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With its delicious food, diverse population, and world-famous festivals, Brazil is an ideal place to immerse yourself in a new culture. By living with a host family and attending a local high school, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Brazilian daily life. This is your chance to step outside your comfort zone and rewrite your high school experience. Why not spend a year or semester swaying your hips to the Samba, enjoying churrasco (Brazilian barbeque), and forming lifelong bonds with family and friends?

Things to know about Brazil

You’ll notice that Portuguese sounds quite different from Spanish when spoken, but when written the two languages are actually very similar. Brazilians tend to be expressive; they usually talk and laugh loudly and touch each other during a conversation. You can expect to be kissed on the cheek up to three times when you meet someone or say goodbye. Fashion is a hobby for many Brazilians, so you’ll have the opportunity to check out new trends and add on to your wardrobe. You might also hear people talking with pride about the jetinho brasileiro, or the particular Brazilian way of finding creative solutions to everyday problems.

Eligibility Requirements

Current high school students and recent graduates are eligible. Specific age requirements may apply; contact AFS for more details.
Must be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.5 or above).

Your journey to Brazil

Your journey to study abroad in Brazil will begin in New York or Miami, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. You’ll attend an overnight orientation and get a crash course on Brazilian language and culture. Then you’ll travel as a group to São Paolo, where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.

Soon you’ll be ready to head to your new community. Along the way you might pass tropical rain forests or lively cities like Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the country’s modern capital. As you travel closer to your new home, you might hear the sounds of the Samba, Brazil’s most popular dance, or catch the scent of delicious street foods like grilled meat and fried pastries.

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Meeting your Brazilian Host Family

AFSers have lived all throughout the country (the fifth largest in the world), but you’ll most likely be in a suburban or urban area during your study abroad in Brazil.

Brazilians are generally open and affectionate. Families tend to be tight-knit, with grandparents and aunts and uncles close by. Many homes have backyard barbeques where friends and neighbors gather on weekends and holidays. Your host family might have a maid, which is more common in Brazil than in the US, but you can still expect to help out around the house.

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Settling into daily life

Teenage Life in Brazil

Dances and festivals are a common occurrence in Brazil, especially during Carnaval, the celebration leading up to Ash WednesdayParties often include Samba dancing, which is a mix of African rhythms and European-style singing. You might encounter other kinds of dance music like Pagode (similar to Samba), Axé (soul music), and Bossa Nova (a mix of Brazilian pop music and jazz). Don’t forget to check out Capoeira, which is an energetic mix of dancing and martial arts that is quickly gaining popularity worldwide. The most popular sport is futebol (soccer), particularly among teenagers. You’ll find that futebol has a lot of enthusiastic fans, especially since Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014. You might even get the chance to play in a pick-up soccer match called a pelada. (These games can last up to 24 hours!) Brazilians are very active, but many teenagers also enjoy watching telenovelas (primetime soap operas) and relaxing with their friends.

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Food you’ll encounter

Thanks to the country’s mix of cultures, food in Brazil is extremely diverse. Favorite dishes vary by region, but many include rice, beans, cheese, eggs, beef, and farofa or farinha (manioc flour made from cassava). In Rio de Janeiro, feijoada (black beans with beef, pork, sausage, and trimmings), is popular. Churrasco is Brazil’s take on the barbecue and offers a variety of juicy grilled meats. Bife à cavalo com fritas (meat with egg and french fries) is a favorite throughout the country. There are lots of different types of coffee, including café com leite (coffee with milk), which you can sip while enjoying breakfast. Another kind is cafezinho (black coffee), which is best appreciated during after-dinner conversations. Other common drinks are lemonade, fruit juices, and mate, a South American herbal tea.

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Your High School

The academic year in Brazil runs from February to December, with a 2 to 3 week winter vacation in July. You could be enrolled in either a private or public high school where you’ll likely attend classes in either the morning or afternoon. Morning classes typically begin at 7 am and end at 12 pm, while afternoon classes start at 1 pm and finish at 6 pm. With your free time you can learn first-hand about Brazilian culture by hanging out with friends and getting involved in community activities like sports or Portuguese language lessons.

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • Secondary medical coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people
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Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from study abroad in Brazil, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Brazil.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits.

Apply for High School Study Abroad in Brazil!

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