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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA: 2.75 Program Type: Independent Semester Programs
Language of Instruction: Portuguese Class Standing: Sophomore
Financial Aid: Private Loans Areas of Study: Cultural Studies, Foreign languages
Program Description:

Looking to develop a higher level of Portuguese language fluency, and a critical appreciation of Brazilian life and society in one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities on earth? Rio is waiting!

Coupling a rigorous language program with exciting cultural immersion activities, study abroad in Brazil is an amazing opportunity for students looking for a short-term study abroad option.

In Brazil you will:
  • Enjoy the beautiful cultural epicenter of Latin America's largest and most dynamic country
  • Take intensive language courses at Brazil's top private higher education institution specifically designed for international students
  • Immerse in Brazilian academic and social life through homestays with local families, combined with studies on a vibrant urban university campus

The CIEE Difference


The student-centered methodology of the Portuguese as a Second Language program is active, participatory, and prioritizes work in pairs and groups, as well as activities requiring students to solve tasks and navigate situations. Using a combination of practical activities, lectures, auditory exercises, and analysis of texts, you’ll significantly develop your Portuguese fluency.


There are few ways better to immerse yourself in Brazilian culture than by living with a local family. In Rio you’ll have the choice of either an individual homestay or, if you’d prefer to live with another student, a group option – sharing a room in homes along with a Brazilian family.


The academic program is supplemented by field trips and excursions to various points of interest around Rio and Brazil. Field trips and excursions may include visits to sites of historic and cultural importance in Rio and its environs. These activities, which vary each term to take advantage of seasonal and current attractions, may include a tour of the city of Rio, guided visits to the city’s numerous national museums, tours of historical neighborhoods, attending soccer matches, and taking advantage of Rio's rich and diverse arts culture. Events and activities are chosen to provide study abroad students with a good overview of the geographic, cultural, and economic diversity in Rio and coastal Brazil, and to complement the academic themes of each program.

Recommended Credit

Total recommended credit for the ILCP program is 6 semester/9 quarter hours and 90 contact hours.

Program Requirements

Students are required to enroll in Intensive Portuguese as a Second Language.

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 Maracanã 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

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.
Academic Program

Established in 2012, the Intensive Language and Culture study abroad program is based at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Rio de Janeiro. The program lasts approximately one month and includes 90 hours of intensive Portuguese language instruction offered at five different levels. The core academic content of the ILCP program is designed and delivered by PUC-Rio. Intensive Portuguese courses are available for students at all language levels, and students are placed in an intensive language class according to their ability as determined by a placement exam at the outset of the program.

Academic Culture

Brazilian universities tend to convey knowledge through different strategies and methods; innovation, design, participation, memorization, and expositive lectures are all 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.

Nature of Classes

Courses are taught by local PUC faculty with postgraduate degrees (M.Sc., M.A., and Ph.D.).

CIEE Community Language Commitment

Study abroad students take part in the CIEE community Language Committment by speaking Portuguese at all times (except in emergencies). This fosters a learning community that contributes to both Portuguese language proficiency and understanding of Brazilian society.

Grading System

Assessment for courses is typically based on a combination of written and oral assignments and a final paper or examination. The Brazilian grading scale goes from one to 10, with five being a passing grade and seven considered satisfactory in general. The CIEE Study Center in Brazil converts grades and credits to the U.S. system according to a predetermined scale.

Language of Instruction



All courses are taught by faculty from PUC-Rio.


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2021 11/27/2020 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.