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4 Study Abroad Destinations outside of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil

4 Study Abroad Destinations outside of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil

Brazil has never been a country to shy away but last year’s World Cup and next year’s Summer Olympics well and truly thrust Brazil under the spotlight. Throw into the mix the fact that Brazil is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and it makes Brazil a very interesting study abroad option. But it’s not just the future career benefits that makes Brazil such a great study abroad destination – surely the sun, sand, beaches and caipirinhas are just as tempting too, right? Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are without doubt the two most popular, and sadly, the most expensive study abroad destinations in Brazil. But fear not, here’s a list of 4 other study abroad destinations outside of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo that are just as intriguing and exciting and less expensive too. That means more financial leeway for your study abroad experience!



Best for: Beach bums, water sport enthusiasts and nature lovers.

You can have the best of both worlds studying abroad in Florianopolis or Floripa, as it’s locally known, as you’ll be right in the middle of a thriving city environment with 42 beaches, yes you read that correctly, 42 beaches on its doorstep. Florianopolis was even recently voted “The best place to live in Brazil”. To be honest, it’s not real surprise when you can find yourself in a vibrant metropolis one minute, but then easily escape the city hustle and bustle by heading to flawless nature reserves, visiting quaint fishing villages or trying your hand at surfing, wakeboarding or kitesurfing.

But it’s not just the leisure side of the things that Floripa has to offer for the study abroad experience. Florianopolis has frequently been cited as one of the best Brazilians cities to do business, in particular being a flourishing tech hub for new start-ups. Investors are coming in their hoards to capitalize on Brazil’s economic fortunes so if you want to experience first-hand Brazil’s booming business, Florianopolis is a good place to start.




Best for: Culture vultures, martial art aficionados and foodies

Salvador is often overlooked for its bigger siblings Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and undeservedly so. This is where Brazilians come for the infamous Carnaval and even outside of Carnaval time, the city still lives and breathes the same pulsating energy. Salvador has preserved its culture fiercely and here you will be treated to an insight into Salvador’s culture which you will see references to in the streets each and every day. You could even attend a Candomblé religious ceremony which has its roots in Salvador’s African heritage. You’d also be hard missed to avoid seeing a bout of capoeira. This martial arts originates from the Portuguese colonial period when African slaves were prohibited to practise fighting. They instead created an enthralling dance that mimics martial art movements and to watch it, is memorising. 

And if you consider yourself a food connoisseur, you’ll be hard pushed to find better Brazilian cuisine than in the North-East region. It’s full of fresh seafood, coconut milk and it has a kick to it which other Brazilian regional cuisines can’t compete with.

So considering studying abroad in Salvador da Bahia? Just think impromptu drum performances, capoeira circles in full throw and the tantalising smell of acarajé (fried shrimp and brown bean fritters) could be all yours on your doorstep if you decide to study abroad in Salvador.


Belo Horizonte


Best for: History buffs, budding linguists and arts enthusiasts

If you want to be relatively, we’re talking Brazil standards here, close to Rio de Janeiro (6.5 hours) and São Paulo (8 hours) but not have to pay the premium price tags that comes with either of the gigantesque cities, Belo Horizonte is a great study abroad option for you. Colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes are within reach too for a day trip if you’re considering a few weekend jaunts away too.

Despite its size, Belo Horizonte still manages to maintain a friendly, small-town familiarity. Thanks to this, it has a flourishing student community especially in the Pampulha neighborhood, which is conveniently located close to Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. So if you want to learn Brazilian Portuguese, studying abroad in Belo Horizonte is a good shout to learn how to master Brazilian Portuguese. 

Due to its fundamental role during the Portuguese colonial era, Belo Horizonte is a great base for those who are fascinated by history. The Museu Histórico Abílio Barreto and Memorial Minas Gerais are worth a visit and if you really want to go back in time, Gruta Rei do Mato is a must on your itinerary if you’re compelled to learn more about Belo Horizonte’s prehistoric beginnings.

Also if you really want to further your study abroad experience and you love the arts scene, Belo Horizonte has a lot to offer. Belo Horizonte is home to the Palácio das Artes which welcomes theater and performances and music concerts as well having the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, a huge arts exhibition with open air gardens, contemporary arts galleries and outdoor sculptures. 

So, plenty of language learning opportunities, historical sites to explore and a booming arts scene. Could Belo Horizonte be the study abroad option for you?




Best for: Flora and fauna spotters and explorers

Located at the mouth of the Amazon, those who wish to venture further into the jungle should look no further than Belém. But before you contemplate diving straight into the Amazon, the city itself is an interesting mish-mash of old and new and wandering around the old town will give you an insight in the city’s colonial past. You could also drop by the Mercado Ver-o-Peso, a market which dates back over 300 years to do some weekly shopping. Its purpose as a necessary link between the jungle and the city means you will be able to find fare ranging from the fairly usual such as ceramics, fish, spices and the like to the more exotic such as cobra teeth. To say it’s a sensory experience is an understatement, to say the least.

You don’t even have to explore deep into the Amazon forest either, the city zoo is just on your doorstep, featuring many of the species that you would encounter on a trip to the Amazon. Although whilst you’re in the area, you may as well take advantage of the amazing opportunity on offer and explore one of the most fascinating eco-systems in the world. Its universities are famed for their conservation and nature studies programmes so if this particularly sparks your interest, there’s no better destination in Brazil to study abroad.


Brazil’s diversity has so much to offer and amongst the many different study abroad destinations on offer, there’s a study abroad choice with your name on. Wherever you go to in Brazil, enjoy the study abroad experience and boa sorte!

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29 February 2024

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