I assume most people would choose Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo but I would recommend somewhere different: Vitória, my home town.
Vitória is an island and the capital of Espírito Santo. It has only 330.526 habitants, but what we call the Grande Vitória (literally Big Vitoria) – an area that covers some regions nearby – has 1, 6 million people. The city is the second oldest one in Brazil, but most of the old architecture is limited to the center.
Well, we like to say that we don’t have any accent. Although people from other states may insist we do, if we ask what or how our accent is, they do not know what to answer. So, I guess it would be a great place to learn Portuguese!
The average annual temperature in Vitória is 23 °C. However, during the winter it can be like 5 °C in the surrounding mountains, which are located around 40 minutes or 2 hours far from the capital.
As almost all Brazilians, capixabas (people who were born in Vitória) are very interested in getting to know foreigners, so it probably wouldn’t be difficult to make friends there. I gotta say, though, that in general capixabas are not known for being very open – for Latin standards at least. But if we compare to Europe, for example, it all could be seen differently.
Advantages of doing an exchange program in Vitória
The city is small, so you won’t – or at least you shouldn’t – take too long to go from one place to another. Of course, it also depends on the traffic, and on rainy days things might get kind of messy. But let’s go back to the advantages…
It’s near touristic states like Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Bahia.
You can travel from beaches to mountains within one hour.
Despite the completely nonsense rumor that Vitória is more dangerous than São Paulo (!) and Rio (!!), it’s obviously not. And I’m sure all the foreigners who have done an internship in Vitória and traveled to other places in Brazil would agree.
It’s the second Brazilian capital with the best quality of life, according to the Getulio Vargas Foundation.
Are you interested in traveling to Brazil? Where would you go?