Contemplating Grad School - But Can I?

By 17:25 ,

I have been contemplating grad school since before graduating from college. But for a person such as myself with numerous interests, it has been difficult to decide what to do for a graduate degree.

First off, it's a huge investment. Whether in the US or Brazil, grad school is pricey, whether you pay for it now or later.

Secondly, now that I am in Brazil, it's actually become harder to pursue further studies than it was when I was in the US not so legally. hhmm... why's that, you ask?

Because MEC, the Brazilian Ministry of Education, says that I need to get my foreign degree approved by a public university here as a legitimate degree. Sounds easy enough, right? Who wouldn't "approve," a bachelor's degree from a prestigious New England college?

Not that easy... I need to present a handful (ok, two handfuls) of documentation to a public university, in my case, the closest is USP (Universidade de São Paulo), some which I have, others which I would have to get from my college and then approved by the Brazilian consulate in Boston, MA; then pay R$35/1 thousand characters to have it all translated by a registered translator; then prove my proficieny in Portuguese through a test; and then pay a R$1500 fee! Don't believe me? Check it out - Docs Revalidação.

In any case, I can't pursue a "Pós Graduação," or "Mestrado," in Brazil, until I get these requirements in or go through a four year graduate program here.

I guess this is the payback for studying abroad and not staying a local university? hmm...

Out of frustration, I decided to do a little bit of math with a few options for myself.

1. Look for an international program in Brazil. FGV, has a program in International Management which looks pretty cool. I think I'd be able to do it. The 2 year program has a price tag of, R$2.307 x 24 = R$55.368, or about US$32,000. Plus supplies and such. Not bad for US standards, right? But not looking like an option if you look at my bank statement... I have also found another program that looks international and is much less expensive. I'll keep that info to myself for now though and let you know this week once I've gone there to talk to them about it!

2. Study abroad!! But wouldn't it be that much more expensive to study in another country? ... not really. There's this great and inspiring article I found on 7 Countries that are a fraction of US grad school costs, and Brazilian ones for that matter! The University of Barcelona has programs at US$2,000 a year. Two years would be US$4,000 + living expenses of say, US$35k a year = US$74k - but then of course, I'd be working. Let's say I work as an au pair and cut my living expenses... well, away - I'd make about US$7,000 - which would leave US$3,000 for travelling around Europe per year... and, um... I'd be living in Barcelona. The same thing would work if I went to L'École Normale Superieur in Paris where the grad program is 190 Euro a year - and, um... I'd be living in Paris. Here's the kicker - I speak French too!

3. Get another undergrad degree. For now, that's my last option. Besides being too much of a hassle, I would complete it in probably about 5 years after having taken at least one year of vestibular classes so I can actually get in, and... *sigh. It hurts my head to even think about it.

4. Tough up and go through with the whole revalidation thing. That hurts my head to think about too...

I want to elaborate on the whole education in Brazil thing, but I'll do that in another post because this one's lengthy enough!!

beijooss and happy rainy Sunday to you all :-)

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