I wanted to mention a few other things about getting to Brasília and living here. Even though some of my points could be summed up with I don’t know, I’m keeping them in, so I remember what I didn’t know, and so I can give better advice at the end of my internship.
Visa: I’m not an expert on the visa situation for interns traveling to Brazil, but I can describe my situation. I traveled on a German passport, and since my stay falls within the 90-day tourist visa period, I didn’t apply for any other sort of visa. While this was a little confusing for HR, it turned out not to be a problem. The visa requirements for US citizens will be changing while I’m here. US passport holders traveling to Brazil will no longer need visas for 90-day stays, so the above plan could apply if your internship is shorter than 90 days. Otherwise, I believe UNESCO interns are eligible for an Official Visa, which is free.
Phone: I have a Brazilian phone number, which is very convenient. I came with an old smart phone that my mom had lying around, which I was able to unlock for use abroad. On my first day in Brasília, the other guy staying at my AirBnB helped me get a SIM card. It seemed like it might be tricky for foreigners, but I can’t speak to that. We went about it the Brazilian way (jeitinho brasileiro). To avoid potential complications, I just signed up for a plan under his name. Because I have wifi at work and at home, I’ve barely used the data plan I signed up for. I’ll probably change it when it expires next week.
Money: Paying for things in Brasília is easy. Generally, the assumption is that you’ll use a card (crédito ou débito?). While I always have some cash on hand (1 USD ≈ 4 BRL), I have been relying on a US credit card (with no international transaction fee). That continues to be the most convenient.
Transport: Getting around in Brasília is relatively easy. There are lots of buses. I don’t quite understand the different lines, but I haven’t really needed to yet. So far, all the buses have been going my way. I usually pay the bus fare in cash. The regular sized buses have someone seated next to a turnstile. Once they have your money, they let you through to the back of the bus. Many people use a smart card with a refillable balance. I don’t have one yet, but I think I’d like to get one. For when buses aren’t the most convenient mode of transportation, there are taxis and Uber. Brasília also has a metro, but its area of accessibility is limited, so it hasn’t made sense for me to take it yet. I’ll probably try it out just for fun one day though.
Accommodation: As I’ve mentioned, I’m staying at an AirBnB. I booked it for the whole 12 weeks, and I’m happy with my decision. While that might sound expensive, booking for that amount of time comes with a substantial discount. Unfortunately, that means I don’t have any tips on how else to find a place to live. I would say stay as close to the office as possible.