Come explore Rio’s dynamic and evolving social, cultural, and economic landscape while immersing yourself in Carioca culture and Brazilian society.
In Rio de Janeiro, students with a modest background in Spanish or Portuguese have the opportunity to follow a range of academic, intellectual, and linguistic pursuits, and examine of the modern transformation of Brazil. And with homestays, volunteering opportunities, and a variety of cultural activities and excursions study abroad in Rio offers you a fascinating and truly unique intercultural experience.
Study abroad in Rio and you will:
Study in one of the most beautiful urban settings in the world and the cultural epicenter of Latin America’s largest, fastest growing, and most dynamic economy
Take courses in English at Brazil’s top higher education institution and Portuguese classes specifically designed for international students
Volunteer at local NGOs, schools, and other organizations as part of an integrated CIEE community engagement program
Immerse yourself in Brazilian academic and social life through homestays with local families
The CIEE Difference
Begin or continue your study of Portuguese while selecting from a variety of area studies courses – taught in English – of subjects including Brazilian history, culture, foreign policy, literature, and management. Most students who complete a pre-term Intensive Portuguese Language Course are also able to directly enroll in classes at the local host institution, The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).
Enjoy a number of excursions, throughout the semester, to various points of interest around Rio and Brazil. These activities, may include a tour of the city of Rio de Janeiro, guided visits to the city’s numerous national museums, tours of historical neighborhoods, attending soccer matches, participating in Carnaval activities, and taking advantage of Rio’s rich and diverse arts culture.
In addition, there is one overnight field trip each semester: a cultural and educational trip to either Salvador da Bahia in Brazil’s Afro-Caribbean northeast region, or Ouro Prieto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former mining town famed for its colonial architecture.
Community engagement is an important cultural and educational component of this study abroad program, and Rio de Janeiro has a rich culture of volunteerism and community service. You’ll get a firsthand look at the challenges facing Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding areas today through numerous group community engagement activities with various organizations and communities throughout the greater Rio area.
Total recommended credit for the semester program is 18-20 semester/27-30 quarter hours. The Intensive Pre-Term Portuguese as a Second Language course includes 90 contact hours and recommended credit is 6 semester/9 quarter hours (6 credits). Elective direct enrollment courses taught in English have 60 contact hours each, with recommended credit of 4 semester/6 quarter hours. Semester Portuguese language courses have 60-90 contact hours with recommended credit of 4-6 semester/6-9 quarter hours.
Study abroad students are required to enroll in the Intensive Pre-Term Portuguese as a Second Language course, two direct enrollment courses taught in English, and an additional direct enrollment course taught in English or a semester Portuguese language course.
About Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro ("January River") is the second largest city in Brazil and the third largest metropolitan area in South America. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, including six years as the capital of Portugal (1815 and 1821). Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural setting, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, and its energetic population. Rio's iconic landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Maracana soccer stadium.
Where You’ll Study
The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is a private, non-profit Catholic university established in 1941. It is one of the largest and most prestigious Brazilian universities, ranked by the Brazilian Ministry of Education as the best private university in the country in 2010, and among the 20 best universities in all of Latin America. PUC-Rio has approximately 12,000 undergraduate students, and 2,500 graduate students. The forested campus is centrally located in the South Zone of the city in the Gavea neighborhood and has a student community area with restaurants, coffee shops, library, free wireless, access to sports facilities and a major public bus stop.
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students have the choice of two housing options. Breakfast is included with both options. Although every attempt is made to grant each student’s preference, roommate and housing assignments are based upon availability and other factors. Therefore, housing preferences cannot be guaranteed. Housing options include:
Family Homestays - CIEE works with homestay families in Rio. Students usually eat breakfast with the family. Homestay families live in a radius of three to four miles from campus which can be accessed using public transportation. Sharing in the life of a family through a homestay provides an excellent opportunity for interested students to deconstruct stereotypes and to observe real life in action, and also creates opportunities for dialogue about issues raised in their courses, and for practicing their Portuguese language skills.
Group Homestays— the group homestay option is best for students who prefer to live with another student or a small group of students in a secure and friendly environment. Participants share rooms in homes along with a Brazilian family or overseen by a local Brazilian resident assistant. Students enjoy independence and student camaraderie in a convenient urban location.
Housing is not provided between semesters. Calendar and Academic year students who remain in Brazil during this period are responsible for arranging and paying for their own housing and meals during this time which is approximately one month in duration for the calendar year program (July) and approximately two months for the academic year program (December to February). In all housing, CIEE requires a Portuguese language commitment at all times to encourage the development of language skills and to facilitate student integration into and knowledge of Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian culture.
Established in 2012, the Language and Culture program at the CIEE Study Center in Rio de Janeiro is based at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro where CIEE study abroad students enroll in one 18-week academic term. Each semester begins with a Pre-Term Intensive Language and Culture Program (ILCP) lasting approximately one month. Instruction for all non-language classes is in English, with the exception of regular University courses that are only accessible for program participants with sufficient Portuguese language skills as determined by PUC-Rio and the CIEE Study Center staff. Some courses offered may have a limited number of local PUC students enrolled in order to build opportunities for cross-cultural and academic exchange between CIEE and host university students. It is anticipated that most students who successfully complete the ILCP program and a semester in the Language and Culture program will be able to continue on for a second semester of direct enrollment classes taught in Portuguese.
Brazilian universities tend to convey knowledge through different strategies and methods; innovation, design, participation, memorization, and expositive lectures are part of the in-class academic culture. In most classes, a great deal of emphasis is placed on note taking. It can take a while to learn how to study effectively in the Brazilian system, especially in terms of acquiring reading material and understanding professors’ expectations. While U.S. students are accustomed to a very structured system, professors in Brazil generally leave students on their own to determine the intensity of their work—an approach which is geared towards the student who is motivated, self-sufficient, and deeply interested in the subject matter of the course. It is a more autonomous academic system. In some courses, the entire grade is based on a term paper or critical analysis of a particular article, with the expectation that the paper be based upon a fairly extensive reading from the bibliography. This relative freedom places a great deal of responsibility on the student.