Quest Exchange in Brazil

As the land of Samba, soccer, white sand beaches and the Amazon basin, Brazil is the epitome of exotic. It offers big adventures for travelers with small budgets. The kindness of the people of Brazil extends from the small fishing towns to the bustling metropolitan cities. The diversity of landscapes in Brazil is unmatched. Thundering waterfalls, coral-fringed tropical beaches and the Amazon’s collection of plant and animal species are greater than anywhere else on Earth. Brazilians are known for their warmth, friendliness, and relaxed demeanors. They are expressive and casual in their conversations, often using informal language. It is not uncommon for people of all genders to lightly touch one another or to stand close to each other while conversing. Overall, the communication style and language suggests a desire for openness and a willingness to share their ideas. Undisputedly, the most popular sport in Brazil is soccer. Brazilians are crazy about it and have a strong sense of national team spirit.

Come experience the liveliness and warmth of the land of Carnival for yourself!

3 Fun Facts
  • Brazil shares a border with nine countries – every South American country except Chile and Ecuador.
  • Brazil has 64 national parks and more than 200 conservation units. One of the interesting parks – Lencóis Maranhenses National Park – is  home to sand dunes that are formed by wind and ocean currents. The dunes can reach heights of 130 feet.
  • The country effectively shuts down for 5 days of Carnival every year, and festivities continue 24 hours a day.
Program Dates

Year

Early Feb – Late Nov

Semester

Early Feb – Early July
Late July – Late Nov

Short-Term

Early Feb – Late April
Late July – Late Oct

School Life

Brazilian high school is called Ensino Medio and consists of similar classes offered in the USA. The school year is February-November, and semester programs are February-July or July-November. School starts early, at 7:20 am until 12:20, with a short break in the middle of the morning. Students end their school day at 12:20 and go home for lunch and free time. School is not the center of social activities for young students, but they do offer sports such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, tennis, and dance, depending on the school. Most of a student’s social life revolves around extracurricular activities outside of school and since school is finished by lunch time, there are plenty of activities for exchange students to stay active. Students may be placed in public or tuition-free private schools. A uniform is typically not required, but students should be prepared in case their school does require it.

Family Life

The Brazilian family is still a very close unit. Parental decisions are usually respected and followed. Though the children are often asked for their opinion and this is taken into account, they are usually not allowed to make big decisions in the family. Activities that bring the family together as a whole are very common – from watching TV to vacations. The sense of “family” often includes all relatives, especially if they live close to each other. Chances are that you will be greeted by your host family with warm hugs and kisses (in Brazil, people usually kiss each other two to three times on the cheek).

Most Brazilian families ask their children to talk about their daily activities. Therefore, if you plan to go out, they will want to know where you are going, with whom and when you are coming back. Most likely, you will have to ask permission from them for going out. Even if your family has a maid – which is fairly common in Brazil – be ready to help with home chores. Remember that your initiative with the home chores will be appreciated and will let your family know that you feel at home with them.

Program Requirements

While there is no formal language requirement for this program, students and families should be aware that school, host family and daily life will be conducted in Portuguese. Thus, having a basic level of Portuguese upon arrival in Brazil would be very beneficial, and the student must have an interest and commitment to learning the language while there.

VISAS

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Brazilian consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It usually takes several weeks to obtain a Brazilian visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Brazilian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

The vast majority of homes in Brazil will have access to WiFi. Though, it may or may not be available at school.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Brazilian carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Students cannot travel outside of the host area without adult supervision. Travel outside of the host area with adult supervision is authorized if pre-approved by the natural parents, host family, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $300/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Brazil?

Brazilian families are very tightly knit. Adult children will often live with their parents until they marry. Quality family time is important in Brazilian culture and host families will expect exchange students to participate in family meals; lunch is especially important.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Brazilian consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It usually takes several weeks to obtain a Brazilian visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Brazilian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students will either get dropped off by their host family or take the public bus. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, tutors are available and prices vary based on the subject and duration of tutoring sessions. For Portuguese language tutoring, the cost would be approximately $30/hour.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program? 

Yes, but in order to receive this, students must complete all school assignments and take all exams. Students must be proactive about this, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Brazil.

Do schools offer different sports/activities?

Brazilian schools typically offer various sports after school at an extra cost.  

THINK IT OVER

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

GET YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON BOARD

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

CHECK IN WITH YOUR SCHOOL

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

CONTACT QUEST FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION AND PAPERWORK

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

CONFIRM PROGRAM DETAILS

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

SKYPE INTERVIEW

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

WAITING FOR ACCEPTANCE

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.

ACCEPTANCE AND INVOICE

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

GET LEGAL – VISA AND IMMIGRATION

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.

SCHOOL AND HOST FAMILY PLACEMENT

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

LIVE YOUR STUDY ABROAD DREAM!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • 3 Months
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Short-Term: Variable
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.