Work and Travel in Brazil
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN BRAZIL FOR TRAVELLERS
Brazil is a country that has taken the world stage after hosting both a FIFA World Cup (2014) and the Summer Olympics. It’s also a country known for the vast Amazon rainforest and some of the most stunning beaches in the world. But getting across the country can take its toll on the wallet. Or maybe you just want to see a different side of this huge land?
Then volunteering in Brazil could be for you. The travel guides for Brazil paint a picture of an incredibly diverse country. And that diversity is reflected in the number of volunteer and paid work opportunities in Brazil that are open right now.
So here are some of the work and travel programmes in Brazil you should be looking into.
1. Working in Hostels
Brazil has always been one of the premier destinations of South America. Volunteer in Brazil and you’ll find plenty of hostels to work in. These hostels are usually looking for volunteers across the country throughout the whole year. You don’t necessarily need any experience to work in these hostels.
The vast majority of hostel jobs provide food and accommodation. Occasionally, you may be able to find a paid hostel job in a city like Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.
2. Sample Samba in the Arts and Design Sectors
Brazil has a strong samba culture and foreign volunteers are always welcome within samba schools. Yes, you could be learning samba and teaching it to others. But samba encompasses art, music, and theatre. Most of these samba programmes are based in major cities like Rio de Janeiro.
3. Work as an Au Pair
Don’t be put off by the images of the favelas. Brazil has a burgeoning middle class and many of them are hiring foreign au pairs for periods throughout the year. Work in Brazil and you’ll find both short term and long term work.
Au pair work is extremely diverse, however. Make sure your responsibilities are clear whenever you apply for this type of work in Brazil.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR BRAZIL
For tourism and business purposes, citizens of the EU are able to enter Brazil for a total of 90 days as long as they have a return ticket. This also applies to South Africans, Russians, and tourists from New Zealand. However, citizens of Canada, the United States of America, and Australia must have a pre-arranged visa in place.
Volunteering can’t be carried out on a tourist visa. For this you need a volunteer visa, which can theoretically run for up to two years. This is the temporary work visa and requires you to already have a position from an organisation registered with the Brazilian authorities.
Citizens from New Zealand and France are able to take advantage of a special Brazil working holiday visa. Only citizens aged between 18 and 30 are able to benefit from this visa. They also need medical insurance and a medical certificate before they apply.
Be aware that Brazil is extremely bureaucratic when it comes to visas.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN BRAZIL
There’s no specific seasonal work available in the spring. Around the Amazon area, this is the rainy season and will render many outdoor activities impossible. However, the general work opportunities in Brazil above tend to still be available.
The summer season will see many children depart school for one to three months, depending on age and location. Many of these children attend summer sports camps. As you would expect, football is by far the most popular sport here.
For one of the best volunteering opportunities in Brazil, attend a football camp, become acquainted with the locals, and have lots of fun!
If you want to work and travel in Brazil teaching English is a great way to do it. English teaching work in Brazil has the capacity to pay, as well as being voluntary. The market in Brazil is relatively informal, but if you want to join a formal school you should have a TEFL qualification, or the equivalent of.
You’ll have an even bigger advantage if you’re able to understand some Brazilian Portuguese. It will make you far more marketable, but it’s definitely not necessary.
Winter in the Amazon is when a lot of the seasonal conservation work is carried out. This is the season before the rainy season and is when the Amazon is extremely humid. Not all conservation work requires you to have specific skills. Sometimes all you need is the ability to carry out some basic manual labour.
The majority of volunteering opportunities in Brazil’s rainforest will come with only the most basic of accommodation and may take you away from civilisation for weeks.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN BRAZIL
Brazil has a long history of taking in foreign workers. Its colonial history and constant immigration throughout South America has made it extremely common for foreigners to work in this country. Furthermore, most of the conservation work in the vast Amazon has been undertaken with the help of foreigners.
It should be noted that Brazil is the most expensive country in South America, therefore in the major tourist destinations expect to be targeted by the usual array of touts. Many tourists visiting Brazil are those with money, so if you look like a Westerner and don’t speak Brazilian Portuguese you may be seen as something of a walking ATM.
But if you want to work and travel in Brazil’s rural areas you won’t have any such problems. The locals are used to foreigners passing through and in many roles you’ll be appreciated for the help you’re providing to the country.
Brazil is a modern country with a modern economy. This is not a third-world country where foreigners are looked at with a sense of wonder.
If you have any prior experience with Brazil and you want to begin a new adventure, now is the time to work and travel in Brazil.