Finding Accomodation:

Some of the safest areas to live in São Paulo are Vila Madalena, Pinheiros, Jardins Paulista (central close to Avenida Paulista), Itaim Bibi (a car is a must), Moema and Murumbi.

When new to São Paulo, it is usually best to start out by living in a hostel in a safe area with good connections such as Vila Madelena. While it is certainly possible to get an apartment from abroad, this is both hard and complicated unless you have a very good contact which can arrange it for you. When looking for somewhere to stay, it pays to be patient and go to many different “interviews” in different apartments, and hold out for a really good one.

While getting somewhere to stay in São Paulo is quite easy, getting a place of your own is not. This is especially true if you are on a budget, as the Real is currently quite strong and rents in São Paulo are fairly expensive. Most people tend to stay with other people in a shared apartment. This is known as a “republica”, a term which covers everything from two people sharing an apartment with their own rooms to a dozen sharing rooms and living in bunk beds. Compared to for example Swedes, Brazilians generally do not have the same need for privacy.

It is very important to keep in mind the quality and variety of transportation in the area you are looking to live, as this is among the most important aspects of having a high quality of life in São Paulo. If you have to travel a lot during rush hour, it is usually best to try and minimize the distance that has to be traveled to work or to study. This will save time, money and energy! Living close to a Metrô station is recommended.

Below are several different ways of finding a room or apartment in “Sampa”.

Facebook: Republicas USP

For those who study at USP and want to be involved in the very lively and varied student life in Cidade Universitaria, it is probably best to live as close to campus as possible.
One way of finding a republica close to USP with a lot of Brazilians (which is the best thing if you want to learn portuguese) is a Facebook group called “Republicas USP”. It is good to keep in mind that students at university are usually a bit younger than students in for example Sweden, and most of the republicas that can be found at this group is for people between 18 and 23. The best period to be looking for this type of apartment is in the weeks before the semester starts, as this is the time when most people are shifting accommodation.

Easyquarto

The biggest site for finding apartments and rooms of all kinds is Easyquarto. This site can be quite hard to use if you do not speak Portuguese, but apartments of all qualities and locations can be found here. In order to use the site you need to register and put up a profile. Everything which is listed needs to be verified by visits and sometimes also interviews. When arranging visits, it is best to do so by phone, even if some things can be arranged by e-mail.

Easyquarto

International Office

If you are going to São Paulo to study, it can be very helpful to talk to the international office. These will often receive contacts for empty rooms in republicas or people with a room to spare who wants to host an international student.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is an international organization for travelers and backpackers in which people exchange offers to stay in places for free. It is also a very good place to gain friends and contacts in new cities. The chapter in São Paulo is very active, and have all sorts of activities and groups for the members. One of these groups are for renting out rooms and apartments, and it is well worth checking out as the people who are involved tend to be very well traveled and extremely friendly.