If you want to take the opportunity to get to know the host country of the 2014 Soccer World Cup a little better, you should spend a semester at the private university FGV-EESP in the metropolis of São Paulo!
The Amazon rainforest, the Atlantic coast, 62 national parks, the impressive Iguazú Falls, the Rio Carnival and the savannah make Brazil a very special place on this planet. It is the fifth-largest country in the world, with the most biological diversity, and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country on the American continent. Brazilians have a passion for life that becomes especially evident when they dance or play football. Let’s drink a Caipirinha to that!
São Paulo is a symbolic and surprising city that is also the country’s economic, financial and cultural centre. Almost 12 million people live there, and the city is multicultural on account of its many immigrants. The city is not a typical tourist destination, and you have to actively search for the sights between the many skyscrapers and urban chaos. Nevertheless there are more than 15,000 bars, 12,500 restaurants, 280 theatres, 110 museums, 55 cinemas and seven football stadia. São Paulo offers not only lots of culinary and cultural highlights but also numerous shopping options. It can get up to 30°C in summer, but temperatures drop to below 10°C in winter, so it is advisable to also take warm clothes. The city’s location in a basin means that it has traffic-induced air-quality problems in winter in particular. On the bright side, São Paulo has by far the lowest murder rate and fourth-lowest crime rate in the country.
Escola de Economia de São Paulo (EESP or FGV-EESP) is a private business school founded in 2003 with the aim of helping to create an intellectual and leading elite for the country. Tuition takes the form of lectures, tutorials and case studies in groups of 30 – 50 students, where active participation counts for as much as 30% of the final grade. This is encouraged by means of problem-based learning, an interactive teaching method where students must find solutions to real-life problems and thus develop projects that contribute effectively to the understanding of economic models and theories. The International Affairs department provides support to exchange students, who can register for the courses focusing on Economics, Business and (after prior agreement) Law. A knowledge of Portuguese is not necessary, as many courses are held in English. However, Portuguese courses are on offer for around EUR 130 which would be helpful for day-to-day life, as not many Brazilians outside of the university can speak English. The exchange students quickly form travel groups in which you can see the country and go to parties or nightclubs. One point of interest is that all students have access to two doctors as well as a psychological support programme.
Because there are no student halls on campus, EESP recommends various points of contact for finding accommodation. These include a Facebook group for exchange students (enter “fgv exchange students” and then the respective exchange year in the search in Facebook), the website www.housinganywhere.com, where students offer apartments and www.sampaflatshare.com, www.easyquarto.com.br or www.soflatsnet.com.br. According to EESP, you should budget a total of around R$ 3,000 per month for living and studying in São Paulo. As of March 2016, this figure corresponds to roughly EUR 740, but the exchange rate fluctuates a lot because of the high inflation rate.