I want to specify that this is actually for a friend, I personally am not an academic but he is and is in this situation and asked me to write here to ask for suggestions as he is abstaining from the internet.
My friend over the past year got his hopes up to go to graduate school in Brazil, and after finally passing the Portuguese proficiency exam he found that he had missed the window by a few weeks. Currently, he is unsure how to proceed.
He would very much like to still go to Brazil, but he cannot apply again until 2020, and he worries that as a fresh graduate that a lack of academic history between 2018 and 2020 may be harmful for his chances to get in. Financial burdens are also pressuring him to accept alternative choices for graduate school, but he is frankly bummed out at the prospect of anything but what he had in mind.
He currently does work as a paid lab worker in an Entomology lab (his field of study along with Philosophy), so he does have a few years of paid lab experience; I posed that he continue along this track and wait for the opportunity to appear again, but he is growing increasingly tired of his work setting and wants to jump back into academia.
As someone who was denied from their dream grad school (not on merit, but by deadline), what are his options on continuing work in academia without forgoing his dream?
Note also that he refuses to work outside of something supporting academia which limits his financial options.
I feel that this is not a duplicate of similar questions because, having looked at them, they mostly advise reapplying or talking to the advisor. Due to the foreign nature, it is not possible for him to apply before the next window (as I understand, feel free to correct me!).