Develop a higher level of Portuguese language fluency and deep appreciation for Brazilian life in one of the most beautiful and socio-politically fascinating cities on Earth: Rio de Janeiro. On our Winter Intensive Language and Culture program, you’ll take part in dynamic language study that emphasizes cultural literacy – and is based on your current language abilities. Cultural activities, excursions, and a homestay introduce you to exceptional artifacts of Brazilian culture. And that’s just the start.
Study abroad in Rio de Janeiro and you’ll:
- Enjoy the beautiful cultural epicenter of Latin America's largest and most dynamic country
- Take intensive language courses specifically designed for international students at Brazil's top university
- Immerse yourself in Brazilian academic and social life through homestays with local families and studies on a vibrant urban university campus
Scholarships & Grants
Scholarships & Grants
We want as many students as possible to benefit from studying abroad. That’s why CIEE awards more than $3 million every year – more than any other international educational organization – to make study abroad affordable.
Applicants to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:
To be considered, simply check the “Scholarships and Grants” box on your program application.
The CIEE Difference
The CIEE Difference
During our Intensive Portuguese as a Second Language course, you’ll work in pairs and groups, analyze texts, complete auditory exercises, and take part in activities that require you to solve tasks and navigate situations – a perfect environment for vastly improving your Portuguese language skills.
There’s no better way 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, where you share a room with another student in a Brazilian family home.
From special hikes in the countryside to music lessons in a local favela, you’ll get out and see the diversity and beauty that characterize Brazil – all while practicing your Portuguese. Trips vary depending on the year. You might spend a half-day learning about the history and daily life of those who call Rio’s famous hillside communities home. Explore the grandeur and splendor of Tijuca National Forest and Corcovado Mountain. Visit the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Attend a local soccer match, tour of the city of Rio, get guided visits to the city’s numerous national museums and historical neighborhoods, participate in Carnival activities, and more.
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
Dates, Deadlines & Fees
We want to make sure you get the most out of your experience when you study abroad with CIEE, which is why we offer the most inclusions in our fees.
The program fee includes:
- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits
Please note, program dates are subject to change. Please contact your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor before purchasing airfare. Click the
button to view more detailed information about dates and fees as well as estimated additional costs. Please talk with your University Study Abroad Advisor about additional fees that may be charged by your home institution when participating in a program abroad.
Winter 2015 (4 wks)
Program Date Notes
Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.
In addition to the items outlined below, the CIEE program fee includes an optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.
Participation Confirmation *
Educational Costs **
This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.
Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $340 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.
** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students
*** includes breakfast
Estimated Additional Costs
Meals not included in program fee
International Airfare *
Potential travel to consulate for visa
The estimated additional costs indicated are intended to assist students and parents in budgeting for those additional living and discretionary expenses not included in the program fee. Actual expenses will vary according to student interests and spending habits.
* round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure
** average cost
*** local government registration
- Overall GPA 2.75
- 1 semester of Portuguese or 2 semesters of Spanish
Total recommended credit for the ILCP program is 6 semester/9 quarter hours and 90 contact hours.
Students are required to enroll in Intensive Portuguese as a Second Language.
About the City
About The City
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's home to many universities, and the second largest center of research and development in Brazil.
Meet The Staff
Meet The Staff
Matt Ryan began his work with CIEE in 2003, working with incoming high school and university programs. In April of 2008 he joined the CIEE Brazil team in Salvador da Bahia where he has worked on everything from community service programs, cultural activities, local enrollment and advising for CIEE students. He has been instrumental in the conception and creation of the Rio study center and programs. Before joining CIEE in 2003, Matt lived in Rio de Janeiro teaching English both as a volunteer and for a local school. He is originally from Rochester, New York and graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a B.A. in Sociology.
Landing by airplane, visitors to Rio de Janeiro are immediately captivated by the city’s stunning landscape. Few places in the world can offer the dramatic natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro: golden beaches, stunning granite mountains, and green tropical forest all set together within a modern metropolis of almost eight million people. Its natural beauty is what has always attracted so many people to Rio de Janeiro, but it is the people, their inexhaustible joie de vivre, and their rich cultural history that inevitably stays with those who have had the pleasure of knowing the city. Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of adding another exciting chapter to its rich 500 year history by making monumental strides in confronting the complex social issues that developed in the city during the 20th century. The city is being a looked to by much of the developing world as a model for social and economical development.
CIEE`s Language and Culture program offers students an opportunity not only to study in a spectacular cultural and historic environment but also to study and learn Portuguese at one of Brazil’s most prestigious private universities, PUC Rio. With the 2014 World Cup Finals and the 2016 Olympics steadily approaching, the Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro) are anxiously awaiting and preparing to show the rest of the world why their city has long earned its nickname as the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa.’
Matt Ryan - Resident Administrative Director
Fernanda Gray was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. While studying International Relations, she went to the US as an exchange student and the experience changed her life. After 11 years of studying and working in Washington state she decided to return to her roots in Rio. As resident coordinator, Fernanda administers homestays and helps to create and organize activities for CIEE students. She loves hiking, biking, going on long walks and spending time on the beach as well as visual arts and live music. For Fernanda, moving back to Rio was essential to enjoying her hobbies and an outdoor life style.
With a doctorate from Stanford University in German Studies, Sean McIntyre, Ph.D., subsequently taught freshman humanities at Stanford from 2003 to 2006 and Brazilian Portuguese from 2006 to 2007 as a visiting lecturer. Sean was also active as a research associate at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, from 2008 to 2013. Since 2006 Sean has taught Brazilian Portuguese and undergraduate general humanities courses at several colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in 2007 he received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship to study Brazilian literature at the University of São Paulo-Campinas (UNICAMP) and to develop a university-level Brazilian literature course. In 2011 Sean moved to Rio de Janeiro where he teaches Portuguese and continues to edit scholarly manuscripts and translate for museum exhibits and literary and theatrical productions.
Adams Souza is a proud Carioca and recent graduate of international studies at PUC-Rio. Adams assists students in getting to know the ins and outs of student life at PUC and ESPM both on a social and academic level. Adams will be instrumental in creating community engagement opportunities and cultural activities for CIEE students. Adams loves cinema, theatre, playing volleyball on the beach, and hiking.
Where You'll Study
Where You'll Study
The Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is a private, nonprofit 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 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
Housing & Meals
Students have the choice of two housing options, and breakfast is included with both.
- Family Homestays—Sharing in the life of a family through a homestay provides an excellent opportunity for interested students to deconstruct stereotypes and observe real life in action. It also creates opportunities for dialogue about issues raised in their courses and to practice their Portuguese language skills. Students can access the CIEE Study Center and campus(es) via public transportation.
- 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.
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.
You'll begin your study abroad experience in Rio de Janeiro even before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. The resident director meets with students online and shares information about the program and site, highlighting issues that alumni have said are important, and giving you time to ask questions. The online orientation allows you to connect with others in the group, reflect on what you want to get out of the program, and learn what others in the group would like to accomplish. CIEE’s aim for the pre-departure orientation is simple: to help you understand more about the program and identify your goals.
Upon arrival in Rio, you will partake in a two-day orientation session that will introduce you to Rio de Janeiro, PUC, Brazilian culture, and the academic program. The first day of orientation will include specially-designed sessions on health and safety, local living logistics, community engagement opportunities, as well as activities designed to get to know the city. The following day, you will reconvene at PUC for the university’s international student orientation. You will learn about available courses, add-drop periods, meet other Brazilian students, and have the second part of your placement evaluation, an oral exam. Rest assured that after the orientation process you will be ready to begin classes and live in Rio de Janeiro.
You are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Many host families have Internet access in their homes in some form, but this is not a guaranteed feature of homestays. You will have access to the Internet (wireless and broadband) in computer labs at PUC-Rio and at Internet cafés, often called LAN houses, throughout the city. Internet reliability and access is not always available at the same level as in the U.S.; however, Brazil enjoys an advanced telecommunications infrastructure and major cities typically provide for ubiquitous access.
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.
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 Commitment 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.
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.
Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
CIEE Study Center Syllabi
To view the most recent syllabi for courses taught by CIEE at our Study Centers, visit our syllabi site.
Required PUC Rio Portuguese Language Courses
Portuguese as a Second Language
The Portuguese as a Second Language intensive courses will be offered twice a year prior to each semester as part of the ILCP program. Students who take the intensive course will receive a certificate of completion with the final grade achieved at the end of the month. The program is a pre-requisite for students participating in subsequent semester programs in Rio de Janeiro, but may be taken as a stand- alone program. Most students with beginning Portuguese skills or average Spanish fluency are able to attend regular courses in Portuguese at PUC-Rio after taking the intensive pre-term Portuguese as a Second Language course. The student-centered methodology is active, participatory, and prioritizes work in pairs and groups, as well as activities requiring students to solve tasks and navigate situations. Mistakes are part of the learning process and the course methodology encourages students to self-correct and correct their peers as a precursor to correction by the teacher. Classes are based on a core text with supporting audio and visual materials. Courses included a mix of practical activities, lectures, auditory exercises, and reading and analysis of texts and business documents. Courses are offered for the following levels. Level I – Beginner; Level II - Intermediate I; Level III - Intermediate II. Contact hours: 90. Recommended credit: 6 semester/9 quarter hours. Level IV - Advanced I; Level V - Advanced II. Contact hours: 90. Recommended credit: 4 semester / 6 quarter hours.