Semester — Spring 2020
Semester — Fall 2020
Year — Spring 2020
Year — Fall 2020
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?
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.
Your journey 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.
AFSers have lived all throughout Brazil (which is the fifth largest country in the world), but you’ll most likely be in a suburban or urban area.
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.See where past AFSers have lived
Dances and festivals are a common occurrence in Brazil, especially during Carnaval, the celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday. Parties 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.
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.
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.
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.