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Harvard Summer Program - Re-imagining Brazil: Art, Literature, and Language, 29 May - 30 July 2016, Recife, Brazil

Publish Date: Sep 29, 2015

Deadline: Jan 28, 2016

Event Dates: from May 29, 2016 12:00 to Jul 30, 2016 12:00

This program will provide a sound academic experience and cross-disciplinary training for students who are interested in learning about the language and cultures of Brazil. It will supplement your linguistic and cultural knowledge with a special opportunity to immerse yourself in the Brazilian milieu and thus re-imagine, or re-create perspectives acquired in academic settings prior to seeing Brazil with your own eyes.

By taking advantage of the ideal setting of Recife in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, you will be enriched with a unique first-hand knowledge of Brazil that extends beyond the Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, or São Paulo already familiar to the typical language classroom. This eight-week program will also help you to expand your cultural and intellectual repertoire, by contributing to your personal growth as a global-minded individual and helping you gain a greater sense of self-reliance, as well as improving your ability to interact with other cultures. 

The course aims to provide you with cross-disciplinary themes that will enhance not only your language skills and literary knowledge, but also integrate them into the host society, and its peculiarities via homestays and service learning opportunities. 

The program is designed to maximize your experience through a six-hour daily combination of intensive instruction, workshops, volunteer work and lectures. On weekends, there will be performances and excursions to Olinda, Porto de Galinhas, Casa Gilberto Freyre, Manaus and the Amazon rain forest.

Course of study

In this intensive eight-week abroad program, students will experience life and culture in Recife, in the northeast of Brazil while attaining a critical understanding of Brazilian society through literature, art and immersion. This practical course will provide learners with essential language skills as well as the historical and cultural background necessary to contextualize various representations of Brazilian identity/identities through art and literature. To further supplement their linguistic and cultural studies, students will engage with local communities via content-based excursions, visits to NGOs, and service-learning opportunities. 

Course Objectives: 

  1. Experience the daily life and customs of Brazilian families and society 
  2. Introduce students to various aspects of Brazilian identity through art and art education 
  3. Enhance student language skills
  4. Familiarize learners with Brazilian issues of race and their connections to education, art, literature, and culture in general 
  5. Offer a deeper understanding of cultural and intellectual differences and similarities between the US and Brazil


Viviane Gontijo, PhD, Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University 


Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A detailed statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
    • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)

Program directors may request letters of recommendations and interviews. 

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.


There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The program cost includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Room, breakfast, and some dinners
  • Field trips and excursions

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from Recife, Brazil 
  • Independent excursions
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
  • Any immunizations

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.


You are placed in a homes with a local family—chosen by the experienced staff of ABA Global Education—for you to have the best chance to experience life in Brazil and speak Portuguese.

Additional information

Contact Dr. Viviane Gontijo, vivianegontijo@fas.harvard.edu.

Students with disabilities

Contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.

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