Come learn or improve your Portuguese while immersing yourself in Brazilian history and culture in the booming and ethnically diverse city of Salvador da Bahia.
Through intensive language training, homestays, a variety of cultural excursions, and direct enrolment at two of the most prestigious universities in the country, study abroad in Salvador offers you unique insight into contemporary Brazil, and a truly immersive international experience.
Study abroad in Brazil and you will:
Learn Portuguese through a four-week intensive language and culture program prior to the semester, followed by semester-long language courses at various levels
Enroll in CIEE courses and in regular courses in UFBA and UCSAL
Participate in cultural and educational activities, including visits to museums, theater, music and dance performances, a candomblé ceremony, a soccer match, a percussion lesson, and more.
Enjoy an overnight trip to the gorgeous beach towns and colonial settlements of Ilheus and Itacare, in Bahia’s cocoa region, and excursions to explore other parts of Brazil’s distinct Northeast, plus many more cultural, academic and recreational explorations.
The CIEE Difference
After a pre-semester Portuguese language and culture course that prepares you linguistically, and culturally, for direct enrolment, choose from a variety of coursework – ranging from anthropology and education, to the performing arts, literature and communications – at two local universities. You’ll also continue your language training in a Portuguese language course and have access to number of specialized CIEE electives examining race and social inequality in Bahia and Brazil.
Enjoy a number of excursions and activities. These may include visits to the museum of Afro-Brazilian history, plays and local performances, a soccer game, a folklore dance show, a percussion lesson, and a candomblé ceremony. The study abroad program also includes a trip to Rio de Janeiro known as the “cidade maravilhosa,” or “wonderful city,” for its natural beauty and its strong cultural identity.
Community engagement is an important cultural and educational component of this program, and Salvador has a rich culture of volunteerism and community service. CIEE staff arranges engagement opportunities with a wide range of organizations and communities throughout Salvador.
Total recommended credit for the fall semester is 18–21 semester/27–31.5 quarter hours and for the spring, 16–19 semester/24–28.5 quarter hours. Total recommended credit for the academic and calendar year is 34–40 semester/51–60 quarter hours.
Course contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course, unless otherwise indicated
Study abroad students are evaluated the same as their Brazilian university peers on any combination of the following: quizzes, class participation, midterm and final exams, or final papers, much as in the United States. Students must take exams at the regular exam time and turn in all work on time. Letter grades of A, B, C, D, and F are given with pluses or minuses.
Grades for the first semester are normally received by early September and for the second semester by March.
About Salvador da Bahia
Salvador da Bahia, located on the Atlantic coast in northeastern Brazil, has 3 million inhabitants. Due to the strong slave presence during the Colonial period, Salvador has a strong African influence, including religious and spiritual practices, cuisine, and ethnic dynamics. Today, Salvador is a booming city, and its historic and ethnic diversity can be noted in the city’s architecture and layout: old parts of the city are located next to modern complexes. The CIEE Study Center is located on a bustling square—2 de Julho near The Pelourinho, the historic center of the city.
Where You’ll Study
Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA) is one of Brazil´s top ten universities and has 58 academic disciplines for undergraduates, and 38.000 students. UFBA has several campuses but the main campus is located close to student housing in the Ondina neighborhood. Established in 1961, Universidade Católica do Salvador (UCSal) is the highest ranking private university in northeast Brazil. The University offers courses in many departments including communications, education, fine arts, social services, and music. The UCSal campus is housed in renovated monasteries and modern buildings with several campuses around the city.
Housing & Meals
Housing and three meals per day are included in the study abroad program fee. During orientation, students are housed together in a hotel. For the remainder of the program, students are placed in Bahian homestays.
The home stay is essential to the students’ learning process and integration into life in Salvador. The opportunity to live with a Brazilian family not only allows students to deconstruct stereotypes and observe real life in action, but it also creates opportunities for dialogue about issues discussed in class, and for practicing their Portuguese language skills. Students can expect a more traditional environment that may call for some adjustments on their part. The opportunity to live with a family offers students a unique source of cultural learning and personal growth.
The CIEE Study Center in Salvador da Bahia was established in 2000. Students begin the program by participating in an Intensive Language and Culture Program (ILCP). The ILCP prepares study abroad students for the regular semester by providing them the opportunity to focus intensively on Portuguese language acquisition. The ILCP course is 90 hours of intensive language instruction for 6 credits. The semester program offers a combination of direct enrollment classes at the Brazilian universities, UFBA and UCSAL, specially designed CIEE courses about race and social inequalities in Bahia and in Brazil, and additional Portuguese instruction.
Some U.S. students could misperceive that the workload is light and that there are very few assignments. However, students are given bibliographies for courses with the expectation that they read as many of the listings as possible and select those titles that best meet their needs and interests. 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.
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 rigorous and autonomous academic system.
The CIEE academic year program takes place from late June to mid-June of the following year, and the CIEE calendar year program coincides with the Brazilian academic year, taking place from February to mid/late-December. Academic year students have a 8 week break between the fall and spring semesters and are encouraged to travel independently throughout other parts of Brazil and Latin America. Calendar year students have a break of 6 weeks between the Brazilian first and second semesters (the North American spring and fall semesters). Students are responsible for housing and meals during these breaks.