Study Abroad in Brazil: All you need to know

While Brazil may be synonymous with soccer, sun and samba for most, the Latin American giant has many more things to offer, especially as an up and coming study abroad destination. Along with a fast-growing economy, the country’s higher education sector has also seen a tremendous rise in recent years, and an increasing number of international students are taking note of the fact.

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Brazil has been actively pursuing internationalization as part of the country’s focus on enhancing its academic reputation and foreign student numbers are consequentially skyrocketing.  Its easier than ever to apply to study in Brazil, and with over 2,000 private and public schools offering quality higher education programs, there are opportunities galore for international students.


  1. Free Education – You read that right! Public universities in Brazil do not charge any tuition fee, even for international students! If you are fortunate enough to be admitted to one of the prestigious state-sponsored universities, your study expenses can be substantially reduced.
  2. High-Quality Education – Not only do the Brazilian universities offer an affordable education, but the standards are also on par with European and American universities. The country dominates the list of top universities in Latin America and its premier institutes of higher learning rank among the best in the world.
  3. Learning Portuguese – Since the medium of instruction in Brazilian universities is Portuguese, all students must be able to prove their proficiency in Portuguese. Spoken by 215 million people in eight countries, Portuguese speakers find it easier to understand Spanish, Italian, and French, so learning the language would be a great way to tick four boxes in one go!
  4. Culture and Tourism – One of the top reasons for international students to pick Brazil is its colourful culture and the amazing tourist destinations they would be in close proximity to. Brazil is also the land of football legends and international students won’t be able to escape the fervour for the sport while in the country.
  5. Work in Brazil – Since 2017, international students in Brazil may work legally in the country. The measure is also valid for students who have already finished the courses and intend to stay in the country.


  1. Universidade de São Paulo (USP) – Brazil’s largest university is also its most prestigious. The university features among the world’s best in 42 out of a possible 46 subject areas, including several top-50 positions.
  2. Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) – Founded in 1966, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) is considered a ‘younger’ university but also one of the world’s most prestigious. It currently ranks 2nd in Latin America and joint 182nd in the world.
  3. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – Founded in 1792, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) is Brazil’s oldest university. It currently ranks 7th in Latin America and 311th in the QS World University Rankings.
  4. Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) – Established in 1978, the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) is ranked 10th in Latin America and in the 491-500 range of the QS World University Rankings for this year.


A national university application system known as SISU (Sistema de Seleção Unificada) is used by public higher education institutions in order to offer vacancies for candidates. All prospective candidates to a private or public university in Brazil must take an entrance examination, following which students need to register on the SISU site when its selection process starts. Once registered, the system will inform you of any additional documents and/or admissions requirements you must fulfil before being able to apply to your chosen university.


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International students will require a student visa to study in Brazil. Indian students can apply for a student visa at a Brazilian consulate in India. The visas are valid for one year and can be renewed. Since it may take up to two or three months for the visa to be processed, you would be advised to apply for it at least three months before the beginning of your course. To obtain a student visa, you will require the following documents:

  1. Passport valid for six months after the end of your course
  2. Copy of birth certificate
  3. Two passport-size photos
  4. Copy of a letter of acceptance from a Brazilian institution recognized by the MEC
  5. Certificate of prosecution/conviction history issued in the last 3 months
  6. Proof of sufficient funds/financial support for the duration of your stay
  7. Medical examination results
  8. Receipt of payment of the consular fee for visa processing


Scholarships are available for Indian students looking to study abroad anywhere, like Inlaks Scholarships, as well as subject-specific scholarships for specific streams or disciplines, for example, Saryu Doshi Post Graduate Fellowships in Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Register yourself at to find many such scholarship opportunities to study anywhere around the world!

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