Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Business, Economics + Culture

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Information for term Business, Economics + Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

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Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jul 5 – Dec 15, 2017 (24 weeks)
  • Credit: 18 - 20 semester hours / 27 - 30 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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On CIEE’s Business, Economics and Culture program you’ll see firsthand how preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics reshaped the country’s economy as it prepared to take the world stage. Improve your Portuguese by leaps and bounds, take a variety of courses from econometrics to marketing at a local university, and get to know the culture by living with a local family and going on tours of local businesses.

Study abroad in Rio de Janeiro and you'll:

  • Study with a local institute with respected academic departments of business administration that have strong ties to the marketing and business sectors and centers of economic policy
  • Live in a vibrant city and business center that’s home to Brazil’s telecommunications giant, Globo, as well as the headquarters of other major Brazilian and international companies
  • Visit various points of interest around the city and country, and volunteer throughout the greater Rio area

Location & Culture

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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.

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 Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM) was founded in Sao Paulo in 1951 as a small private institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, and now boasts four campuses in Brazil. ESPM is recognized by the Ministry of Education and accredited internationally by the Executive MBA Council, and in Brazil by the National MBA Association (ANAMBA). The school offers undergraduate degree programs in business administration, social communication (marketing, advertising and public relations), design, journalism, and international relations.

The Rio de Janeiro campus is modern, centrally located in Rio’s financial “Centro” neighborhood, and easily accessible via public transportation including the Rio Metro. ESPM courses are designed for Brazilian students who are required to graduate with a highly internationalized business student profile. The Rio campus has a special emphasis on marketing, media and entertainment sectors.

The Culture


Community engagement is an important cultural and educational component of this program, and Rio de Janeiro has a rich culture of volunteerism and community service. As part of the program, CIEE staff will arrange individual and group community engagement activities with various organizations and communities throughout the greater Rio area. Projects with local NGOs, schools, and other organizations give you a firsthand look at the challenges facing Rio and its surrounding areas.

As a group you’ll work with a local, small-scale entrepreneurship project in a local underprivileged community. The group will use their business education background and creativity to assist a local group in their effort to achieve goals related to income generation and community development.

In addition to the group volunteer project, the CIEE study center will host English lessons by CIEE business students to adolescents and young adults that are interested in business careers or entrepreneurship. English is increasingly important in a global interdependent world on all levels of business negotiations. English lessons suited to business and economic themes will provide a valuable service to local Brazilians who couldn`t normally afford it. In addition, you will have a chance to meet and interact with aspiring workers and entrepreneurs while honing your public speaking skills, increasing your cultural exposure, and developing new friendships.

Community engagement and service activities will the learning goals of the program (i.e., micro- and small-business development, local community income generation, and larger economic development projects). While these activities will be optional, they will be included in the program fee in order to foster higher levels of participation. Where possible, activities will be linked to the subject matter of students’ classes.


The academic program is supplemented by field trips and excursions to various points of interest around Rio and Brazil and may include visits to sites of historic and cultural importance to Rio and its environs. These activities, which vary each semester 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, participating in Carnival activities, and taking advantage of Rio’s rich and diverse arts culture.

You’ll benefit from local field-based activities including faculty led visits to local businesses and company headquarters. Rio de Janeiro is home to the headquarters of Brazil’s three largest companies: Petrobras, BR Distribuidora, and Telemar. Site visits to company headquarters or production centers in the Rio de Janeiro area will allow you to get an inside look at commercial processes in Brazil, and to gain a firsthand look at the vitality of global interdependency from a perspective outside of the U.S. You will also spend a morning visiting the American Chamber of Commerce Rio de Janeiro chapter learning about how the chamber advocates for American business interests and investment in Brazil. In addition, CIEE will organize an academic day trip to Macãe, once a sleepy village and now an offshore oil boomtown on the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro State where 4,000 companies have been established and Brazil has teamed up with Chinese investors to build the largest port in the world.

In addition to these shorter and local co-curricular activities, there will be one overnight excursion each semester to Sao Paulo, the largest city and economic capital of Brazil and the Americas and the sixth largest city in the world by population. In addition to a guided tour of the city, you will make a special visit to the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, the world’s second largest stock market in terms of market value, and have plenty of free time to explore Sao Paulo’s famous night life, culinary wonders, and unique urban setting. One or two company visits will be integrated into the excursion, as will opportunities to network, interact, and share experiences with CIEE and other business and economics students in Sao Paulo.

A rising middle class, together with the international spotlight and investment, are creating a fertile landscape for innovative entrepreneurial undertakings throughout the city. The CIEE Study Center will host activities that will include local micro-entrepreneurs and experts to share their experience and encourage discussion. The panorama of trips, events, and activities will be chosen to provide you with a good overview of the geographic, cultural, and economic diversity in Rio and coastal Brazil, and to complement the academic themes of the study abroad program.

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What you need to know

The program details

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 at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) for 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, homestays 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 study abroad students will enroll in a 23-week extended academic term. Instruction for all classes is in Portuguese. CIEE students will study alongside local ESPM 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 Business and Economics fields in 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 communication tools and skills.


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In Brazil you’ll have access to a full curriculum through direct enrollment at Escola Superior de Propaganda e-Marketing (ESPM-Rio), one of the country’s most recognized universities in Business Administration, Economics, Publicity and Marketing. An extensive list of elective content courses is offered through ESPM’s Schools of Business Administration.

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.

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 semester credits / 9 quarter hours) and 60 contact hours (4 semester credits / 6 quarter hours) at the Advanced level. Most regular university content courses at ESPM are 60-68 contact hours and recommended credit is for 4 semester credits / 6 quarter hours or 34 contact hours and 2 semester / 3.5 quarter credit hours per course.

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Scholarships & Grants

In 2016, we awarded over 1,000 scholarships totaling more than $5 million, helping more students get on planes and live their dreams in faraway places than any other organization. This year's no different. In fact, every year we give this unrivaled amount of funding, because we’re on a mission to help YOU go abroad, too! Explore your options today.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

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Dates, Deadlines & Fees

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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


  • Overall GPA 2.5
  • 2 semesters of Portuguese or 4 semesters of Spanish ( or equivalent)
  • 1 semester business or 1 semester economics required

Program Requirements

The program requires all students to enroll in:

  • 6 credits – Intensive Portuguese Language in the pre-semester ILCP
  • 4 credits – Portuguese as a Second Language course during the semester
  • 8-14 credits – two direct enrollment courses (2 or 4 credits each) instructed in Portuguese during the semester

Academic year students, and students continuing from one CIEE study abroad program in Brazil to another for the academic year, are not required to repeat the ILCP 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.

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