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Expat Women Living in Brazil

If you are (or plan to be) an expat living in Brazil, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links for women living in Brazil, country information and more...
Expat Clubs... General Links...
International Schools... Citizens...
Local News in English... Country Information...
Top 5 Tips... Settling In Tips...
American Society of Sáo Paulo 
The Society exists for the following purposes: To promote and maintain friendly relations between the United States of America and Brazil, to provide for the celebration of days of remembrance such as Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and other holidays traditional to United States citizens, to receive and entertain officials and visitors from the United States, to aid United States citizens and their immediate families who are destitute or have insufficient resources to meet emergencies or other essential needs, to aid and assist newly arrived United States citizens by providing information which helps orient them in their new surroundings, to promote charitable, social, cultural, and athletic activities of interest to the U.S. community in São Paulo.
Associação Beneficente Internacional Women's Club Porto Alegre
Participation in our Club has given the members the opportunity to meet an international group of people with varied interest, customs, cultures and languages, to learn more about Porto Alegre and the Brazilian way of life. Some have found that special friend to help through the difficult adjustment in a new country.
International Newcomers Club - Rio de Janeiro
The International Club of Rio (InC) is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals from the local and expatriate English-speaking communities.
International Women's Club of Paraná
The aim of the club is to provide opportunities to meet informally, exchange ideas and make new friends as well as helping newly arrived international families settle more easily in their new life. The club is open to expatriate women and their families that are new to Brazil, Brazilian women who have lived abroad for at least three years (within the last 10 years) and (English-speaking) Brazilian women whose husbands are foreigners.
Macaé International Women's Club (MIWC)
A non-profit, volunteer organization offering friendship, guidance and service to women establishing residence in Macaé and surrounding areas. Furthermore the Macaé International Women's Club provides opportunities for charitable activities and humanitarian assistance to our community.
Newcomers Club - Brazil
An English-speaking group that is designed to give you the opportunity to meet and develop friendships with others who live in the same area.
The American Society of Rio de Janeiro (AmSoc Rio)
This organization celebrates American traditions, hosts themed parties, and supports local charitable projects. The group is open to all nationalities and offers opportunities to volunteer, meet new friends, and network through group events, including a Speaker Series. Their Ambassador program links new members with those who have lived there for many years.
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American School of Brasília
American School of Campinas (EAC)
pre-K to 12, co-ed
We follow the American curriculum, are recognized by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and have an excellent program of studies. We have in our community children from all over the world.
American School of Recife
American School of Rio de Janeiro
Escola das Nacoes – Brasília
International School of Curitiba
Pan American School of Bahia
St. Paul's School Sáo Paulo
The American Elementary and High School Sáo Paulo
The American School of Belo Horizonte
Tip Toe Alphaville's Montessori School &
Discovery Alphaville’s Elementary School Sáo Paulo
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Brazil Map
Central Intelligence Agency, 2005
South America
Capital City:
Other Important Cities:
Rio de Janeiro, Sáo Paulo
Real (R$)
Calling Code: +55
Internet TLD: .br
110/220V 60Hz
Emergency Numbers: Medical: 192
Fire: 193
Police: 147
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These tips were kindly provided by volunteer Expat Women Mentors in 2007. ExpatWomen.com shares these tips in an effort to help but takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information.
Provided by Julia D, a German in Curituba, Brazil
Learning Portuguese is absolutely necessary.
Try to make friends as quickly as possible and get in contact with the International Women's Club of Curituba. Here you will find a lot of nice women who are in the same situation as you are.
Enjoy the positive aspects of your new home country such as the good weather, excellent food, all kinds of affordable services, nice and warm-hearted people.
Try to avoid bad neighborhoods at night.
If possible, arrange a house or an apartment with heating; it can get pretty cold here in winter. For safety and comfort reasons I would recommend renting a house or apartment in a closed compound.
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ExpatWomen thanks Gringoes for supplying the following Settling In Tips for Brazil.  This is only a small summary to help you get acquainted to your new country. You can find much more detailed information, including local websites (that we have not included here) at their website http://www.gringoes.com
Expand/ContractImmigration/Visas and Permits
There are three main types of visas:

• Transit visas (good for up to ten days)
• Visas for short stay (up to three months)
• Visas for long periods of residence (more than three months)

If you are coming from a country that requests visas from Brazilians (US, Canada, Australia etc.) you will need to get a tourist's visa.

Best to request a 3 month tourist visa. Nationals from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and other neighboring countries can enter with a simple photo I.D. Most European nationals need nothing but a valid passport and return ticket. Best to check with your local Brazilian embassy.

In addition to the passport, all expatriates are expected to register with the RNE -- Foreign National Register. Once the transferee has done that, he or she will be issued with an identification card. It is mandatory that you register with the RNE, as it is connected with local police.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Expand/ContractCost of Living and Utilities
The cost of living has increased in dollar terms over the past few years as the local currency strengthened in value. In general most food and clothing items are around half what you would pay in the US or Europe, while imported items such as electronics, cameras, computers etc are double the price because of a 100 percent import tax.

If renting a house then the tenant will be responsible for all utility bills as well as property taxes. If in an apartment you will pay a monthly maintenance fee (call condominium) which can include gas (if the building has piped gas) and water. Electricity and property tax is normally paid by tenant.
Expand/ContractTelephone Service
Calling internationally from a public phone can be difficult. Not all public phones can make international calls and the few that do are not clearly marked. There are telephone centers where you can make your call and pay at the end, but these are not easy to find in general.

When calling from a private phone you need to use the code from a service provider to make long distance and international calls. From Sáo Paulo the most common companies are Telefonica (15), Embratel (21) and Interlig (23). Call the US, for example, with Telefonica and you would dial 00 15 1 xxx xxxxxxx. 00 is for an international line, 15 is the service provider, and 1 is the country code for the US.
There is no local television in Engish. The most popular local channel is Globo. The most popular cable services are NET and Sky. Price and service is similar with both of these (around $50.00 a month) for around 60 channels (mix of local and international such as Sony, CNN, Movie channels, Discovery etc.)
Expand/ContractInternet Access
Telefonica has a broadband service called Speedy which costs around $60.00 a month. You will need an ISP also, which can cost another $10 a month. The second option is to use cable broadband, such as NET. If you already have cable TV to get Broadband will cost an extra $40 a month.
Expand/ContractPostal Service
Local postal service, called Correio, is reliable. Their courier service is called Sedex and will be less expensive than using international couriers such as DHL or UPS. Although you might want to use these for international deliveries.
Expats tend to rent their homes. Choosing the right place to live is essential to having a pleasant and safe stay in Brazil. Also, rent can vary greatly depending on the neighborhood and condition of the building. Make sure you fully understand all the costs involved, including monthly maintenance fees (condominium) for apartments, and taxes (IPTU) and insurance for houses.
The official language is Portuguese. Away from the big cities, most Brazilians have little or no command of English. Many are able to understand Spanish, however, due to the similar nature of the two latin-based languages.

English Portuguese
Portuguese Português
Yes Sim
No Não
Hello Ola, Oi
Good bye Adeus, Tchau
Good morning Bom dia
Good night Boa noite
Thank you Obrigado (a)
Please Por favor
You’re Welcome De nada
My name is… Meu nome é
I am… Eu sou
How much? Quanto custa?
Do you speak English? Você fala Inglês
I do not know Eu nao sei
How do I get to…..? Como chegar em
The currency used in Brazil is the Real.

• Notes (real): 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500
• Coins (real): 1 and 2
• Coins (centavos): 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50

To exchange currencies, most people use foreign exchange bureaus, or Cambios, which can be found in shopping centers and also down town. It is important to carry some cash with you as some places do not accept credit cards. Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) are available at all major banks.

Common forms of payment:

- Cash
- Debit card
- Credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express)

In general opening a current banking account in Brazil is complicated and tiresome. You will need proof of income, I.D., social security number (CIC or CPF) and proof of address. To open a savings account can be much simpler with some banks only requiring I.D. and proof of address, such as a paid electricity bill, which doesn't necessarily have to be in your name.
Banco do Brasil
Expand/ContractPayment of bills
Most banks have good Internet facilities and bills can be paid online using your local account. Bills can also be paid at ATM machines, or standing debits can be established for monthly bills such as water, electricity, telephone. These utility bills can also be paid at the post office or lottery vendors. Wire transfers can also be made online. Sending checks by mail is not common here and not advisable due to risk of loss.
It is essential to have health insurance in Brazil, as hospital and medical fees are high. For most regions of the country you don't need to worry about vaccinations. Yellow fever shots are necessary however if you plan to visit the following states; Acre, Amazonas, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Para, Rondonia, Amapá and Roraima. For these regions vaccination against typhoid, polio and malaria is also recommended.

There are pharmacies on every corner in Brazil. They are called Farmacia and are easily recognizable. You need prescription a for some medicine but in general they are much more relaxed than in Europe or US about prescriptions.

Drinking tap water should be avoided, even in big cities. Bottled water should be drunk at all times.
There are many international schools where English is the main language for learning (from preschool to University level). Please see www.gringoes.com or below for a list of schools (not exhaustive).
Transport within Brazil is overwhelmingly road based, accounting for 97% of travel, compared with 2.2% air and less than 1% rail, and the country's coach service is fairly advanced with high quality buses connecting most major cities.
Expand/ContractCars and Drivers Licenses
Brazil has over 1,400,000 kilometers (900,000 miles) of roads and to drive here you should ideally get a local or International drivers license (validated by the Automovil Club do Brasil). A foreign license is valid for six months, but a certificate of validity should be obtained from the appropriate local driving authority (Detran). This can be done using the services of a "Dispachante" or you can take care of it in our Visa and Documents section in the Services category. To rent a car in Brazil, you will need a credit card, drivers licence and passport, or some other form of ID.

There are a lot of tolls on highways leading out of Sáo Paulo and Rio. In general they can cost $3 to $4 each time, but road conditions are usually good as a result. Car insurance is not compulsory in Brazil, although it is advisable due to high risk of theft.
Expand/ContractPublic Transportation
Bus service in Sáo Paulo is confusing, slow and overcrowded and generally not recommended (also no air con). Subway system is safe, clean and an excellent choice, but is limited in scope.

Taxis are frequently the expat's transit form of choice. There are two dominant kinds of taxis you can use: yellow taxis and radio taxis.
The main international airport, known as Guarulhos or Cumbica, lies about 30km north of Sáo Paulo.
The most common grocery stores are Pao de Acucar (Brazilian chain) and Carrefour (French). There are four or five specialty stores in Sáo Paulo that carry imported food items (peanut butter etc.). For clothing and household items most Brazilians go to the shopping malls.
Expand/ContractDress Code
There is no dress code.
Expand/ContractHousehold Help
Most people have part time or full time help at home (usually not live in). Average wage for full time maid is around $300 a month, plus taxes and transport. Usually find through word of mouth.
It can be difficult for spouses to find work, even if they have the proper visa to do so. The employment market in Brazil is tight, and usually works on who you know rather than what you know.
There are lots of cinemas and most movies are shown in the original language with subtitles in Portuguese. There are also lots of theaters but mostly in Portuguese. Brazilians love to practice sports. Popular sports include football (soccer)
Brazil's climate is most influenced by its proximity to the equator. Throughout the country, temperatures seldom rise above 35° C (95° F), due to the moderating effect of high levels of atmospheric humidity. The summer months, November through March, tend to be hot and humid with abundant rainfall. Summer temperatures range from 19° C to 27° C (66° F to 81° F). During the winter, the temperature varies between 10° C and 20° C (50° F and 68° C). During this season Rio is sometimes influenced by cold low-pressure systems from the Atlantic, which can cause the temperature to drop.

Regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and we are not responsible for the errors that might result. Please contact your closest embassy or consulate for confirmation.
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