Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: Minimum 3 weeks, maximum 6 months commitment
Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Arrival dates on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.
Cost: from $645 USD, price staggered for longer stays. See Costs tab for further details
Includes: all accommodation, breakfast, donation to project, orientation, airport pickup, intensive Portuguese lessons course (for stays of 4 weeks+) and integration into the project
Does not Include: lunch & dinner, criminal background check, flights, insurance, visas and vaccinations
- Hands-on experience working with at-risk youth in vibrant Rio de Janeiro.
- Ideal for those studying urban planning, environmental sciences, community development or anyone with an interest in environmental issues.
This project places you in one of the most iconic cities in the world – Rio de Janeiro. Perhaps best known for the annual Carnaval, the city is also famed for its laid-back attitude, gorgeous beaches including Copacabana and Ipanema and for the simply stunning landscape as pictured on millions of postcard featuring the world-famous ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue.
And yet, there is also a dark side to Rio, with the infamous favelas and their drug lords taking centre stage of the widespread social issues connected with the city.
You will be working together with an NGO that was set up as a way to provide help for those at the margins of Brazilian society. The core belief of this organisation centres on the idea of cultural exchange between you as a volunteer and the local community and the long-term benefits this can bring for both sides. These projects are community-run by local people who know the city intimately and understand its needs. This program provides an excellent opportunity for you to gain valuable knowledge and experience while at the same time helping to generate income and employment opportunities in the community. And of course, the benefits of living in one of the most exciting cities in the world!
Your daily schedule will be worked out together with the in-country co-ordinator upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro and you may work part- or full time, at least 10 hours a week.
Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by an absolutely spectacular landscape, making this city one of the most intriguing and greatly contrasted urban environments in the world. The forests cascading down the mountainsides encasing the city make for a truly unique vista, however this exchange is not always without issues, as the city gradually takes over some of these treasured nature spots. The Community Garden/Environmental Program allows you to work to help and support these places and also provide local low-income communities with ideas and alternatives for waste disposal and recycling schemes. This is a great project for anyone interested in urban environmental issues and sustainable development.
Travel & Accommodation
Upon arrival you will be met at the airport by a project representative and taken to the project HQ.
As a volunteer in Brazil you will be staying in a happy and charming Hostel located on the lower part of Santa Teresa neighbourhood.
The hostel has many leisure areas, free Wi-Fi everywhere, and laundry service. Breakfast is provided and there is a fully equipped kitchen that volunteers can use to prepare other meals. All rooms have lockers (just bring your own lock).
The house has 3 floors. On the first floor there is the reception where you can always find a friendly face, a large living/TV room, a veranda with a bar and tables to chill out, a big kitchen with a dinning area next to it, a big dinning table, and even a music room.
On the second floor there are the shared dorms where our volunteers and other guests stay, and bathrooms. And on the third floor there are private rooms available at an extra fee. The hostel tries to book one room exclusively for the volunteers. However, when this room is full, we accommodate volunteers in other rooms.
All services, such as supermarkets, drugstores, banks (ATMs), bars & restaurants, delis, fruit store, bus stops, and others are literally 5 minutes walking distance. The metro station to get to Ipanema, Copacabana and other areas is only 15 minutes walking distance. Volunteers stay in a peaceful oasis right “next door“ to the most vibrant and picturesque area of Rio de Janeiro.
Lapa is Rio’s buzzing nightlife spot with lively bars, pumping nightclubs and street parties that last all night. Lapa attracts foreigners and locals every weekend to drink caipirinhas and dance out some moves with many varieties of music playing. Whilst at night it comes alive, during the day it is a quiet neighbourhood where you can wander the winding streets and visit the tourist sites and small bars.
- Minimum age 18.
- No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
- Minimum high school education.
- Necessary vaccinations.
- Necessary flights & visas.
- Full travel & medical insurance.
This is your key to the top 5 most amazing things you need to see in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is a cultural hub, and has so much to offer for those who wish to experience the flavor of Latin America. From dancing the Samba to tanning on the beach, this short guide has you covered.
Go to Carnival in Rio
Carnival in Rio is a spectacle that every person should attend. You will have to plan your trip to fall on February 24th-28th, but it is well worth the effort. This four day celebration is a gloriously colorful affair, with Samba music, dancing, parades and food in the streets of Brazil. It falls right before lent, so the point is to get all worldly pleasures out before the abstinence. The festival takes over the entire city, and is a great way to see the true spirit of Brazil. No one knows how to throw a festival like the Brazilians do.
Do an Eco-Tour
A great way to hit all the landmarks in Rio is to take an Eco-Jeep tour of the city. You will have a wonderful guide that will give you a brief introduction to all things Brazilian. The best part: You’ll get to see the most iconic landmark in Brazil- the Christ the Redeemer on Carioca Hill.
Visit Ipanema Beach
Take some time to relax at Ipanema Beach during your Brazilian vacation. It is not quite as touristy as Copa and still has all the amenities. Ipanema is close to beautiful neighborhoods and shopping, and has a view of Sugar Loaf mountain in some areas. You can relax on the beach with drinks, swim in the cool and clean water, and sunbathe to your heart’s delight.
Rio Antigo: the real Brazil. This is a local market that happens in the center of downtown on the first Saturday of every month. You’ll find food, vintage booths, music and dancing. Here is Brazilian culture at a local level. The Rio Antigo market is the birthplace of the Samba, and the heart of Brazilian culture. This market is often the highlight of a trip to Rio.
Take a Samba Dancing Lesson
The famous Carnival celebration in Rio de Janeiro centers around this energetic and sexy dance. A vibrant combination of African and Latin America flair, this dance is a giant part of Brazilian culture and heritage. You can either go solo, or with a partner.There are lots of dance schools in Rio de Janeiro that you can choose from. We recommend a combo: dance lessons, and then a dancing tour in the Samba clubs around town!
* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** stays of 4 weeks+ include a 20 hour intensive Portuguese lesson course
*** Payment of the balance to Brazil incurs a $40 bank transfer fee
**** Places are confirmed with a $150 deposit.
Includes all accommodation, breakfast, donation to project, orientation, airport pickup, in-country support, intensive 20 hour Portuguese lessons course (for stays of 4 weeks+) and integration into the project.
Our coordinators will make sure you have everything you need.
What’s not included:
Lunch and dinner, flights, insurance, criminal background check, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
You should budget around $100 per week for basic expenses.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.
- What impact(s) or benefits (upon the local community or environment) does this project have (tailor this to all the different projects you have)?
A: The most important thing we learnt from the volunteer motivations is that we have to manage expectations, especially in the first weeks of their arrival. We have to realize that most of the time we are dealing with young, eager people, who want to be productive and give a purpose to their project. In simple words, they want to work and see results.But when you start working, you will realize that it is often very difficult to work in the way you are used to work. You may find yourself in a different culture where things work differently. Of course you all know this before they arrive, but knowing it and experiencing it is a big difference.We tell our volunteers that you should wait, take a deep breath, and watch things develop in a different way, without trying to control things all the time. We also tell our volunteers that being productive is not the most important thing, and that this insight will be one of the big learning experiences of a volunteer.We have learned that volunteering is not only about being productive, especially when you work in needy communities, but also that it is you presence that counts.
- Is the area I am staying and working in safe?
A: The hostel is totally safe and Rio is like any other big city in the world: it is dangerous for those that don’t pay attention and think that nothing may happen to them. We tell our volunteers to keep a low profile, don’t stand out and they will not have any problem.
- Will I have access to internet?
A: There is free Internet access (wireless) at the accommodation 24×7. There is only one computer available for the guests, so it is advisable that you bring your laptop or Pad.
- Should I bring my phone/laptop?
A: It is safe to bring your laptop as long as you look after your belongs. Volunteer will be sharing the hostel with other guests. There are cameras in the common areas, but they should keep their valuable things inside their locker or room when they are not around.
- What will my accommodation be like?
A: We have established a partnership with a very nice hostel. Volunteers share rooms reserved mainly for our volunteers. This hostel is located in Santa Teresa neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro and has TV, computer (free Internet 24×7), fully equipped kitchen, swimming pool, dinning room, veranda, cleaning of the house, and many other facilities. Linen is provided, just bring a bath towel.
- How do I get from my accommodation to the project each day?
A: Public transportation (metro or bus). Local staff take them to the project on the first day of the placement showing how to get public transportation means to go and to come back.
- Will I have access to clean drinking water?
A: Yes, filtered and purified water is available.
- Are the vegetarian meal options available?
A: because most volunteers have different eating habits (vegans, kosher, white meat only, etc.) and we cannot cook a whole buffet every day, our programs are self-catered. The house has a fully equipped kitchen that volunteers can use to prepare their meals. Upon arrival volunteers receive guides and maps that include supermarkets and tips of good restaurants.
Brazil is a relatively inexpensive country for foreigners, but it all depends on your lifestyle. A meal at a restaurant may be as cheap as R$ 15.00 in healthy popular restaurants or up to R$ 100.00 in nicer places.
Breakfast is included and consists of: bread/ cake/ cheese/ ham/ jelly/ fruit/ coffee/ milk/ tea.
- Can I bring my pet?
A:Unfortunately it will not be possible to bring your pet.
- What essential items would you recommend I bring?
A: The most important thing that you can bring with you is positive energy, an open heart, a do not expect a strict structure, but be open minded to the unexpected things that may happen. About materials: Our teaching projects in Brazil require energetic, positive and dedicated individuals. To get the most out of your placement it is important that you prepare well for your teaching adventure. Devise lesson plans, bring Portuguese/English ESL teaching aids, take advice from people with teaching experience, anything to give you a head start once you get in the classroom.It is generally recommend waiting until you are in country before buying general resources for your project, such as stationary, since almost everything can be bought cheaper locally. And spending your money in Brazil will benefit the local economy. Young Children: You will be basically developing recreational and educational activities. So, it will be very good if you can plan some games and bring a few resources with you. However, please only bring what you can fit into your standard bag and do not exceed the baggage allowance (as you may be asked to pay large amounts of money to bring them in).Health awareness materials should be visual rather than text-heavy.It is recommended for the sports/surf programs to bring running shoes, rash vests and a half wetsuit for the winter – a rash vest is sufficient in the summer months.
- Will I likely be participating with other interns/volunteers?
A: Most of the times we place more than one volunteer at each project, depending upon the time of year and how many people we have booked.
- When is the best time of year to come (in terms of weather, available activities etc.)?
A: All year round, busiest periods are Jan-March (our summer) and June-Sept (summer on Norther hemisphere)
- Are there any health concerns I should be aware of (dengue, malaria etc.)?
A: There is no malaria in Rio de Janeiro, only on the northwest part of the Amazon. Dengue occurs more often in the summer, but it is not a major disease. Volunteers should use insect repellent and take tylenol in case of Dengue. Zika is only dangerous for pregnant women, 80% of people that have it do not even develop any symptoms.
- How far is the nearest hospital/clinic?
A: 5 minutes walking distance from the hostel.
- What extra costs should I factor in (nearby sightseeing trips, going out on weekends etc.)?
A: Our volunteers find US$ 100/ week enough for their basic expenses, budget another US$ 100 for each weekend and US$ 200 for sightseeing and you will have a very comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Note: Map coordinates are approximate