International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner


The Brazilian currency is Real (R$), plural Reais. In Brazilian currency there are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 bills. Most bills have pictures of animals on one side and then the feminine character that is a representation of Brazil on the other. Coins are available in values of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos. There are also 1 Real coins. They vary in size and color.

Conversion Rates

What is the Real worth compared to the dollar?
With currency in constant flux, please see for up-to-date exchange rates. While traveling, it may be helpful to carry a portable currency converter (found at travel stores). Sometimes in the form of a keychain, this is a handy gadget (like a calculator) into which you enter the exchange rate (depending on the current exchange rate and the country in which you are located), save, then simply enter prices, and the device converts the amounts into dollars.

Cost of Living

Although the cost of living in Brazil is slightly less than that of the US, it is still the highest in Latin America. Imported items are very expensive in Brazil, especially brand name apparel items and electronics. Entertainment costs such as eating at restaurants or going to bars also tend to be more expensive. You can keep a good budget if you pay attention to what you spend, buy local products, and look out for different deals and events offered throughout the city. The ISA Florianópolis staff can help give you tips about living in Florianópolis while still taking advantage of what the great city has to offer.

Former students have given us some idea of what you should expect to spend per week while in Brazil. Due to the change in exchange rates and vast differences in individual spending habits, we can only give you estimated figures. However, most students seem to spend around $125USD per week. This figure does not include extra traveling, heavy shopping, or frequent restaurant dining. Please keep in mind that some students spend less and others spend more.

When budgeting, keep in mind that it is always better to overestimate than to underestimate. To give you an idea of common approximate expenses and commodities a typical student will incur, please see the brief list below.

  • City transport: $10-$20 / week
  • Dining Out: $50-$60 / week
  • Groceries: $40-$60 / week
  • Cafés/Coffee: $2-$10 / week
  • Entertainment: $15 / week
  • Nightlife: $3/beer $8-$15/cocktail
  • Hotel: $50-$100 / night

Additional Estimated Expenses

The ISA program cost includes items such as tuition and fees, housing, insurance, and more. To view what is included in your program price, please visit the "What's Included" section of the ISA home page.

The "Additional Estimated Expenses" sheet in the "Accepted Students" section of the ISA website has the following estimates expenses listed:

  • Airfare
  • Books & Supplies
  • Extra Meals
  • Passport (new/renewal)
  • Student Visa
  • Immunizations (if needed)
  • Personal Travel


The ISIC card is an internationally recognized student ID card that gives students thousands of discounts worldwide from travel to cinema, meals and more. ISA students who purchase a flight through STA are eligible to receive an ISIC card.