How to Study Abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Argentina CoastlineThere was recently an animated movie released that took place in this breathtaking city. However, if this is all you ever see of Rio de Janeiro, you will be missing out. In fact, I’d have to recommend that instead just watching the movie, you study abroad there.

Rio is the second largest city in Brazil and is home to 6.3 million people. This is a fantastic place to study abroad if you want to learn Portuguese, experience Carnival, or get caught up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup madness. It is also home to absolutely beautiful landscapes and a tropical savanna climate, which means it is constantly warm with temperatures rarely dipping below 65 degrees Farenheight.

So you are wanting to study abroad in Rio? Here are some of our tips for things you should do while in this magnificent city in order to really take advantage of everything the city has to offer.

1. Take a train ride up to see Christ the Redeemer. This huge statue of Christ the Redeemer has become an international symbol of Rio de Janeiro. You can take the Corcovado Train up the mountain to see the statue up-close and personal. More than 300,000 people every year venture up the mountain to see this statue, and even if you are not a Christian, this is a fantastic work of art that you should see if you are studying abroad in Rio. Try to sit on the right-hand side of the train to get the best views as the train climbs the mountain.

2. Go to the beach! This is one of my favorite things to do in Rio. There are beautiful beaches all along the coast near Rio, but two of the most famous are Ipanema and Copacabana. Ipanema is also home to great shopping options and trendy cafes, so make sure you bring your wallet with you to this beach destination. Copacabana is a very famous beach and is a great place to take a stroll along the ocean. However, it often gets very crowded – especially on the weekends – so go early and stake out a spot. Both beaches are wonderful for people-watching and soaking up some rays.

3. Escape the big city and get back to nature. Parque Nacional and Floresta da Tijuca is the largest urban reserve in the world. You should go here if you want to see what Rio looked like before it was so developed and commercialized. Here you can hike, explore more than 46 square miles of rain forest lands, and view the 115-feet tall waterfall, Cascatinha de Taunay. If you are a nature-buff, you have to go here at least once, and I am willing to bet you will want to go back at least a few more times while you are in Rio.

4. Lose yourself in Santa Teresa Barrio. This neighborhood is a great zone for people watching and experience the Bohemian influence of the city. This is a great place to view art and shop for handmade crafts. You can also visit the Parque das Ruinas, which offers breathtaking views of Rio from inside an old mansion. I recommend coming here later in the afternoon, spending the evening in town, and then hitting up the nightlife. You are sure to hear plenty of samba music and hopefully you will get to see some couples dancing this passionate dance. However, do not go here alone at night, as it can be a little shady if you are alone; it’s best to take a group of friends and stay together all night, for safety’s sake.

5. Experience the culture on a rainy day. If you are in Rio during the rainy season, you are going to need some things to do while it is raining. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do. You can go to the Cinelandia to see a theatre show or head over to the National Library. There is also a Fine Arts Museum (Museu das Belas Artes) if you want to see some beautiful works of art. The Banco do Brazil Cultural Center is another wonderful place to spend a day indoors. Built in 1923, the Banco offers exhibitions, theatre shows, and movies, and entrance is free. However, do not go on a Monday, because the museums are all closed on this day.

Have you studied abroad in Rio de Janiero? Do you have any tips for other students who are planning on studying there? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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