Duke in Brazil



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Offered only on the Duke in Brazil program, the signature four-week immersion course is designed to provide intensive Portuguese language instruction while exposing you to the reality of social and environmental issues in Rio de Janeiro.

You will interact with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that engage on issues of civics, citizen’s rights, culture, and sustainable development. By living with host families, meeting local students, and participating in several excursions of cultural significance, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of cultural and social activism in Brazil.


Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Paraty, Brazil

Term: Summer II

Dates: June 30, 2024 - July 28, 2024

Application Deadline: February 1

Academic Theme(s): Portuguese Language, Brazilian Culture

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: Open to all majors and applicants from accredited colleges and universities. Applicants should have completed one of the following levels of Portuguese by the start of the program: Portuguese 102 (Elementary Portuguese II), Portuguese 112 (Accelerated Portuguese), or Portuguese 204 (Advanced Intermediate Portuguese)

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by Duke’s Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Homestay Families

Primary Contact: Magda Silva 

  • Rio de Janeiro

  • At NGO Solar Meninos de Luz

  • Biblioteca Lusitana in Rio de Janeiro

  • Buying fruit at market

  • Students at Market in Ipanema

  • Favela Morro do Alemao in Rio de Janeiro

  • Learning Capoeira

  • Pao de Acucar

  • Supporting the Brazilian soccer team

  • Taking the subway in Rio de Janeiro


You will enroll in one Portuguese language course worth one Duke course credit. This four-week immersion course is offered only on the Duke in Brazil program.



Intensive Brazilian Portuguese  

FL, CCI, CZ 1.0 Credit
Instructor: Magda Silva

Prerequisite: One of the following courses: PORTUGUESE 102, PORTUGUESE 112, or PORTUGUESE 204

This course covers the intermediate language curriculum, developing aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills. It provides grammar practice and development of effective strategies for oral communication done in conjunction with intensive cultural program activities and excursions.

The course content offers strong and intensive civics, social, cultural, and environmental components. All afternoon activities and excursions will be centered around visits to NGOs that engage in all of these issues.

Advanced Colloquial Portuguese
CCI, FL, W 1.0 Credit
Instructor: Magda Silva

Prerequisite: PORTUGUE 204 or instructor approval

Study of colloquial Portuguese as a catalyst of popular culture; sayings, expressions, and proverbs. Emphasis on oral communication. We will do an examination of the factors that have had a cultural impact in the Portuguese language involving religion, gender, politics, or ethnicity. We will study such things as everyday talk; illiteracy and identity; stories, legends; comedy, poetry, music, advertisements, the influence of English in the Portuguese language; the machismo in the everyday vocabulary. How these linguistic/cultural phenomena both represent and complicate our notions of cultural norms in the learning of the Portuguese language.


Classes meet M-F in the morning at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with afternoon activities and excursions.

Weeks 1 and 2: During the first two weeks, we will focus on social issues and visit NGOs that engage on civics, citizen’s rights, and cultural aspects; and we will investigate how and why these are missing in the overall Brazilian public educational system.

Weeks 3 and 4: During the second two weeks, we will focus on environmental issues by visiting NGOs that contribute to sustainable development and social and civics inclusion. 



In addition to visits to local NGOs, you will have an opportunity to explore the surrounding area and learn about local culture through excursions to museums, a samba house in Lapa, historical downtown Rio, an Umbanda temple, Escadaria Selarón, Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, Ipanema beach, local markets, and the Maracanã soccer stadium.


You will stay with carefully selected local homestay families in Rio, who will help enrich your linguistic and cultural experience. The host families will provide two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) and basic home necessities like a bedroom, internet, and kitchen access if needed. You will be responsible for your own lunch.


These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2024

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $2,840 $2,840
Program Fee $6,250 $6,250
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $11,400 $11,520

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted

  • Arrival: June 30, 2024
  • Departure: July 28, 2024


Classes will be held in the mornings five days a week (M-F). Field trips and cultural events will take place during the afternoons and/or the weekends. A detailed itinerary will be provided prior to departure.


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyExperiential to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.



Starting in January, citizens of the United States, Australia and Canada will need a visit visa (VIVIS) to travel to Brazil.  Visa applications will be available via an online E-visa system. Please check with the program manager if you have questions about the visa process.  Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the Brazilian embassy or consulate.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.


An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is required for this program. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. Please order your card well in advance of your departure.


The Duke in Brazil program director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the GEO representative listed.

Magda Silva

Senior Lecturer of Romance Languages


Deadline: February 1

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. Application opens November 1.

PriorityPriority is given to applicants who apply early and meet the prerequisites.

Eligibility: Applicants should have completed one of the following levels of Portuguese by the start of the program: Portuguese 102 (Elementary Portuguese II), Portuguese 112 (Accelerated Portuguese), or Portuguese 204 (Advanced Intermediate Portuguese).

Minimum GPA: There is no minimum GPA.

Non-Duke students: Non-Duke students are welcome to apply to this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.

Late applicants: After the published deadline, qualified applicants will be considered on a space-available basis.


Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd:

  1. Online application
  2. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate
  4. GEO Language Questionnaire
  5. Language recommendation


Connecting with Community on Duke in Brazil

The summer between her sophomore and junior year, Setonji Agosa '18 studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro with Duke in Brazil. She explains how improving her conversational Portuguese skills allowed her to immerse herself fully in the dynamic geography, slang, food, and traditions of Brazil. 

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Perspectives on activism in Brazil

"This experience has also furthered my desire to work with community-level organizations on issues of health access after graduation."

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