor rural areas. Stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty, volunteers are needed to work with these Brazilian citizens to improve their prospects through education. There are few things more fulfilling than rescuing a street child from a life of desperation. The simple patience and dedication of volunteers make a colossal difference in their future.
Adventure travel offers the gapper fun jobs to do while exploring Brazil’s many exotic locations. For example, a gapper could work for a Carnaval Program, helping locals prepare for Brazil's biggest party of the year! Gappers can also get involved in youth sports programs, providing a recreational outlet to youth from low-income backgrounds. There are plenty of fun opportunities for the adventurous gapper to help the country while having the time of his/her life!
If you go to Brazil, make sure to visit the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. This Brazilian landmark stands hundreds of feet tall, watching over the city as a reminder of Brazilian history and cultural ties to Catholicism. It’s a truly remarkable sight (even if you're not religious).
You can also bike ride along the Iguazu Falls, a magical place to see rainbows bursting through the mist. This is also a great way to see Brazil's diverse wildlife. Every day scientists are discovering more species than they can keep track of!
Nothing beats the Amazon jungle. Here, you can see animals native to Brazil and the huge diversity of its trees and flowers, truly second to none. Hang glide, rock climb, bungee jump, or backpack through the wilderness. Brazil is a country that has everything an adventurer could ever dream of!
Brazil has experienced economic growth as it pursues industrial and agricultural development. Unfortunately, this growth has come from exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool. While Brazil is South America’s leading economic power, income distribution is highly unequal, and crime remains a pressing problem.
Conservation and environmental internships in Brazil give interns the meaningful opportunity to protect the Amazon rainforest's biological diversity. International Internships usually offer both on-site orientation and on-site support to ensure interns get a full internship abroad experience. International internships in Brazil give gappers an edge when returning home and entering the competitive job market.
Many internships will work around your schedule, allowing you to explore the delicious restaurants throughout the cities and travel to Brazil’s many monuments and landmarks. While Brazil is still struggling in many ways, its economy is growing faster than any other South American country. Brazil offers more than 30 fields to work in, including but not limited to Art, Computer Science, Finance, and Zoology.
Planning Your Trip
Cost of Living in Brazil
Prices in Brazil vary to an extreme degree. For example, Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo have been ranked amongst the world's top fifteen most expensive cities. Even modest living in these bustling cities can cost more than living in New York City! However, the price plummets drastically when you travel to the countryside and surrounding suburbs, but due to Brazil’s large economic divide, living in these areas will require large sacrifices from the gapper. As with every other country, living with luxury will be drastically more expensive. Luckily many programs will work within your budget to accommodate your needs. Study up and find the best program for your needs.
Culture and Etiquette in Brazil
Brazil is full of life and color. For hundreds of years, its heritage and culture have been in the making by diverse ethnic and cultural groups. This glorious mix of cultures has created astonishing expressions such as bossa nova, capoeira. Brazil’s strong cultural resilience sustains as indigenous peoples and African-Brazilians reaffirm their sense of identity through strife.
While handshakes are expected and will suffice. Brazilians are passionate people. As you get to know your friends, it is not uncommon for men to hug and kiss Brazilian women on the cheek. Family is extremely important to Brazilians, and the closer you get to a new friend, the more you’ll be thought of as a member of the family.
Brazil has an amazing blend of Portuguese and Hispanic traditions. This cultural clash has lead to many unique artistic developments. Every gapper should explore Brazil’s many museums, literary establishments, musical clubs, film theaters, and religious monuments. As a primarily Catholic country, Brazil is filled with gorgeous churches with jaw-dropping architecture. Brazil has produced a long history of great folklore, literature, and poetry. A few of Brazil’s finest thinkers include Jorge Amado, Joyce Cavalcante, Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Vinicius de Moraes, and many many others.
Health & Safety
Health and Safety in Brazil
Being a tropical country, most of Brazil’s potentially serious illnesses are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. While in Brazil, try not to use perfumes and after-shaves, and always use a mosquito net when you go to sleep. Remember, there are major illnesses that you may contract, such as malaria and dengue fever, so make sure to have the proper vaccinations before entering the country.
The drinking water is variable throughout the country, but for the most part, it is best to avoid tap water and drink bottled water as much as possible. Brazilian restaurants, while delicious, are not held to the same regulatory standards as restaurants in the U.S. or Western Europe. However, the food is definitely worth the stomachaches. Pepto Bismal to the rescue!
Want to earn $10,000 towards your gap year?
US residents ages 14-25 are eligible to apply for our USA Gap Year Fairs Scholarship, due Apr 15th. Register for a gap year fair to learn about eligible programs!