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Summer Portuguese Program in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Dates &
Click here to view
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Portuguese Program Type: Intensive Language 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.



  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate student
  • For students enrolling in Comprehensive Intermediate Portuguese, they must have completed Elementary Portuguese for Spanish-Speakers or Elementary Portuguese II, or equivalent
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

Course Description

All students enroll in the one of the following courses:

PORT W1120x: Comprehensive Elementary Portuguese. 4 points

A beginning course designed for students who wish to start their study of Portuguese. The four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing are developed at the basic level.  Students acquaint themselves with the Portuguese verbal, prepositional, and pronominal systems and characteristic forms and expressions of the language as it is spoken and written in Brazil today.

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 2016, 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 2016 (tentative)*
Arrival in Brazil June 25
Classes begin June 27
Classes end July 22
Program ends July 23


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 fourteen 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.


The Program Fees for Summer 2016 are in the process of being finalized.  The website will be updated with the Summer 2016 program fees in the near future.  

Tuition and Fees Summer 2015

The Program Fee covers tuition, course materials, housing, orientation, excursions, and cultural activities.  It does NOT cover airfare, visa fees, accident/medical insurance, meals and personal expenses. 
  • Program Fee         $7,000
  • Withdrawal Fee*    $75
  • Transcript Fee**    $105
*Required of any student who withdraws from program once registered 

**One-time fee for Visiting Students only
Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change. 
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. 

Estimated Expenses

The estimated expenses for Summer 2016 are in the process of being finalized.  The website will be updated with the Summer 2016 estimated expenses in the near future. 

The estimated expenses for Summer 2015, found below, are NOT paid to the program.  The estimated figures below are provided as a basis for students to determine their individual budgets.  

Roundtrip airfare NYC-Rio     ~$1400
Meals                                     ~$1000
Miscellaneous (i.e. local transportation, personal expenses, limited personal travel, etc.)     ~$700
Visa Fee     ~$250

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

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


Application deadline for Summer 2016: February 15, 2016

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 2016 02/15/2016 03/01/2016 06/25/2016 07/23/2016