The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) is one of the largest universities in Brazil.
It is located in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, with most of its campuses in the state capital of Porto Alegre.
UFRGS began life in 1895 as a collection of schools around Porto Alegre. These gradually united and became the University of Rio Grande do Sul in 1947.
Three of Brazil’s presidents have been UFRGS alumni: Getúlio Vargas, João Goulart and Dilma Rousseff. Political thought and debate are highly valued at the university, which perhaps explains why so many politicians are former UFRGS students.
One of UFRGS’ campuses is known as the international campus, and is the university’s focal point for cooperation with foreign researchers, academics and students. Classes are taught in Portuguese, but English-speaking students can enrol for Portuguese as a foreign language.
The Campus Olimpico offers students free sports classes with supervision by professors. The sports on offer include bodybuilding, water sports, synchronised swimming, dance, Olympic gymnastics and wrestling.
In 2012 UFRGS created Zenit, its Scientific and Technological Park, with the aim of promoting research, innovation and entrepreneurship within the university.
Porto Alegre is located at the meeting point between five rivers, which form a giant lake. The political vigour of the university spills over into the city, making it one of the most progressive places in Brazil.
Alternative art and music venues can be found everywhere. Same sex partnerships were recognised here long before Brazil as a whole.