Dublin city has been one of the favourite destinations for Brazilian exchange students in the last few years. 

Official data from 2018 has shown the largest increase of Brazilian nationals living in Ireland occurred last year, and Dublin city hosts 64% of this population. It would thus seem that the cultural difference and the weather conditions do not intimidate Brazilians enough not to move to Ireland. They come for many reasons such as learning a new language, looking for good job opportunities or just to have a better life. 

“Once you experience the sensation of walking alone late at night with no fear, being able to travel around the world only working part-time, good conditions for education, the quality of life in general, you don’t want to face your old reality again”, says Andrea Cordeiro, who came to Dublin to learn English in the end of 2011 planning to stay for only one year. Three years had gone by and she thought that she would never go back to Brazil again.

But her life completely changed when she discovered she was pregnant. “Me and my partner Rodrigo, decided to go back to Brazil so my daughter could grow up with the support of our family”.

Mariana was born in the Rotunda Hospital on April 10th, 2015. Three months later they flew back to Brazil with a broken heart: “It was one of the hardest decisions I have made in my entire life. But I knew I was going to come back one day” said Cordeiro.

After three and a half years living in Recife, in the North of Brazil, Cordeiro is now back in Dublin with her husband and daughter searching for a better life than what they had in Brazil. “I know that myself and my partner will have more opportunities here and we can raise our child in a safe place.”

Recently, data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Satistics (IBGE) shows that the unemployment rate rose to 13.1% this year in Brazil. That translates to 13.2 million people who are unemployed in the country. Also, the vast majority of the population in the cities are incredibly frightened by the high rate of violence that exists.

It is believed that all the social and economic issues that Brazil currently faces, is reflected by the significant number of people, especially students, looking for exchange agencies and their best options for immigrating abroad.

The Brazilian Exchange Agencies Association (BELTA) have indicated that for the first time, Brazil has reached 302m students abroad, and Ireland is among the most desirable of countries along with the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Andrea Cordeiro, while in Brazil, worked for a Brazilian agency called Egali. She used to sell travel and exchange packages all over the world. She shared with her clients her own experience in Dublin and would not recommend a better place when asked. “Dublin is an amazing place to live. Trust me you will not regret it.” 


But why has this city become so attractive to Brazilians? 

Reserved: “Dublin is an amazing place to live”

Safety

In spite of Ireland’s small size, Dublin is the capital city, and with that comes certain issues as with any other major European city. However, Brazilians find Dublin very safe compared to any other city in Brazil. 

“There is no better feeling than being able to walk on the street late [in the] night with no fear. Or even going to the park, taking out your tablet and reading a book on a sunny day. It is impossible to do that where I came from. Of course, you have to be careful with pickpockets as anywhere in the world, but here you don’t feel scared all the time. This is what I call freedom!” says Cordeiro.

 Irish People

Despite the cultural differences, Irish people are very similar to Brazilians in some aspects. They are generally considered by Brazilians as a friendly and welcoming people. When Cordeiro arrived in Dublin in 2011 she spoke very little English, but she said she has never had any problem with communication. She describes Irish people as very “patient” with foreigners and she always felt comfortable enough to speak with them even while making language mistakes.

“On my very first trip out of Dublin, I was on the Dart (Dublin’s rail system) when an old woman sat beside me. She noticed that I was a foreigner, so she started a conversation asking where I came from. She was so interested about my life and my story that the chat became enjoyable and lasted until I arrived at my destination. When I said goodbye to her she replied smiling: ‘Best of luck in your life girl, your English is very good’. Even knowing my English was not that good, those words made my day.”

Study and Work

For those who want to learn English and work at the same time, Ireland is considered the best option as it is one of the few countries that allows students to work for 20 hours while studying. 

The study visa, which must be applied for, is the Stamp 2 Visa. This is valid for 8 months (6 months of a course and 2 of holidays), and it can be only renewed twice. 

With thisisa, the student is allowed to work 40 hours a week between December 15th and January 15th, and in June, July, August and September. In the other periods of the year, the work permit is 20 hours per week. 

Travelling around Europe

Cordeiro says that most of her clients ask her if it is “easy” to visit other countries while they are doing their exchange. Proudly, she shares her own experience of visiting over 10 different countries during her three years in Dublin as a student: “I would never imagine one day I could go to London on a weekend. This was a dream come true!”

She affirms that this is a crucial point when Brazilian people are choosing their exchange destination. “People from everywhere in Brazil come to my office with loads of questions about where to go for their student exchange, they also want to travel and visit different countries during their experience abroad. And they love the idea of travelling around Europe not spending a fortune…” says Cordeiro.

In general, Brazilians love living in Dublin. For most of them, once they’ve started putting down roots here, they rarely want to go back home. Cordeiro is happy to express her love for her new city: “Dublin has become my second home. And now I am more than happy to be back with my family, hopefully forever.”

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