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CIEE Liberal Arts Program in São Paulo, Brazil
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 02/25/2018 03/15/2018 TBA TBA
Academic Year 2018-2019 02/25/2018 03/15/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Journalism, Latin American Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75
Academic Level: Sophomore Language of Instruction: Portuguese
Housing Options: Host Family
Program Description:

Begin or continue your study of Portuguese while exploring – what is arguably – the most important country in Latin America, through the urban eyes of its largest, most diverse and dynamic city: São Paulo.

Through intensive language study, homestays, internships, cultural activities, and direct enrolment in an extensive range of courses at one of the top universities in Brazil, studying abroad in São Paulo gives you unparalleled insight into contemporary Brazil, and an exciting, immersive intercultural experience.

Study abroad in São Paulo and you will:
  • Take part in an intensive language and culture pre-session to prepare for direct enrollment courses
  • Experience the unique atmosphere of PUC SP , a traditional university founded in 1946, with an urban campus that mixes academic excellence with a diverse student body
  • Live in São Paulo the most diverse social, economic and cultural city in Brazil. Learn about the diverse heritages, the influence of globalization, the local cultural and social movements.
  • Volunteer with and learn about local community organizations and social projects

The CIEE Difference


Whether you’re just beginning your study of Portuguese or you’re an intermediate speaker, you’ll find a language learning course that suits your needs and abilities. You’ll also enroll directly in a host of English-taught courses at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, ranging in subject from Anthropology, History and International Relations, to Business Administration, Journalism, Performance Arts.


The study abroad program includes one weekend and one overnight field trip in Brazil and visits to sites of historical and cultural importance in São Paulo. In the past, students have visited the colonial city of Paraty; a community of the Landless Movement; Aparecida do Norte, the most famous center of devotion for the Brazilian Catholic population; and a traditional Carnaval Samba School. Students have also participated in community service projects in disadvantaged communities, attended concerts, Brazilian movies, museums, and soccer games.


Choose from a number of volunteering opportunities in the areas of education, health, or community building through the Centro de Voluntariado de São Paulo, or take part in a variety of optional, non-credit  internship through the PUC Central de Estagios (Center for Internships).


Total recommended credit for the semester is 21–24 semester/31.5–36 quarter hours (6 ILCP + 3  Semester language + 12 direct enrollment at PUC ) and for the academic year is 36–43 semester/54–64.5 quarter hours.

PUC-SP course contact hours range from 60-68 hours in the Administration, Economics, and Social Science departments. Recommended credit is 4 semester/6 quarter hours.

PUC-SP course contact hours range from 30–45 contact hours in the Communications and Philosophy departments. Recommended credit is 2–3 semester/3–4.5 quarter hours.

Please see individual course descriptions for CIEE course contact hours and recommended credit.

Program Requirements

All study abroad students attend the required ILCP, which prepares them linguistically and culturally prior to the start of the regular semester. During the regular semester, students take the required CIEE Portuguese Language course, and a minimum of three direct enrollment courses at PUC-SP.

Students must enroll in Portuguese language study throughout their study abroad experience, including academic and calendar year students in their second semester. Academic year students may opt to pursue an independent study with approval of the Academic Director and their home institution.

About São Paulo 

Multicultural São Paulo is the second largest urban area in the Americas and an important South American economic and cultural center that includes a modern subway system, shopping malls in each Bairro,  beautiful parks, nightlife, several  open-air fruit and flower markets. Often compared to New York City because of its cosmopolitan feel and its distinct ethnic neighborhoods and excellent cultural venues, the city offers South America’s best and most diverse cultural entertainment opportunities including theater, cinema, museums, concerts, Carnival samba schools, and soccer teams. São Paulo also offers many opportunities for students to pursue volunteer service with organizations working to alleviate pressing local social issues such as street children and homelessness.

Where You’ll Study

The Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) is ranked among the top universities in Brazil and has 19,000 undergraduate students. PUC maintains a strong research tradition—a unique characteristic among private institutions of higher learning in Brazil. The PUC campus that CIEE students attend is in the residential Perdizes neighborhood, not far from São Paulo’s famous Avenida Paulista with good access to public transportation. The University neighborhood has gyms, bookstores, and numerous restaurants and cafés filled with students and locals. The CIEE Study Center is conveniently located just two blocks from the PUC campus.

Housing & Meals

Housing and two meals per day are included in the study abroad program fee. One meal per day, usually lunch or dinner depending on class schedules, is not included in the fee and is the responsibility of the student. During orientation, students are housed together. During the remainder of the semester, students are placed in Brazilian home stays. We consider the home stay a special opportunity to learn about Brazilian culture outside the academia.

Academic Program

This São Paulo study abroad program was established in 1973 and has been administered by CIEE since 1989. The program begins with a month-long Intensive Language and Culture Program (ILCP) in which students enroll in an intensive, 90 hour, six-credit language and culture course prior to the regular semester. The ILCP prepares students for the regular semester by giving them the opportunity to focus intensively on Portuguese language acquisition, while learning about Brazilian contemporary society. The regular semester offers a combination of direct enrollment classes at a Brazilian university and CIEE Portuguese language courses.  This program is ideal for those who want to better understand Brazilian society and culture through the eyes of cosmopolitan paulistanos, and to significantly improve their Portuguese language skills. The program is also ideal for advanced Spanish speakers who would like to learn Portuguese using their romance language skills as a foundation for rapid language acquisition.

Academic Culture

While U.S. students are accustomed to a very structured academic system, Brazilian professors generally leave students on their own to determine the intensity of their work. This approach is geared towards the student who is motivated, self-sufficient, and deeply interested in the subject matter. It is a more rigorous, autonomous academic system. Since there is no required GPA in Brazilian HEIs, the nature of instruction, evaluation and grading is quite different. The local CIEE staff will help you understand these differences in academic cultures, and make the most of your academic experience.

Upon arrival, some U.S. students could misperceive that the workload is light and that there are few assignments. However, students are often 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.

The CIEE academic year program coincides roughly with the North American academic year, taking place from late June to late June of the following year, and the CIEE calendar year program coincides with the Brazilian academic year, taking place from early January to early December. Academic year students have a two-month break between 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 four weeks between the Brazilian first and second semesters (the North American spring and fall semesters). Housing and meals are not included during these breaks and are the responsibility of the student.