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Austausch - OUT


13/14 SS


São Paulo - Universidade de Sao Paulo


Betriebswirtschaftslehre (3010)


My exchange semester in Brasil was an incredible experience and i would recommend it to anyone even remotely thinking about it. I've profited both on an academic as well as on a personal level, and it's an experience that i'd not want to miss.


First of all, i did not have any portuguese knowledge when i applied for a semester in Brazil, and my portuguese was still very limited when i arrived there. Although it is highly recommendable to have some basic knowledge of the language since very few brazilians speak any other language, it is possible to succeed and have a great time without any language skills (the Finnish and South Koreans will be your best friends).

For the VISA, an online application (found on the homepage of the brazilian embassy) has to be filled out and you have to visit the consul twice, once to apply and a week later to receive your VISA.

There is lots of paperstuff to be done before you can actually board the plane, but luckily there is a lot of help offered by both the Mobility Team of the WWF in Zurich as well as the International Team of the USP. And in Brazil, your appointed Buddy will take care of all your problems and needs. Sometimes dealing with brasilians is a question of patience too, but in the end everything will work out.

Be sure to bring some passport pictures and all the requested documents with you.


I would recommend arriving at least one week before the lectures start, since all the administrative work (bus card, university card, registration in Brazil, Sport facilities access) as well as the search for accomodation can take some time.

Best bring some cash in reais already with you, since not all ATMs work with european cards. Usually the most reliable ATMs are from Banco do Brasil or the 24 horas-ones. They accept Maestro without problem, although the 24 horas charge a fee of around 4 CHF per withdrawal, so the ATMs from Banco do Brasil are the best choice.

If you fly to Sao Paulo, you can either fly to Ribeirao Preto, which takes approx. an hour, or you can transfer to the Rodaviaria Tiete and take a bus, which takes around 4.5 hours, but is cheaper. For flights the cheapest flights can be found on .The bus costs around 70 reais and is very comfortable.

When i arrived in Ribeirao Preto, my buddy picked me up at the airport and showed me around town. Then, we went to the appartement where i lived for the semester and he introduced me to my roommates too.

It is a good idea to get a brazilian cell phone number as quickly as possible too. Usually you'd need a CPF to get a contract, which takes a long time to get, but you can ask your buddy if he allows you to use his name, that way you can get the number immediately. Best choose the same provider as your roommates or your buddy, that way you call for free.

It is also important to get some numbers of cheap taxi drivers in case you want to go out, at the beginning the Cooper Taxi is the easiest choice.


In general, you have two options in terms of housing. Either you live close to the university (the neighbourhood is called Monte Alegre) or you live in the center. If you live in the center, going to university takes around 10 minutes by Mototaxi (<8 reais), 15 minutes by car or half an hour by bus (bus card: 1.40 reais, normal: 2.80 reais). Bus lines are available on Google Maps. From Monte Alegre you can either walk or take a bus for some minutes.

Additionally, you can choose whether you want to stay in a Republica (like a fraternity) or in an appartement. In the republicas you usually share a room and get a lot of partying. The appartement offer a little more privacy but are usually more expensive. And don't worry, also in the appartments you have plenty of opportunities to party. A pool and a cleaning lady are very recommendable by the way, especially in the republicas since nobody cleans there otherwise and the weather in summer is really hot.

You should calculate with between 300 and 600 reais for your monthly rent, depending on your choice

I lived downtown in an appartement with a brazilian and was really happy with that, since it offers a lot more possibilites in terms of going out, eating and stuff like that. But if you only want to go to university parties anyway, Monte Alegre is the preferred choice.


The campus is beautiful! Everything you need is there, cafeterias for coffee and snacks, swimming pool, gym and other sport facilities, libraries and learning spaces with AC (important!), the bandeijao (lunch and dinner for 1.90 reais) and a huge park.

Since i went during my Master, i can only give some advice about Master lectures. The courses are very different from the university of Zurich. First of all, they study in trimesters, not semesters, which means that the courses consist of only around 10-12 lectures. One lecture usually is around 5 hours long, with a coffee break in the middle, and takes place either in the morning or afternoon (best choose the ones in the afternoon!). Every course is worth 6 brazilian credit points. Overall, the brazilian credit point in my point of view equal about 0.75 ECTS, however, the UZH accounts only half the points. I recommend not taking more than 3 - 4 courses per trimester. Usually a lecture is attended by around 4 to 10 students, which means that the personal interaction with the professor is really high compared to the university of Zurich. Since you have to attend at least 70% of the lectures of each course, it is also recommended to chose courses that take place in the middle of the week, so you have the possibility for weekend trips. Usually in the master level, there are no exams but rather papers to be written and presentations to be held, comparable to seminars. Even though most courses are in Portuguese, most of the professors allow you to do your presentations and papers in English.


Things you shouldn't miss during your stay in Ribeirao Preto:

- Student Parties, Republica Parties, and so on, especially in the first and last few weeks of each semester there are at least two parties a day that you should attend. They are usually all-you-can-drink-parties, which means you pay around 15-35 reais entrance and eat, drink and enjoy yourself as much as you want / can.

- join a sports-team at the faculty! Not only is it a great way to get to know a lot of other students quickly, but the games against the other faculties were one of the most memorable experiences i made in my six months in Brazil.

- If you want a real beer from time to time, Vila Dionisio (downtown) is the place to go!! Also you should visit Pinguim at least once during your stay. 

- long weekend trips to Foz de Iguaçu, Brotas, Minas Gerrais, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador, the North East (Natal, Fortaleza) and Amazonia (Manaus) are a must! If you have the time and money, you can also travel through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina or Colombia. Travelling by bus is cheap and usually a good option and since you're already on the fascinating continent you should definitely try to explore it as much as you can. The best way is to find other exchange students that want to travel too, which is very easy through the intercambistas facebook page. You can also reserve some time for travelling after the semester.