First of all, congratulations on your acceptance in the exchange program that will make it possible for you to live in Brazil. We are sure you won’t regret your decision to study in Ribeirão Preto, and this will definitely become a memorable part of your life, and we hope Sparta will be a good part of it!
Let us tell you more about República Sparta!
We live in two houses with 21 bedrooms! It’s a well-diversified environment, not only because each one of us is different (we have the nature lovers, the bodybuilders, the party people, the special ones and even our own beloved professional LoL player) but also because we are a mixed República (YES! You heard that well, there are men, women and some, we believe, are abiotic). We can honestly say that our home is a big living organism, where there’s always someone doing something (exercising, studying, sleeping, relaxing in the pool, playing snooker or cards, sleeping a little bit more, having a nice cold beer or watching Mad Max: Fury Road for the one hundredth time). Even so we are organized and care a lot about our home, because we believe that living in a República doesn’t mean we have to live in a mess. Ms. Edna (our cleaning lady extraordinaire from the future, you can bet she cleans!) comes from Monday to Saturday to make sure the house is tidy. But don’t get it wrong, we also have to do our part so the dishes are our own responsibility! A lot of people ask “okay, so you’re organized and clean, but how do you manage to do all of that in such a big place with lots of people living together?”. Here at Sparta we believe on a Facebookian Whastappian Social Liberal Democratic of the Working Class political system. Now seriously, before we make a major decision we all debate and vote on the best solution (and yes, you too will be a part of this system, and your opinion matters since you’re one of us). We strongly believe in two things, commitment and participation. The more you interact with us the faster you will integrate and it’ll obviously make it easier to learn our language. Our main goal is not just to fill the vacant rooms, but to live with people who also feel like social interaction is required to make it worthwhile living together. Even though we can count those few times on a hand, when they want to our guys do know how to cook something else than ramen. Sometimes someone enters in chef mode and cooks for the whole República. We have Ray’s delicious Brazilian “coxinhas”, Kaiba’s homemade monster burguers, B1 and B2’s fatty cakes and the famous “brigadeiro” from Blog and Tuga. We also like parties (that may actually be an understatement, we LOVE them!), so at least two times a week we do a barbecue and eat together, so that we can promote that social interaction that we talked about.
How does the cleaning service works?
We have a daily cleaning service (Ms. Edna comes from Monday to Saturday) that includes the common areas and bathrooms, and the weekly cleaning of each individual bedroom. Still that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax… here everyone is responsible for cleaning their own dishes, and like the previous generation of gringos did, you can also take on some basic chores (like cleaning the pool, helping out with the gardens, pitching in with your mad masterchef skills, etc). The República is not a hostel, everyone participates and collaborates in its organization, and that is precisely what makes the magic happen. When everyone works towards the same goal, it’s easier to feel like you are part of something together.
How far away from USP is Sparta?
For a while, Sparta’s house has been in the closest neighborhood from the campus, but for security reasons we moved to Jardim Sumaré, a more centric and safer place. You are on walking distance from the supermarket, bakeries, pharmacies, gyms, the famous clubs from the city, and a lot more. When it comes to getting to class, you can go by bus (it takes around 15/20 minutes to get you right to the front door of your faculty), but usually we just carpool with one of the fellow residents.
How much Portuguese should I study before I arrive?
The more fluent in Portuguese you are, the better it’ll be for you, and the quicker you’ll adapt to your life in Brazil. We suggest that those who wish to be a part of our República to have at least the basic A2 level of Portuguese, but even if you don´t speak any Portuguese at all and are truly willing to learn you’re more than welcome. If you have a basic knowledge of the language, you’ll see that it’ll be easier to get along with everybody here. If you are able to interact with everyone in the beginning of your stay, it’ll help you get integrated not only with your mates in the República, but also with your classmates in USP. We recommend you try to do a Portuguese crash course, or maybe try to use the Duolingo app to get started and refine your language skills.
What should I expect from Brazil, living in Sparta?
As soon as your plane lands it will be as clear as day how receptive and friendly Brazilian people are. This will be even more noticeable when you arrive to our house. We always try to create an environment where all the residents feel integrated and welcome, and to find ways to strengthen the relationships between the “gringos” (how we call all the foreigners in Brazil) and the Brazilians. In this way, will try to offer you guys the best typical Brazilian experience. In our República also live a lot of members from iTeam, an organization whose goal is to help the incoming exchange students accomodate to their new lives in Ribeirão Preto.
What about the bedrooms and its prices?
For the 2nd semester of 2016 (from July-August to December-January) will have a few vacant rooms available for the incoming exchange students. We limit the number of foreigners to be able to offer all of those who actually end up living with us a direct integration experience with the Brazilian culture. The funds collected monthly are used to make the República keep on growing, and to create an even more amazing place that we love to call our home. In Sparta a shared room can cost from R$ 500.00 to R$ 700.00 reais per month, while the monthly price of an individual bedroom (you can choose between having your own bathroom, or a shared one) goes from R$ 800.00 to R$ 1,200.00 reais. If you would like to hear more about the life in Sparta and in Brazil, you can ask some of the "gringos" who have been living with us this past year about their experience studying abroad:
What about the parties?
As expected from all Repúblicas, we do a few small parties in our house once in a while, and the residents here usually go to almost all the parties that are happening on campus. Twice a year we organize two big and well-known parties in the USP circles. In Sparta the environment is ideal for an intense cultural exchange, and you will see that making friends with the Brazilian people is really easy!