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CIEE Media, Design, and Social Communication in Rio de Janeiro, 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
Summer 2018 03/18/2018 04/02/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: Art, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Journalism, Marketing, Sociology Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.75
Academic Level: Sophomore Language of Instruction: Portuguese
Housing Options: Host Family
Program Description:


With stunning vistas, a booming economy and vibrant cultural life, Rio truly earns its title as the ‘Marvelous City.’ And given that it is home to Brazil’s largest media company (Globo) and serves as the base for many national and international media organizations it’s also the perfect site to examine the transforming nature of contemporary media culture and production from a national and global perspective.

Through intensive language study, direct enrollment, and field-based co-curricular programming, the program will foster cultural immersion, language learning, and strengthen your capacity to perform in teams and develop familiarity with relevant professional environments.

Study abroad in Brazil and you will:


  • Increase the complexity, fluency, accuracy, and appropriateness of use of oral Portuguese in private and public settings 
  • Discuss the future of the information market in the face of the new tools and media available to both producers of content and general public
  • Manage the use of digital tools for the production of informative content

The CIEE Difference


In Brazil you’ll have access to a full curriculum through direct enrollment at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), one of the country’s most prestigious educational institutions. Elective content courses are offered through PUC-Rio’s Social Communication and Design departments, which encompass the following academic programs: Advertising and Marketing, Journalism, Cinema (includes Television and Radio), Visual Communication, and Digital Media.

Site Visits

Study abroad in Rio and you’ll enjoy faculty-led visits to local media companies, exhibitions and design events, and other cultural activities relevant to the focal themes of the program:


  • Make a daytrip to visit Projeto Jacarepaguá, the main center of television production for the O Globo organization and Latin America’s largest audiovisual production center
  • Visit Radio Rocinha, the local radio station and community voice of the largest favela in Brazil called Rocinha
  • Other site visits include visits to Rio’s Oi Futuro Telecommunications Museum that traces the adventure of human communication and the Museum of Image and Sound, the first audiovisual museum in Brazil.   

Given Rio de Janeiro’s rich culture of volunteerism and community service community engagement is an important cultural and educational component to the program.
You will have an opportunity to partner with a local community center or non-governmental organizations to design and carry out projects on NGO PR and visibility, oriented towards disseminate the positive message, work and mission of the organization. 

Community engagement and service activities will be linked to the subject matter and learning goals of the program (i.e. assisting local communities in documenting their culture, marketing social and community development causes and initiatives, and volunteer work on media and communications projects.

Recommended Credit

Total recommended credit for the semester program is 18-20 semester/27-30 quarter hours. PUC-Rio courses typically comprise 60 contact hours, and 4 semester / 6 quarter credit hours.

The Intensive Language and Culture course is 90 contact hours and recommended credit is 6 semester / 9 quarter hours. The semester Portuguese Language courses are 90 contact hours at the Beginner / Intermediate levels (for 6 semester / 9 quarter hours) and 60 contact hours (4 semester / 6 quarter hours) at the Advanced level. Most regular university content courses are 60 contact hours and recommended credit is 4 semester / 6 quarter hours per course.

Program Requirements

The study abroad program requires all students to enroll in:

  • 6 credits, Intensive Portuguese in the pre-semester ILCP
  • 4-6 credits, Portuguese as a Second Language course during the semester
  • 8 credits, Two direct enrollment courses (4 credits each) instructed in Portuguese during the semester
Academic year students and students continuing from one CIEE program in Brazil to another for the academic year are not required to repeat the Intensive Language Session in January. However, many academic year students understand the importance of continuing their Portuguese studies during the semester break and may wish to participate in a more advanced ILCP course.

About Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro ("January River”) is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil and the third largest metropolitan area in South America. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries during the Portuguese colonial era. Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or "Marvelous City" thanks to its dynamic urban vibe, expansive beaches, and abutting rain forest. Rio represents the second largest GDP in the country and is the headquarters of major Brazilian companies. It is home to many universities, and is the second largest center of research and development in Brazil.

Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural setting, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, and renowned beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema. Rio’s iconic landmarks include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and Maracanã stadium, one of the world's largest football stadiums. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first South American city to host the event, as well as being the showcase city and site for the championship match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Where You’ll Study

The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is a private, non-profit Catholic university created 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 2009. PUC-Rio has approximately 12,000 undergraduate students, 2,500 students and 4,000 extension students. PUC-Rio is widely acclaimed for its excellent law, engineering, computer science, psychology, economics, business and international relations programs. The University is also known for bringing in the broadest types of students in order to foster and develop diversity amongst its student body. PUC-Rio has numerous bilateral relationships with U.S. universities however it does not presently work with any third party providers. The University is located on a former coffee farm in Gávea, a neighborhood located in the south zone of city at the edge of the Tijuca Forest.

The forested campus has a student community area with restaurants and coffee shops, banks, free wireless and a major public bus stop. PUC-Rio has three sports areas where many sports are played, such as football (soccer), volleyball and capoeira. In addition, both international students and the regular students are allowed to swim at one of the most famous clubs in town, the Flamengo Football (soccer) Club. It is located within walking distance of campus. Gatherings are organized specifically for international students in order to help them integrate into the university community. Students can also participate in other 4extracurricular and cultural activities.

Housing & Meals

Study abroad students live in private homes with local Brazilian families. Housing, two meals per day, and laundry services are included in the program fee. Academic and calendar-year students are responsible for housing and meals during the break between semesters, which is approximately two weeks in duration for the February to December calendar-year program, and approximately two months for the July to July academic-year program.

The home stay is essential to the student’s learning process and integration into life in Rio de Janeiro. The opportunity to live with a Brazilian family not only allows students to deconstruct stereotypes and to observe real life in action, but it also creates opportunities for dialogue about issues raised in their courses, and for practicing their Portuguese language skills. The exclusive use of Portuguese is strongly encouraged for program participants.

Academic Program

The CIEE Study Center office will be based on or near the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro campus. Prior to the full academic term, the semester program begins with an Intensive Language and Culture Program (ILCP) lasting four weeks. The ILCP is also offered as a stand-alone program for study abroad students wanting to study intensive language for one month during the winter intersession and summer break. The ILCP includes intensive Portuguese classes according to students’ individual levels, home stays with local families, and cultural activities. These aspects of the pre-semester program are designed to provide students with the linguistic and cultural foundation for their semester or year in Brazil.

CIEE students will enroll in a 23-week extended academic term. Instruction for all classes is in Portuguese. CIEE students will study alongside local PUC students and should expect significant cross-cultural and academic exchange with host university students.

Through extensive available elective courses, students are afforded the opportunity to study diverse academic topics and practical skills within the media and communications fields, within a university environment. Students completing the program will be able to demonstrate deeper knowledge, literacy and skills in one or more of the subject areas offered in the program. Students will also develop their capacity for intercultural understanding and the capacity to communicate across cultures with a focus on business-communication tools and skills.

Elective content courses are offered through PUC-Rio’s Social Communication and Design departments, which encompass the following academic programs: Advertising and Marketing, Journalism, Cinema (includes Television and Radio), Visual Communication, and Digital Media).

As a required component of the study abroad program, students will be placed in two intensive language classes according to their ability as determined by a placement exam at the outset of the program. One intensive course is offered prior to the start of the regular semester, and another during the regular semester. Courses are available for students at all language levels, however students are expected to arrive in Brazil with sufficient background in Spanish or Portuguese such that they will be able to enroll in their desired content courses following the month-long ILCP program.

Academic Culture

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 many lecture and theoretical 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. In this program, many students will take classes that embrace more group work and production projects that will be more collaborative and practical in nature.