GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS
ABOUT VOLUNTEERING IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio is famous for many things, like the pulsating Carnaval, Copacabana beach (plus 45 miles of other soft white beaches), Samba ... and much, much more! We have a variety of Projects available in Rio de Janeiro. Please select from the buttons on the left the type of projects you think would interest you. This page provides information about the city of Rio de Janeiro and the type of accommodation that you'll stay in if you choose to do a project here."I have never met such happy people in all my life, Carioca's love to sing and dance and this for me was a great thing to experience. I would definitely recommend a trip out to Rio, it really was the best time of my life!" Stephanie White
WHY CHOOSE rio de janeiro?
ABOUT RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio is often considered as the cultural heart of Brazil and hosts the most impressive Carnaval celebrations, which seem to get grander each year. The infectious samba beat has Carioca’s of all ages out on the streets to join in the party. In Rio, you talk to people, even if you don’t speak the same language, and you'll dance until late. A wander through the streets will always lead you somewhere exciting, and that somewhere is often the beach! Rio hosts 45 miles of soft white beach including the infamous Copacabana…
Rio has many other famous landmarks which have added to its worldwide popularity – Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Statue of Christ are undoubtedly the most iconic. The outstretched arms of Christ seem to embrace the entire city and due to the monuments location at the top of Corcovado Mountain, can be seen from almost any part of Rio. On a clear day you’ll have 360º views, allowing you to appreciate the varied landscape that characterises Rio; from the sprawling inner city areas to the forested mountains of the Tijuca forest which divides the city in two. In front of it is a tropical blue sea littered with a hundred shades of tanned flesh.
Rio’s diverse population are estimated at around 7 million (with a further 4 million in the surrounding areas), but with the expanse of inner city slum dwellings - known locally as favelas - this figure is rising and very difficult to gauge accurately. Many migrants from poor rural areas arrive in Rio in search of work, but due to restrictions on securing rental property and the demand for space, they are often forced to live in the favelas. These are the poorest and usually the most dangerous areas of the city, often located on the steep hillsides or on the outskirts of Rio.
“It was the great people with whom I spent my time in Rio that made it so memorable – to all of you, thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you soon I hope.” Rupert Webb – coaching in Rio
Favelas are easily distinguishable – they consist of unfinished concrete structures, built on top of each other and at all angles in huge sprawling settlements. Many favelas are in very poor condition, with limited access to utilities such as running water, electricity, and sewage facilities. The government are almost powerless to control the rapid expansion of these areas, particularly as gang related crime and drugs are a real problem. Despite this, a lot of the residents are people who work hard for their money and have honest jobs, and most favelas have an established community complete with grocery markets, clothing stores and other types of small businesses.
The enchantment of Rio is found in it's people. Carioca’s are very proud that people from all areas of Rio, including the favelas, are able to share the same facilities and beaches, and this is something which makes the atmosphere in Rio so diverse. During the day, it is the cafés and beach that rule the scene. This stretch of the city thrives as the sun shines. At night, the clubs, restaurants and dance halls dominate. This is a world designed for spontaneity and mingling.
"Those leaving after a stay in the city, apart from
memories of the music, the flavours and the colours, take also something
that has no translation - Saudade - (pronounced sau-dá-dji). It is the
feeling of nostalgia, of missing something that you had while in Rio, and
the certainty that the feeling will only go away when you come back. It is
not for nothing that the greatest symbol of the city is waiting for you with
open arms. Always."
You don't need any qualifications to participate in a placement in Brazil. To read about the extensive Support & Backup we provide in our countries, please click here.
THINGS TO DO IN RIO:
From the scalloped beach you can see the granite slabs that surround the entrance to the bay of Ipanema, Rio's most chic beach for the rich and the beautiful. Brazilians prefer busy beaches, with crowds of people, beach volleyball players, food sellers and sun tanners.
Rio’s beaches are the ideal location for the pursuit of sporting activities.. on any one day you are likely to find Carioca’s enjoying volleyball, futevolley (volleyball but where you can’t use your hands!) and beach soccer – you’ll be amazed at the locals skill at such games!
Futebol (soccer) is the national obsession, and if you can play the game or talk about it meaningfully you'll become an instant hit with the locals. Never is the city more alive than during a football game so its fitting that Rio is the location of Maracana Football stadium, the largest stadium in the world. Many football legends have played on the soil in this ground.
During the summer (October to March), temperatures soar and frequently reach 40º C in the height of summer. Even in winter, (June to September), you can usually enjoy a day at the beach as the temperature is on average a more agreeable 20 degrees!
Surfing is also popular along the coast, and many of Rio’s beaches have perfect rolling waves, ideal for beginners or more advanced surfers. There are excellent opportunities for rock climbing in and near Rio and in the national and state parks, and hiking is great along the coast and in some of the national and state parks. For some adrenaline packed fun, try hang-gliding, especially around Pedra Bonita, near Pepino beach.
Despite having developed into one of the largest urban areas in the world, the city has grown around the very green Tijuca Forest, creating the largest urban forest in the world. Human interference brought even more nature into the city with the construction of parks, squares and gardens. Gradually the ecosystems came under the protection of environmental legislation and a great number of parks, reserves and areas of environmental protection were created to ensure conservation. There are various trails into the forest and exploring it could easily take an entire day.
During your stay make sure that you visit the São Cristóvão cultural market, a fair dedicated to the cultural traditions and cuisine of people from the north east of Brazil. This huge market is open throughout the weekdays, but at weekends opens at lunchtime on Friday and doesn't close until Monday morning! This is entertainment Brazilian style and the people don't stop coming! Live music and traditional dancing fill the main arena, whilst side bars and restaurants pump out their own variations of samba, hip hop or traditional music.
The smell of char-grilled food drifts through stalls selling fresh produce, souvenirs and traditional arts & crafts. Arrive early, have dinner, and then sit back with a freshly made cocktail whilst you absorb the atmosphere of this lively market. You'll soon find yourself picking up the infectious Samba beat!
ACCOMMODATION FOR ALL PROJECTS IN RIO
"It’s nice to see on your website that current volunteers are staying at the Art Hostel in Catete, I was the first volunteer to stay there and can recommend it highly!" - Lizzie Faithfull, Teaching English
"Art hostel can be recommended! There are often concerts in the evening and generally a very cozy atmosphere!" - Sara Gents, Photograph Course
Rooms are available as dorms, singles and doubles. If you have a preference, please be sure to let us know at the time of booking and we can make the necessary arrangements for you. All rooms have their own bathroom and individual cupboard with a key for security.
Past volunteers have regarded eating out as one of the highlights of living in South America, and an essential part of Brazilian culture! Because of this, the price of your placement includes your breakfast but for dinner, you’ll get the chance to venture out and sample some of the fabulous food which Rio is famous for.
For breakfast in the hotel you can expect a feast of natural fruits and juices (try the acai – a delicious berry to sprinkle on your granola cereal), coffee, milk, bread, cheese, ham, butter, jams and sweet cakes (popular in Brazil for breakfast) amongst other things – so you certainly won’t be leaving on an empty stomach! You will be allowed to use the kitchen facilities whenever it is not being used by the hotel staff.
The Brazilian passion for food is reflected in the numbers of people you will see spending long, balmy evenings dining in restaurants and al fresco in the city’s buzzing streets, feasting on fare from the traditional Feijoada (black beans and pork stew) or Mariscada (seafood stew) to modern global cuisine rivalling that of any other international city! If you’re partial to tipple, you might like to indulge in a caipiranha, Brazil’s traditional carnival drink made with lime and cachaça, best enjoyed in the sunshine with a churrasco, which is a Brazilian barbeque of rice, meats and – of course – salsa!
The cost of eating out in Rio can vary from a just a couple of pounds up to a couple of hundred pounds! This is one city where you certainly won’t have any trouble eating well on a tight budget - there are some very inexpensive options available and you'll dine out handsomely on about £4 ($6); although you could be lucky and get away with spending even less and still be eating well. The trick is to keep your eyes peeled for the bargain eateries offering specials such as buffet lunches. Also don’t forget the supermarkets are a good option and are comparable in standard to those found back home.
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