International Schools for Expats in Brazil

Submitted: April 2014

The main problems for expats with the publically funded state schools in Brazil are that all of the teaching is done in Portuguese, and the standard of education and resources offered is not high enough. As a result most expats will attend private schools. There are generally two kinds of private schools in Brazil: Brazilian private schools and International schools. Brazilian private schools teach the Brazilian curriculum with an aim to educate the children to a level consistent with passing the vestibular exam for entry into university. International schools tend to educate to standards such as GCSE (UK), PSAT/SAT (USA) and International Baccalaureate. This article is only concerned with International schools.

International schools are available at primary, lower secondary and upper secondary level. Some also provide pre-school facilities. The curriculum at each school will vary depending on which international standard the school has adopted. Generally at secondary your children will study maths, science, history, geography, Portuguese, art and PE, and they may also study one or sometimes two other languages. As an expat it is important to consider whether the standard of education received is going to be sufficient to enable your child to progress normally if you were to return home. This is especially important at upper secondary level; there is anecdotal evidence that even top grade children educated at American international schools in Brazil cannot gain entry into Ivy League universities back in the USA. Some International schools will offer multiple diplomas. The International School of Curitaba offers American and Brazilian diplomas as well the International Baccalaureate diploma. There is a list of International Baccalaureate schools in Brazil here. There is a list of some of the main International schools in Brazil here, and more information here.

In order to register, you will have to contact the school. The following minimum information is generally required for registration:

In addition there may be more detailed information required. You may also have to pay a hefty registration fee. Fees for international schools in Brazil are extremely high and are generally payable on a monthly basis. Monthly fees at the Escola Americano do Rio de Janeiro range from R$3,747 for pre-school to R$5,716 for upper school; this is after a one-off enrolment capital fee of U$6,500.

Unlike state schools, International schools are free to set their own term dates, so you will have to check with the schools themselves. Some schools conform to the Brazilian standard, where the first term of the school year generally begins in mid-February to early March, and runs through until the end of June. July is taken as a holiday, and the second term starts in August and runs through until early December. There are usually two half term holidays, each lasting one week; the dates of these vary from school to school. In addition, all national holidays may also be observed. Other schools have adopted a three term school year.