Brazil has a both a public and private school system, with compulsory education up until the age of 14. However, expatriates living in Porto Alegre may want to send their children to an international school, as they can be taught in English and receive qualifications that would be accepted in their country of origin.
As an industrial city with an international population and many expatriates, Porto Alegre has one main international school, the Pan-American School of Porto Alegre, which is very highly regarded and would be suitable for children of all nationalities.
There are also international schools located in other major Brazilian cities, including Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Porto Alegre is also home to a number of institutions of higher education; most notably the University of Rio Grande do Sul, and the main graduate school in the area, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul.
Brazil has a public healthcare system, which, as an expatriate living in Porto Alegre with a permanent residence visa, you will be able to access for free. As Porto Alegre is a large city with an international population, many of the doctors speak English; however, this is not always true outside of metropolitan areas.
That being said, many expatriates living in Porto Alegre tend to use the private healthcare system, as many Brazilian public hospitals are overcrowded, underfunded and lacking in specialist equipment.
If you do wish to use the private healthcare system, you are advised to take out comprehensive health insurance, as private healthcare in Brazil is notoriously expensive, and you may have to pay upfront for some treatments if you are not insured.
The main health risk for expatriates living in Porto Alegre is Dengue fever, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccination available, so expatriates should take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Expatriates living in Porto Alegre will be able to drive using their license from their country of origin, but if you are staying for an extended period of time it is recommended that you apply for a Brazilian license.
The Brazilian road network is notoriously underfunded and in need of major repairs, but if you stay within Porto Alegre you will find that the roads are adequate. However, traffic can be a serious problem in the city center.
Many expatriates choose to use public transportation while living in Porto Alegre as it is cheap, convenient, and, compared with other Brazilian cities, well-funded and easy to use.
The city has an extensive metro system that runs from the city to the outer suburbs and areas north of the city. There is currently no metro system that runs inside the city center, but there is a large bus network and over 3,000 registered taxi cabs that make inner city travel relatively easy.