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Fact Sheet:
Advisor: Courtney Pollack Advising Required: No
Language Pre-requisite: none Minimum GPA: 3
Class Level Required for Admission: Second-semester Sophomore standing Non-AU Students Accepted by AU: No
Language of Instruction: English, Portuguese Language Courses Offered: Yes
Housing: Shared Apt. Internship: No
Program Type: Partial Direct Enrollment
Program Description:

Is this Program Right for You?

This program is for students who want to step out of their comfort zone and come to understand Brazil from a local perspective. The basic curriculum is a combination of Portuguese language courses and electives taught in English, but intermediate and advanced students may opt for full immersion by taking direct enroll courses in Portuguese alongside Brazilian peers. Excursions provide insider’s access, allowing students to engage with Brazilian society as actors, not spectators. Students of all Portuguese language levels and majors are welcome.


Students earn a full semester of American University (AU) credit.   Students in the program are required to enroll in a total of five courses, including one required course. There is no language prerequisite for the program.

Required Courses

Students on the program take five courses for a total of 15 credits for the semester, with two required classes.  All students on the program are required to take the following courses:

Elective Courses

All students take two electives.  Academic disciplines include: economics, political science, development studies, sociology. Electives are taught in English. Intermediate and advanced students may choose to swap their electives for direct enroll courses—courses taken in Portuguese at the host institution alongside Brazilian peers.

Electives taught in English include Brazilian Politics & Society, Economics & Development in Brazil, and Current Social Issues in Brazil.  See the CET website for Academic Course Options and Syllabi.

Intermediate and advanced students in Portuguese can take at least one and up to three direct enroll electives taught in Portuguese.  Sample direct enroll electives include: History of Brazilian Businesses; America, Americas: Social Movements, Diversities and Identity; Brazilian Foreign Policy; International Humanitarian Law and Rights of the Refugee; The Uncertain Future of International Negotiations on the Environment; Territorial Dynamics of Culture and Power Relations.

Student Life

Life in São Paulo

São Paulo is not only Brazil’s largest city but also one of its most vibrant. As the country’s financial center, São Paulo is rich with thriving businesses, an effervescent arts scene, top notch educational institutions and wonderful recreational outlets (including access to gorgeous beaches). The city also reflects Brazil’s recent social vivacity, as it is home to myriad political organizations ranging from grassroots, neighborhood operations to well-established NGOs. The CET program takes advantage of all that São Paulo has to offer, and students soon find their niche. They chat with shop owners in the bohemian neighborhood of Vila Madalena. They practice their bargaining skills at Liberdade’s famous artisan fair. They explore the Museu do Futebol (Soccer Museum). And spring students join in the not-to-be-missed celebration of carnaval.

Tall buildings in Sao Paulo

Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo

Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP) is a private Catholic university with 16,000 students, and one of the most highly respected universities in Brazil. The University is located in the Perdizes neighborhood, which boasts easy-access public transportation, plentiful cheap eats, a lively nightlife and an active student population.

Housing & Meals

Students share apartments with local roommates. Apartments are an easy commute to campus.   For meals, some students cook for themselves. Others explore the city’s many inexpensive restaurants and eateries.  CET students share their apartments with Brazilian roommates, an arrangement that provides students an instant overseas community.  Roommates are selected by CET for their enthusiasm and commitment to cultural exchange. Local roommates provide the inside scoop on the city, from the best futebol (soccer) team to root for, to the fastest way to get to the beach, to the bakery with the tastiest pão de queijo (cheese bread, shaped like donut holes). Many students and roommates become fast friends and explore São Paulo together—navigating the markets, hiking Ibirapuera Park, and hanging out in the neighborhood boteco (corner bar).

Excursions and Activities

The program encourages students to get out the door and uncover São Paulo. Sometimes, the program takes students to places they might have a hard time visiting on their own. Students might: Head to Embu das Artes, a nearby town ripe with artisan markets, eateries and musical outlets; visit the Museu Afro Brasil (Museum of African Culture) and explore myriad exhibits that highlight African history culture in Brazil;  Journey to Campos de Jordão, the “Brazilian Switzerland.” Students can take in the gorgeous scenery, ride a cable car to a mountain top, or visit a chocolate factory.

Traveling Seminar

On their weeklong traveling seminar, CET Brazil students journey to Salvador da Bahia, a former port of entry for many of Brazil’s slaves. This northeastern city still maintains a strong African cultural presence—food, art, dance, music—and is the perfect location to examine the African roots of Brazilian culture.

Colorful streets of Salvador de Bahia

Overnight Academic Excursion

CET Brazil takes students on a weekend trip to Paraty, a colonial city in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Students have the opportunity to meet with locals, tour colonial sites and monuments, hike a waterfall, and visit local beaches via schooner.

  • Portuguese language classes - required
    All students enroll in Portuguese language classes.   The Beginning Portuguese or Portuguese for Spanish Speakers class will be worth 6 credits. Intermediate Portuguese or Advanced Portuguese will be worth 3 credits.
  • Poverty & Inequality in 21st Century Brazil - 3 credits
    The course includes a weekend excursion to Itapevi, where students stay with local families and learn about the daily life of people who live in economically depressed communities.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2018 09/26/2017
Varies by program 02/01/2018 06/07/2018
NOTE: Program dates are estimates. Do not finalize travel arrangements until exact dates are given by program.
Academic Year 2018-2019 03/08/2018
Varies by program 08/01/2018 06/08/2019
Fall 2018 03/08/2018
Varies by program 08/01/2018 11/30/2018
Spring 2019 10/12/2018 ** Varies by program 02/01/2019 06/07/2019
NOTE: Program dates are estimates. Do not finalize travel arrangements until exact dates are given by program.

** The time it takes to receive an admissions decision varies greatly by program; it can take as little as two weeks or as long as several months. Contact AU Abroad for further details on your program's admissions timeline.

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