Top 5 Universities in Brazil for International Students

Brazil is the largest and most populous country in South America. It is also the fifth largest and sixth-most populous in the world. In recent years, Brazil has also grown a lot economically and is now in the top 10 biggest economies in the world. Unlike most other countries on the continent, the official language is Portuguese.

Brazil is a very multicultural and ethnically diverse society thanks to the more than century-long immigration to the country from all over the Earth. This makes it an ideal place for international students who can have an easier time integrating among the different cultures and groups. Brazil is also full of natural wonders, such as the Amazon forest, among many others, which makes it great for a weekend trip. In this article, we will be going over the best universities in Brazil for international students.

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How satisfied are international students studying in Brazil?

International students in Brazil are generally fairly satisfied with their experience studying in the country. The main reasons for satisfaction are the great social life interpersonal relationships among students and teachers. Medical students in particular seem to be the most satisfied with the quality of the courses and overall experience. One other big positive is the free tuition at, public universities in Brazil, for both domestic and international students.

There are also some complaints from students regarding their physical safety, comfort, and quality of equipment and infrastructure within Brazilian universities.

What are the most popular programs in Brazil for International Students?

Since 99% of classes are carried out in Portuguese, language is not a huge factor when international students choose their majors, because they will have to learn Portuguese anyway. This means that all fields and programs are equally popular for the most part.

That being said, there are a few business-related programs that are entirely carried out in English which are pretty popular with international students.

How many international students study in Brazil?

While more recent statistics are not readily available, according to a statistic from 2016, there were around 15.000 international students in Brazil. Surprisingly, the largest number of them come from Angola in Africa, with nearly 2.000, while the rest are predominantly from other South American countries. There are also a few thousand from Europe and Asia as well.

What is the most prestigious university in Brazil?

Founded in 1934, the University of Sao Paulo is by far the most prestigious university in Brazil and is also considered the best in Ibero-America by many. The university was the alma mater of 12 Brazilian presidents so far, as well as many other important figures in Brazilian society, including CEOs in top 500 companies.

When it comes to research, USP is responsible for 25% of the entire scientific output of Brazilian institutions.

Best Universities in Brazil for International Students

1. University of Sao Paulo

The University of Sao Paulo is the best university in Brazil and also the country’s largest public university. It has more than 80.000 enrolled students. The university is ranked in the top 100th in the world in 29 subjects, including 8 of which are in the top 50. There are 11 campuses within the university, 4 of which are in Sao Paulo while the rest are in towns not too far away.

The university offers an impressive number of 70 libraries across its campuses for the students, as well as 24 museums, 2 theatres, a cinema, and even a TV channel that is run by students of the university. One downside, though, is the fact that there are no accommodation options on campus, and students will have to find their own solution based on their needs and budget.

2. University of Campinas

The University of Campinas, commonly referred to as Unicamp, is a public university located in Campinas, Sao Paulo State. Established in 1966, Unicamp is now a leading Brazilian university when it comes to research in medicine and science. International students will have to go through an entrance exam that tests their proficiency in Portuguese, after which they are placed in programs to learn the language. One big plus is that both domestic and international students pay no tuition fees, which is the case with all public universities in Brazil.

The city of Campinas is a beautiful and culturally rich city with a famous bar scene and is in great proximity to other major cities like Sao Paulo.

3. Federal University of Minas Gerais

The Federal University of Minas Gerais is the largest federal university in Brazil and among the fifth largest overall. It is located in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state. The university offers programs in all fields of knowledge, and currently has over 40.000 enrolled students. It has plenty of notable alumni from many fields.

Belo Horizonte is the sixth-largest city in the country with a population of nearly 3 million. It is surrounded by mountains which offer amazing views of the city. International students can enjoy studying in this economically powerful and internationally important area while receiving world-class education at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, one of the top universities in Brazil for international students.

4. Federal University of Santa Catarina

The Federal University of Santa Catarina’s main campus is located in Florianopolis, the capital of Santa Catarina state. Florianopolis is an island city and a world-renowned surfing location, boasting over 40 beaches, enticing plenty of international students to come and study there. With great academics and international support, the Federal University of Santa Catarina is considered one of the best universities in Brazil for international students.

The university was founded in 1962 after a merger of a few smaller schools in the state. It now consists of 11 campuses and teaches on any subject imaginable. It also offers special programs to help international students with the Portuguese language.

5. Federal University of Sao Paulo

We end our list of best universities in Brazil for international students with Federal University of Sao Paulo. Originally starting as a health sciences university, the Federal University of Sao Paulo has opened 5 additional campuses since 2005, and now offers a wide range of subjects for its students. This has made the university all the more popular, and is now one of the most prestigious ones in the country, also attracting plenty of students from neighboring countries.


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