Volunteers in Brazil help with youth center activities, ranging from cooking to English conversation classes. Those suited to this programme are motivated and willing to get involved on this challenging but fulfilling project.
Duration: 3 weeks +
Dates: All year round, except December
Arrival day: Thursday
Return day: Thursday
Eligibility: Good English or Portuguese speakers
- Sharing your passions with disadvantaged young people enabling them to pursue new interests
- Making great new friends and becoming part of a fantastic community
- Learning new skills, such as Capoeria dancing
- Immersing yourself in exciting Brazilian life, as you experience the country as a local
- Enjoying the incredible white sandy beaches, just an hour away
This inspiring project involves volunteering in Brazil, São Paulo, at a youth center with children and young adults. São Paulo is a densely populated urban area. The center encourages young people to come off the streets and get involved in fun and educational activities. School hours in Brazil are short and there is no time for art and extra-curricular activities, so the center offers dance, film, music and IT facilities. Over 9000 local children are involved with the center or one of its projects, and it has now become a major employer in the area with over 30 salaried local staff and many more who work as volunteers. Prince Harry visited the center as part of his visit to Brazil and was impressed by the dedication of the staff.
The role of the volunteer is to support children at the center and help them to develop new skills. Encouraging the young people to come to the center is very important because it teaches them life skills, encourages teamwork and is fun!
If you already work with children, this project can be a rewarding way to volunteer your expertise and to share your enthusiasm abroad. If you don’t work in the educational sector, don’t fear – volunteers can use their initiative and personal skills to benefit the project. We have had volunteers join us with a many different talents, including a cook who made sushi! Past volunteers have enjoyed encouraging English in the conversational English club and have equally loved learning skills from the children and workers at the center, such as Caporeira dancing.
Portuguese is spoken by 203 million people worldwide and is the 6th most spoken language and looks good on any CV/resume or job application.
All volunteers need to be committed to learning some Portuguese before arrival so that you can build up a rapport with the children in Brazil. To help you with this, we can provide optional Portuguese lessons for an additional £200. Lessons are taught at the centre by a trained teacher. These lessons are built into your timetable and should help you with conversational Portuguese.
You can also relax with the other volunteers and staff, spending time in São Paulo. There are plenty of things to do, including restaurants, sandy beaches, great nightlife and culture activities. If you want to visit Rio de Janiero, it’s only a 50 minute flight away.
- Volunteers stay at the shared volunteer accommodation on site
- There are 4 rooms and 1 dormitory and you should expect to share a room
- The accommodation has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and living area.
You will receive a freshly cooked lunch at the center when you are volunteering. For the other meals, you will be given an allowance to buy local food to cook in the volunteer kitchen.
Airport: São Paulo – Guarulhos International Airport (GRU)
Transfers: You will be met at the airport and transferred to your accommodation
Arrival day: Thursday
Departure day: Thursday
Jonathan, Oyster’s representative, will be able to give you advice on all aspects of living and traveling in Brazil. As the Founder of the center, he is actively involved in all that happens and contactable. When in Brazil, you will be supported by staff on the ground. Before you depart, Jonathan will provide a 1-1 briefing on Zoom.
- Access to your own personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the program and manage your booking
- Dedicated contact time with an experienced destination manager to discuss the project, answer any of your questions and for us to find out more about you
- Help and advice from our UK office before arrival and whilst you are away
- In-country support
- Pre-departure information covering medical, safety and project advice
- Financial protection: ATOL (if we book your flights); IPP (if we don’t book your flights)
- Thorough orientation on arrival
- Accommodation (see the ‘accommodation’ section above for details)
- Advice on visa requirements
- Oyster plants a tree in Africa with TreeAid to help offset your carbon emissions
- Airport pick-up
- Lunch and a food allowance for breakfast and dinner.
- A package of 30 optional Portuguese lessons (additional £200)
- Oyster volunteer T-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
- Flights – as an ATOL bonded company, Oyster can book flights for you
- You need a valid passport that meets the requirements of the country you will be travelling to
- Insurance (covering your time with Oyster and any planned independent travel)
- Any costs associated with changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Home country travel costs
- Spending money for additional trips, food and entertainment
- Police check or DBS
Living and volunteering in Brazil is extremely rewarding. Being able to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Sao Paulo is a very important and enjoyable experience. You will make friends for life and keep the memories of your trip for ever.
This project consistently receives 5* reviews because volunteers love how involved they get at the center. Volunteers need to be prepared to get stuck in– that being said the fun and rewards are fantastic and Brazil itself is unforgettably beautiful.
You can choose to add additional Portuguese lessons, normally one-to-one with an experienced tutor. Portuguese is the native language of a staggering 216 million people around the world and is an impressive addition to any CV or resume.
The centre is well run and volunteers have a set timetable of activities that they participate in or even lead. This is not fixed and will be adapted to ensure you do what you are best at and what you enjoy most. Volunteers work for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week on shifts that either run from 9am to 5pm or 1pm to 9pm.
Make the most of your surroundings and get involved in other community projects if you are interested. You can also play football with the kids, go out in the evenings for food or drinks, or enjoy the samba culture.
Sao Paulo enjoys mild weather with average temperatures of 19°C, although temperatures can reach 26°C in February and March. The lowest average temperature is about 11°C in July. The driest weather is in August, and the wettest in February.
The coastal cities and areas like Rio de Janeiro have warmer climates, although tempered by trade winds. Rio’s average temperature is around 26°C, but it can swelter at over 38°C in the height of summer. Summers, between November and March, are very hot and humid. Winters are cool and dry, never cold, with some precipitation, lasting only from June to September.
You will need enough money to cover spending on additional trips and activities. As your food and accommodation are provided, we recommend taking £20-30/ $30-45
There are lots of ATMs in the town where you’ll be living and working so you won’t need to take all your money in cash.
European and US passport holders do not need a visa and are granted a 90 day stay on arrival. This is extendable at the discretion of the Federal Police for a further 90 days for approximately £20, we will advise you on how to do this. You will require a passport valid for 6 months from your date of entry into Brazil.
Most of our volunteers are independent travelers and you will find yourself part of a group of people from around the world. However, it is also fine to travel with friends or as part of a small group too – the more the merrier!
You should visit your doctor or travel nurse to find out what vaccinations you will need. Your routine vaccinations will need to be up to date, it is likely you will need Hepatitis A and Typhoid, and possibly Hepatitis B, Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever. Please follow your doctor’s advice.
There is a hospital located within the district where you will be living.
You will be living in a safe neighborhood. You will receive a full safety briefing on arrival but generally it’s best to not draw attention to yourself by flashing your money around. We would also advise buying a cheap watch and phone instead of using your nice ones.
You will be within easy walking distance of all amenities. There are direct buses to the main Sao Paulo bus station that will connect you to all parts of South America. The center is also located within easy reach of the coast, with sandy palmed beaches about an hour away by bus.
The center offers purpose-built accommodation for volunteers on site. It allows volunteers to have their own room (normally). It is also ideally located for getting to work – 30 seconds away – and puts you in the middle of town. You receive an excellent cooked lunch at work, but will need to make your own breakfast and supper. You receive a living allowance that more than covers the cost of this.
Brazil is very similar to its Latin neighbors in that the staple diet revolves around arroz, which is white rice, feijao, which are black beans, and farinha, which is like flour. These form the basis of most meals, although usually in different forms with a wide variety of side dishes. They are usually eaten with red meat, chicken or fish, although vegetarians are accommodated easily in Brazil. Expect to eat a lot of (tasty) rice and beans.
There is a wireless connection at the center and in your accommodation.
Phone cards are available from most local shops, pharmacies and kiosks, and can be used in the public phone boxes, which are widely available. There is good mobile/ cell phone coverage. We advise taking a laptop or tablet. Mobile phones can be quite expensive in Brazil.
The standard time zones of both Sao Paulo and Rio are GMT -3 hours.
Electricity in Brazil is 110 volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Brazil with a device that does not accept 110 volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
You will need a two-pronged plug adapter.
In addition to the wealth of exploring opportunities available in Sao Paulo, there is plenty to see and do further afield during the course of your stay. The city of São Paulo is only one hour’s drive from the Paulista Coast, which is a typical Brazilian region full of splendid beaches and great seafood. The young and old of São Paulo alike head there on the weekends to enjoy the sand, sun and fun. Here is a small selection of what is available in the area:
– Ilhabela -A beautiful island with lavish vegetation.
– Santos – This is an estuary city near São Paulo, home to Pelé’s famous football team Santos F.C. and Brazil’s most important seaport.
– Ubatuba – Boasts beautiful beaches with great leisure activities, such as scuba diving, mountain biking and trekking. The city is known for providing a good surfing environment.
– Embu das Artes – A town just Southwest of Sao Paulo, known for its talented local artists. If you are looking for authentic Brazilian art, handicrafts, furniture, or just want to browse around some really cool shops, this is the place to go.
– Louveira This city is famous for its viniculture, and hosts the annual the Festa da Uva (The Grape Party).
– Brotas is a city famous for its adventure leisure activities, especially rafting.
– Barretos – Up at the northeast tip of the state is where Brazil’s largest rodeo party takes place, bringing together the best in Brazilian and world country music at a week-long festival.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio offers a plethera of things to do inside the city, from museums and parks, to fiestas and bars. You will spend a lot of time exploring this exciting city.
If you are looking further afield, there is much to see and do. You can take a cable car to the Sugarloaf Mountain to watch the sun set over Copacabana Beach or go to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, the second largest art deco structure in the world. Tackle the Corcovado Moutain and take in the breathtaking view of Rio’s sprawling beaches, board the cog train through lush Tijuca Rain Forest, take a boat tour around the islands looking out for turtles dolphins and sting rays, take in a samba show or head to a football match. Rio de Janeiro really is a buzzing place, and you should never be at a loss for things to do.
Supervision will be fairly intensive during the first few days, when you will receive a thorough induction and work-related training. Once you are comfortable with things, you might not always have a supervisor working alongside you, but there will always be staff and other volunteers around to help, and you will always be accompanied for any high risk activities.
Staff at Oyster’s head office and in-country will be responsible for your safety and welfare while you are at the project. This will start from the moment you are picked up from the airport until the time you leave the center. Before and after these times, you will be outside Oyster’s responsibility and should make sure that you act safely and avoid risk. This is also true if you choose to leave the project during your time off. We will give you plenty of guidance and advice about this.
You will get a schedule so you know exactly when you’re working. You may work early mornings and evenings too but you will have two days off per week. You can take some time off with advance notice (most volunteers like to take a week off for independent travel).