Rio is one of the premier tourist destinations in the world. The city's vibrant culture and many museums, historical sites, and physical features, especially the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, attract large crowds of visitors, as do events and festivals such as the annual Carnival and New Year's Eve celebrations. However, it is also one of the premier economies in South America and presents as many opportunities for professional advancement as it does for personal enjoyment.

Rio de Janeiro is home to a multitude of important cultural and historical sites, the most famous of all being the gargantuan statue of Christ the Redeemer. Though many of these monuments speak to Brazil's colonial history, the culture of Rio de Janeiro reflects the true diversity of the Brazilian populace. It is the city of one of Brazil's most famous novelists, Machado de Assis, and the birthplace of the bossa nova and Funk Carioca music styles. Rio is a city of cultural exuberance and innovation in addition to being a tourist hotspot.

Business: Rio's economy is diverse and growing rapidly; the average GDP growth rate in Brazil is 5% per year. The city's Centro quarter is home to the financial district as well as many Brazilian and international businesses. A business internship in Rio will help you build the skills and connections you need to break into the field. Rio can be the introduction you need to the high-paced and increasingly international world of business.

Hospitality/Tourism: Rio de Janeiro's warm beaches and tropical forests have made it a popular tourist destination. The city's Carnival and New Year's Eve festivals draw visitors from all over the world. Rio's rich culture appeals to a diverse cross-section of travelers. Working as an intern in the hospitality or tourism industry in Rio provides a great introduction to the field, allowing you to get hands-on experience in a popular getaway spot. Your internship will also mean that you have the inside scoop on all the best things to see and do while you're in Rio.

Social Development: Despite the city's strong economic foundations, income inequality in Rio is staggering. The numerous shanty towns, or favelas, serve as indicators of the city's economic disparities. As its economy grows, the City of Rio de Janeiro has been working to close the gap between its rich and poor citizens, however many people still lack access to basic and essential resources. In addition, some of the city's major construction projects are likely to put these populations at even greater risk. As a social development intern, you can work to help increase access to healthcare, food, education, and advocacy tools for the most vulnerable of Rio's residents.

When and Where to Look for an Internship

Internships are usually available year-round. Depending on the type of work you want to do, look for universities, companies, or NGOs that operate in Rio, since many of them are looking for interns.

Cost of Living in Rio de Janeiro

Most internships in Brazil are paid. Here are some expenses to help you determine the cost of living in Rio:

  • 1 bedroom apartment in the City Center: $890
  • Monthly transit pass: $66
  • 1 liter of milk: $1.11
Work Culture in Rio de Janeiro

Etiquette: Professional dress in Rio tends to be more formal. Both men and women dress fashionably, and women in general dress very femininely. Personal conversation can be very forthcoming and open about personal details. Greeting people is usually done with a handshake; friends will often also greet each other with a pat on the back or a kiss on the cheek. At work, last names and titles used for superiors.

Language: Portuguese is the official language in Brazil, but English is commonly spoken.

Networking: As a capital city and popular tourist destination, Rio draws in many conferences and business professionals. Personal introductions are very important for making professional connections in Brazil, so working to connect with people in your program and having them introduce you to others is probably the best way to go about networking in Brazil.

Work and Labor Laws in Rio de Janeiro

Internships in Brazil, known as estágios, are regulated by the Lei do Estágio (Internship Law). This law requires almost all internships to be paid, limits the hours worked per week to 30, mandates that companies provide Personal Injury Service, and ensures the right of interns to 30 days of paid holiday for each year worked.

Interns from the United States must obtain a visa before arriving in Brazil from the Brazilian embassy or consulate nearest to them. For more information on visas, see the US State Department.

Contributed by Robin Goralka

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