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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Portuguese Program Type: Columbia Administered Program
Program Advisor:
Jillian Burdziak: Eligibility - Home School: Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Graduate Students, Columbia SEAS, Visiting Students - Graduate, Visiting Students - Undergraduate
Program Features: Intensive Language Program Summer Program: Columbia Summer Program
Discipline: Foreign Language Learning
Program Description:
Program Overview
BrazilThis summer program offers intensive training in Portuguese for motivated undergraduate and graduate students. The program is based at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC-Rio), pronounced 'pookie', a wooded campus located in the Gavea district of Rio.  Courses are taught by the PUC-Rio language instructors and faculty from Columbia.  All students participate in a Community Involvement Project which facilitates interactions with local people and provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen language proficiency while gaining insight into Brazilian culture and society. Students live in shared apartments in neighborhoods near the university.

  A flyer for the program can be found here: Rio Program Flyer Summer 2016


  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student
  • Students must have completed Elementary Portuguese for Spanish-Speakers or Elementary Portuguese II, or equivalent
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum 3.0 average GPA in Portuguese language courses

Course Description

All students enroll in the following course:

PORT W1220x.  Comprehensive Intermediate Portuguese.  4 points

Prerequisites: PORT W1102 or PORT W1320. 

This course will foster intensive practice in reading and composition based on short literary and journalistic texts.  Discussions will focus on contemporary issues based on articles from Lusophone newspapers and magazines.  Students will review grammar, expand their vocabulary and improve oral expression, writing and reading skills.  Students will also be exposed to audio-visual material that will deepen their understanding of Lusophone societies and culture. 

Community Involvement Project

As part of the language program, all students will participate in a Community Involvement Project which will engage with the local Carioca community through Samba classes, Capoeira classes or volunteer work with the NGO Criança Esperança.  Two students were interviewed by Globo News about their experience. 

Outside of the classroom, there will be various field trips associated with the class that take advantage of the cultural and social resources of Rio.  Students will also attend a lecture series given by PUC faculty on various topics in Brazilian history, economy, politics, arts and culture.


There will be course-related excursions, guest lecturers, and cultural activities are organized to provide opportunities for students to strengthen their language skills and deepen their understanding of Brazilian language, history, and culture. 

Student Experiences

"Traveling to Rio de Janiero the summer after my first year was perhaps one of the most formative experiences of my time here at Columbia.  Beyond allowing me to refine my Portuguese through six weeks of near-complete immersion, the program step by step opened up an entire world for me to explore, enjoy, and engage with critically.  From traveling to the interior with only our crude directional skills to guide us, to gathering the courage to hang glide across the Rio skyline, there was hardly ever a moment in which I felt myself to be desirous of more."  -Virgilio Urbina Lazardi, Columbia '15


For Summer 2017, please see a tentative schedule of dates below.  Please DO NOT book travel until you have been accepted to the program and the dates are finalized. 

Summer 2017 (tentative)*
Arrival in Brazil July 1
Classes begin July 3
Classes end July 28
Program ends July 29


José Antonio Castellanos-Pazos is the Director of the Rio program.  He has been a lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese since 1998.  At Columbia he has taught Spanish and Portuguese language courses.  His main interest is teaching Portuguese to speakers of other Romance languages, mainly Spanish.  For the past fifteen years he has been developing materials for the teaching of Portuguese for Spanish Speakers. 

He received his M.A. in Latin American Literature from SUNY at Albany in 1995 and his M.Phil. from NYU in 2005, with a proposal for a dissertation on the rhetoric of the secret in the fiction of Mexican writers associated with the Revista Moderna at the end of the 19th century. 

The language courses will by taught by Columbia and PUC faculty. 

Contact José Antonio Castellanos-Pazos:

Housing & Meals

Students live on their own in shared, furnished apartments in Ipanema, Copacabana, and Arpoador which are neighborhoods in the Zona Sul close to PUC-Rio, the Lagoa and the beaches.  Students can cook for themselves, as well as eat in the many local restaurants and at the PUC cafeterias. 

The City

Rio de Janeiro, Ciadade Maravillosa.  With spectacular natural beauty and a diverse, cosmopolitan population, Rio is a city with many faces and something to offer for everyone.  Its population of more than 6 million cariocas has immigrant roots from across the globe: European, Africa, Latin American, and Asian, all mixed together to form a culture uniquely Brazilian.  As a city of contrasts, Rio is both an accessible city of neighborhoods and a place that one never tires of exploring.


Program Fees Summer 2016

Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustees approval and may change.


Billable expenses are costs that WILL BE billed by Columbia. Students will either be billed online through e-bill or will need to pay the Office of Global Programs directly for all of these expenses. 
Program Fee* $7000
Transcript Fee** $105
Withdrawal Fee*** $75

* Covers tuition, course materials, orientation, excursions, cultural activities, and $640 housing fee. Does NOT cover airfare, visa fees, medical insurance, meals, and personal travel and expenses.

**One-time fee for Visiting Students only. Barnard students may be charged this fee if they have never taken a course at Columbia.

*** A withdrawal fee of $75 is required of any student who withdraws from the program once they have registered. Students who withdraw may also be responsible for a portion of tuition and housing, depending on the withdrawal date. 


Estimated expenses are costs NOT billed by Columbia. The estimated figures in this section provide a basis for students to determine their individual budgets. These expenses are NOT paid to the program.
Roundtrip airfare NYC - Rio de Janeiro $1400
Meals $1500
Miscellaneous (local transportation, personal expenses, limited personal travel, etc.) $1050
Visa Fee $200

*Please note that all students must have health insurance which covers them overseas.

Graduate Students

Columbia PhD students who wish to use the summer tuition credit must apply directly to GSAS. The instructions and guidelines for this award can be found at the following website:
If there is a comprehensive Program Fee that covers both tuition and housing, please note that you will be responsible for paying out of pocket the portion that is attributed to housing. The summer tuition credit only covers tuition and not housing. 

Graduate students from other schools should check with their home schools and their departments for funding. 

Summer Language Fellowship for International Students
The Summer Language Fellowship for International Students supports international Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences who need to study a foreign language (applies to all languages) abroad during the summer. GSAS will endow summer fellowships with a maximum award of $3,000. Students can apply online ( and the deadline is March 4, 2016. Contact with questions.


Financial Aid and Funding

If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to your study abroad. 

Scholarships Other resources

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

A student in good academic standing who is not subject to discipline may be permitted to withdraw at any time. Withdrawal is defined as the dropping of one's entire program in a given term as opposed to dropping a portion of one's program.

Any student must notify the Resident Director in writing; failure to attend classes or notification of instructors does not constitute formal withdrawal and will result in failing grades in all courses.

Any adjustment of paid tuition is calculated from the date on which the Resident Director of receives the student's written notification (see Refund Schedule below). Only a percentage of the tuition will be refunded.

Only tuition is refunded. Fees (application, transcript, housing, etc.) are never refunded, either in full or in part. All students who withdraw will be charged a $75.00 withdrawal fee.

Tuition Refund Schedule
Withdrawals processed will be refunded
1st week 100%
2nd week 50%
After 2nd week 0%


Application deadline for Summer 2017: March 1, 2017

How to apply:
The online application generally includes the following:
  • Online Application
  • Official Transcript
  • Recommendation (Preference for Language Faculty)
  • Study Abroad Approval Form/Clearance for undergraduates, if applicable
  • Application fee, if applicable

Contact Information

Office of Global Programs
606 Kent Hall
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027
Fax: 212-854-5164

Columbia Dates & Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline/Columbia Clearance Deadline Decision Date & Deadline Note Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 03/01/2017 03/15/2017 TBA TBA