Life in Brazil

When greeting people, be sure to shake hands with all the guys and kiss each female member of the group on one or both cheeks depending on the region. If you don't do this you may appear rude or shy.Benjamin from ME, Year Program
Brazilians tend to open their hearts to you so much; you need to make sure not to break it. They are overprotective, sensitive, emotional, rational, and never give up. They are complex and simple people all at once.Cinthia from TX, Year Program
Family meals, gatherings, and parties are not to be missed. Brazilians are very neat, clean and organized people, and will expect the same from you.Cinthia from TX, Year Program
Families in Brazil are very close so if there is tension with a host sibling or host parent try to control your anger. Handle things in mature way by having a family meeting and just say how you feel and consider the things your host family has to say to you.Rachel from CA, Year Program
Brazil is far more family-oriented than the US. I found school was more of an activity than a commitment.Carl from NY, Year Program
The style of living is much more relaxed but I found that to be a good thing. There's very little stress in day to day life.Lisa from WA, Year Program
Put a bit of extra effort towards school, especially in the beginning because I think I learned most of my Portuguese in classes with reading.Shannon from MT, Year Program

The Essentials

Language Requirements

Applicants to the Semester and Year High School Program in Brazil are expected to enroll in an online language course and study independently prior to departure and while on program. The mandatory online course will be organized and monitored by AFS Brazil who will email registration and login instructions to each student approximately 2 months prior to the start of the program.  AFS Brazil considers the 40 hour course mandatory as pre-departure preparation. 

Digging Deeper

Language Resources (see Language Requirements)
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • Wasteland (2010)
  • Salt of the Earth (2015)
  • Moro no Brasil (2006)
  • A Batalha do Passinho (2012)
  • 2 Filhos de Francisco (2005)
  • Se Eu Fosse Voce (2006)
  • Deus É Brasileiro (2003)
  • O Caminho das Nuvens (2004)
  • Cidade de Deus (2002)
  • Cinzas do Norte
  • A hora da estrela 
  • The Capital of Hope: Brasília and Its People
  • Se Eu Fechar Os Olhos Agora
  • The Alchemist
  • The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics
  • Memorias Posthumas de Braz Cubas 
  • Captains of the Sands
  • Marina Silva: Defending Rainforest Communities
  • My Life and the Beautiful Game
  • Travelers' Tales Brazil
  • How to Be a Carioca
  • Vidas Secas
  • Macunaíma
  • Grande Sertão: Veredas
  • Dom Casmurro
  • A Concise History of Brazil
  • The Food and Cooking of Brazil: Traditions, Ingredients, Tastes, and Techniques
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.