This week, we interview Rodrigo Dourado at Brazilian agency Education Abroad, which is a member of agency association Belta’s recently established inbound department, about Brazil as a study travel destination, inbound trends and recruitment. 

Firstly, can you tell us about the attractions of Brazil as a study travel destination?

This is a hard question to ask. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. We have many options for all kinds of taste. Students can learn Portuguese and also enjoy magnificent tourist attractions in every part of Brazil.

We may start with São Paulo, the main state of the country. São Paulo is the richest and most populous state in Brazil and its capital city, bearing the same name, is the largest city in all of South America. As such, São Paulo is one of the country’s and, indeed, the continent’s most significant areas. Tourism is a very important part of the economy of São Paulo as well as of the preservation of its heritage resources. It is acclaimed for its beaches, which stretch for miles, inviting sun-worshippers from all over the world to indulge themselves in the glorious sunshine. 

There is also Ouro Preto or ‘Black Gold’, one of Brazil’s best-preserved colonial towns. 18th- and 19th-century churches decorated with gold and the sculptured works of Aleijadinho make Ouro Preto/MG one of the most popular tourist attractions in Brazil.

We have Fernando de Noronha, which is a beautiful archipelago with pristine beaches, landscapes and wildlife; the islands are a Mecca for divers and snorkelers.

We have the spectacular Salvador beaches, Pantanal with an extremely beautiful wild life; There are carnival celebrations in virtually every corner of Brazil, the best-known ones taking place in Recife together with the neighboring Olinda and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. We have the impressive Christ the Redeemer, the famous statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro. Located at the peak of the Corcovado Mountain, it provides a sweeping panorama from the interior of Guanabara Bay to the north, to Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas to the south.  

We are extremely friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Brazilians are by far some of the most hospitable people in the world. They will often go out of their way to help you. And anytime someone has food or a drink, they’ll ask you if you want some. In Brazil, a friend of a friend is your friend. People here are remarkably kind right from the moment you meet them. This is one of the reasons I assume Brazil is one of the best places in the world to learn Portuguese and have a great and remarkable time.

Is interest in study in Brazil growing? What sectors are growing? And are there any particular markets/countries that are showing strong growth? Why do you think this is?

Yes, constantly. In these days we are having much more foreign interest in volunteering and many other areas in Brazil. For instance, we have a German ‘educationer’ volunteering in São José dos Campos right now.  We are known for Rio de Janeiro and our Carnaval, but Brazil is much more than, there´s a lot to be explored.

Education Abroad is into all that. We are very strong in our inbound programmes.

We have many foreigners coming from all parts of the world. Japanese, Mexicans, Americans and Germans are the ones more engaged. 

We have a lot to improve and step by step we are getting there. Brazil has got many natural resources, inputs and a lot to offer to everyone who arrives.  

We have heard a lot from Brazilian agencies about the exchange rate affecting outbound study. On the other hand, is this helping the inbound business?

Yes. It is helping, but I wouldn´t say this is the main cause. The interest in Brazil is growing step by step in many areas. The growth is happening because Brazil itself is moving to it through the sectors responsible for tourism. We are practicing actions such as the World Cup and the Olympics. These events will make the interest even bigger. Although people talk about violence in Brazil, there was not even one incident with any foreigner who came to watch the World Cup in Brazil ...Our organisation was great; the reception to foreigners was excellent. Successful events bring more foreigners. Everybody who comes loves it. But yes, we could say the exchange rate is helping.

What is Education Abroad as an agency, and Belta’s inbound department more generally, doing to promote study in Brazil?

We attend international exchange programme fairs and introduced all the best the students can get coming to Brazil. The Brazilian inbound programme is only a seed starting to germinate.

Are the Brazilian agencies working to promote Brazil as an inbound agency working with agencies in other countries to get students?

Yes. That’s what exactly what we do. We have two fronts in our business. The first one is as an outbound agency. We send students of all ages to study/work/volunteer abroad. The other front is our inbound programmes, where we work as an organisation placing students in schools and/or projects. We provide all support an organisation overseas offers. So yes, we are accepting inquiries from organisations worldwide.

Education Abroad is the pioneer to promote this kind of programme in Brazil. We attend exchange programme fairs, write to international magazine, papers, etc.

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