International Education in São Paulo
Brazil’s largest city, and one of the world’s most populous, is the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo. It’s a financial hub, it has a great reputation as a foodie and architectural destination, it has a thriving art scene and a buzzing nightlife. It may not be the prettiest place on the planet, but it most definitely has a lot to offer.
That’s one reason why ‘Sampa’, as it’s known to locals, has a population of 22 million in its greater metropolitan area. It’s also why a huge proportion of those ‘Paulistanos’ are expats.
In fact, the expat community in Sao Paulo is so large and growing so fast, it has created a number of issues in the city. Finding appropriate housing is a challenge, and finding a good international school is even more difficult due to the extremely high demand.
Sao Paulo has the widest variety of international schools in Brazil. And just like its multicultural population, there’s an eclectic array of curricula to choose from. International, French, Brazilian, British, American, Canadian, Swiss... You name it, Sao Paulo has it.
The downside? Waiting lists. They’re a common feature for international schools all over the world, but in Sao Paulo, they can be alarmingly long. It’s never too early to start the application process. After all, the last thing you want is for your first choice of school to be out of reach just because your child’s name is too far down the list.
Another warts-and-all point to consider about international schools in Sao Paulo is travel time. Traffic is notoriously bad in Sao Paulo; the city is just too big to get around easily. Unfortunately, that means travelling to a different neighbourhood to attend school is not recommended.
Like it or not, location will be an important aspect of your school search. International schools are usually located in the affluent areas of Sao Paulo, but that means housing in those neighbourhoods won’t come cheap.
It’s not the end of the world if there’s a commute between school and home, because many international schools in Sao Paulo do offer bus services. Just bear in mind that due to the traffic, they may begin quite early in the morning.
If you’d rather avoid the chaos, consider going outside the city proper to areas like Santana de Parnaiba and its surroundings. Away from the hustle and bustle and up in the hills, there are a few select international schools that might just be what you’re looking for.
Wherever your school is located, it will most likely provide for full primary and secondary education, from ages 2 or 3 right up to 18. As with other major cities, Sao Paulo’s international schools have very high standards of education. Multiple languages including Portugese and English are offered across the board, native speaking teachers are common, and extra curricular activities are part and parcel of the deal.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in São Paulo. However, there are another 19 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in São Paulo based on your requirements.