By Pedro Souza
June 19, 2017

With an area of more than 8.5 million km², Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. In a massive country that lacks a proper railroad infrastructure, knowing how to get around by bus is an essential skill. This is especially true if you want to explore the country but cannot afford to do it by plane or by car. Buses in Brazil are not only cheaper but they are also quite comfortable, and are often equipped with air-conditioner and reclining seats.

One can also travel almost anywhere through the bus lines in Brazil, which offer a wide range of options. Some of the destinations reached by buses are not accessible by planes, which makes them extremely useful even for those who are not limited by a budget. Also, let me remind you that among the areas not accessible by plane are among some of the most beautiful places in the country.

First of all, you should remember to plan your trip in advance. A good way of doing this is through Busbud, which allows you to choose from a great variety of schedules from most of the major bus companies in Brazil. This will allow you to choose a route of your desire at a time that is convenient for you, as well as good seats. It might also save you a good deal of time that would be spent waiting In a bus station. You still have the option of going to a bus station and buying a ticket there, but they are less convenient are quite hard to navigate if you don’t speak Portuguese.

You should also do some research and check which type of bus you want to get in. Buses vary greatly in both quality and price. Some buses will even offer comforts such as a front-seat TV and a WiFi, but they are also a lot more expensive than some of the other options available. Another thing that is always helpful is to speak some basic Portuguese so you can talk to bus drivers and bus station employees.

When travelling by bus, you should also take some precautions to avoid falling prey to thieves, which are known to target travelers. You are more likely to be targeted in a bus station, so be sure to keep all your belongings close and never leave them unattended. It might be useful to keep your money in a money-belt as well. When you are inside the bus, do not leave your possessions under your seat, especially if you are sleeping.

Another thing you should be prepared for is dealing with long bus rides. If you are travelling the country by bus, you might even have to deal with 20-hour rides. If you are the type of person that gets hungry during trips, be sure to bring some snacks with you. Even if the bus offers food, it might not satisfy you when dealing with long trips. It is always good to bring a distraction as well. Trips through the country and during the day are great for enjoying the scenery, but night-trips can be excruciatingly boring. Bring some books, comics, magazine or electronics that will entertain you.

Be also ready for unexpected changes. You might face problems due to weather conditions, road conditions or mechanical issues. If you are open to these changes and know what alternative routes you can take in case you face any problems, it might save you from a lot of stress. And last but not least, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and have a good trip!

By Pedro Souza
June 19, 2017

Brazil is not only a great country for living and visiting, but it also offers many opportunities for studying. Many Brazilian colleges appear frequently in the QS World University rankings, with USP (Universidade de São Paulo) and UNICAMP (Universidade Estadual de Campinas) being the two most prominent ones in the last ranking.

Educational institutions in Brazil are often evaluated, as a form of quality control. Postgraduate programmes are evaluated every two years by the government, and if they get a low score they are then monitored by the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES).

There are different types of institutions that offer higher education in Brazil. The first of these institutions are universities, which are focused on teaching and research on different areas of human knowledge. Universities need to be recognized by Brazil’s Ministry of Education, which is known as MEC. For a university to be recognized by MEC, at least one third of its teaching staff must have a PHD. Then there are University Centers, which are institutions focused on multi-course teaching but with no obligations to carry out research.

One can also get higher education in Integrated Faculties and Schools of Higher Education, which offer both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Both of these institutions need to be recognized by MEC as well when opening new courses. Integrated Faculties are subject to a set of regulations made by a larger university institution to which they are affiliated, while schools of higher education offer one or a few courses in a specific area. Both of these institutions have little autonomy.

There are also institutes that offer courses and carry out research on specialized subjects, as well as isolated private colleges, which are not linked to any university and are not required to conduct research. These colleges offer graduate and post-graduate courses, and are very easy to be admitted into most of the time. Prices and quality in these colleges vary. Some private colleges offer excellent courses, but often at inaccessible prices.

Undergraduate degrees are known in Brazil as a “bacharelado” (Bachelor’s), and take from three to six years to complete. One can also take technology degrees known as “tecnologia”, which take from two to three years to complete and offer specialized courses with a focus on practical knowledge in areas such as agribusiness and metallurgy.

In order to apply for any institution that offer higher education, it is mandatory to have finished high school. Since 2009, one can enter certain universities using grades from the National Survey of Secondary Education (ENEM), a test that students take in the last year of high school. For the majority of courses, students will take a test offered by the college which is known as “Vestibular”, and which varies in content and subjects according to the institution and course that one intends to join.

If students have applied for in person education, they are required to attend at least 75% of the lessons and evaluations offered by the institution they have chosen. In many institutions, however, some teachers will not take note of students who are missing. One can also choose distance courses, which use printed and visual media, as well as the internet. Some courses are offered in English and other languages that are not native to Brazil. This tendency has been growing, as learning institutions have been showing an increasing interest in attracting foreign students. That being said, most courses are still taught in Portuguese only.