Popular and Afro-Brazilian Culture

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Application Deadline


Program Start


Program End


Partner University

Mackenzie Presbyterian University


  • Sao Paulo

Program Term

  • Summer

Language of Instruction


Exchange Program


Program Details

Program Advisor



Popular and Afro-Brazilian Culture in Brazil


Program Information | Requirements | Academics | On-site Support | Housing | Cost Estimates | Resources

Program Information

UAlbany's summer program at in Brazil gives students the opportunity to travel to 3 different cities – Salvador, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero – while learning about the African influence on Brazil, popular culture, and the Portuguese language!  
Through a variety of hands-on activities, workshops (for example, an Olodum drum workshop), in-depth lectures, and excursions to NGO’s, museums, fairs, and of course Christ the Redeemer (just to name a few!), students will gain a deep understanding of the Brazilian lifestyle and of the great influence of African culture on everyday life. As much a part of the program, the cultural exploration of Brazil will give students an intimate understanding of the national culture and how these places and people interact with local culture.
From the time of its colonization, Brazil has had more influence from Africa than arguably and other country in the Americas. During the Atlantic slave trade, Brazil (by way of the Portuguese) imported more African slaves than any other country. By the time slavery was abolished in Brazil, an estimated five million slaves had been imported from Africa to Brazil, 40% of the total number of slaves brought to the Americas; more than two million slaves came through Rio alone, more than five times the number brought to the U.S. Today, this has contributed to Brazil having the largest population of peoples of African descent, outside of Nigeria.
In this sphere, African influence has been a defining force behind Brazilian culture. From dance and music to culinary and religious traditions, Afro Brazilians have hugely influenced popular Brazilian culture. However a troubled history rooted in slaver – Brazil was the last country in the world to abolish slavery, 1888 – and continued through pigmentocracy and racially driven economic disparity, Afro Brazilians have had an inequitable relationship with ‘white’ Brazilian society. This program aims to provide learners with an experience to better understand African influence on Brazil, and the ongoing struggle for afro-descendent Brazilians. 

Many courses will take place at Mackenzie Presbyterian University in Sao Paulo. Founded in 1870, Mackenzie Presbyterian University is one of Brazil’s oldest and most prestigious universities. Located in heart of São Paulo (in the iconic district of Consolação), Mackenzie offers students not only the ideal academic setting, but also the optimal environment to become familiar with the vibrant culture of Brazil.  Mackenzie's campus is located just minutes away from the famous Avenida Paulista (the city’s financial district), and is surrounded by some of the city’s finest restaurants, clubs and cafes.

Program flyer:  Brazil Summer.pdf

In Pictures:  Downtown São Paulo

Our summer program is open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors. Exceptional Freshman will be considered.
A 2.5 GPA minimum is required, along with the following SUNY application materials:

  • One letter of reference (or the SUNY reference form)
  • Unofficial transcript
  • SUNY Study statement


rio city view The summer program at Mackenzie will award six credits: three credits of Portuguese Language, and three credits of  Brazilian History; Culture; Religion & Contemporary Society. These can also be elective credits. You will have the option  to receive 3 OR 6 credits. Please see the cost section for more information.
 Brazilian Portuguese classes and Brazilian History & Culture crash courses will be provided by a Campus Brasil partner  school in Salvador. Campus Brasil only works with professional Brazilian teachers, all of them can speak English and are  specialized in Brazilian Portuguese as a foreign language. Experiential Learning is combined with Grammar and speaking  as well as the integration of cultural activities, following the principles of the Communicative Approach to Intercultural and  language teaching.  Classes will be conducted in English- no prior knowledge of Portuguese is required.  

The Brazilian History course may count towards a major or minor in Latin American, Caribbean, & US Latino Studies. For all other departments, please speak to your adviser about getting credit toward your major or minor. UAlbany will award the same credits and grades as Mackenzie University.
**Itinerary coming soon**


General Education Information for UAlbany students:

Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these General Education credits.  You may file a request to have additional courses approved.

Course Descriptions:
The syllabus for the Portuguese Language & Brazilian Culture course is forthcoming, check back soon for updates.  Please check with the advisor in your department to see which course equivalencies you can expect to receive from the program (using the following form, which can also be found on your online application- Preliminary Course Approval.pdf).

On-site Support

Students will have full support from the on-campus staff at the University's international office (also known as the Coodernadoria Internacional, or simply COI).  The program director at Mackenzie and associated staff will assist students with any concerns or questions they may have throughout their stay. Faculty and/or staff will accompany the students on all activities and outings and provide superb assistance to students throughout their stay.


Salvador: Homestay
Participants will be placed in single or double rooms at a Brazilian family during the Salvador part of the program. The students will be able to experience the day-to-day life in Salvador and interact with local residents. The homestay is walking distance from the Language School in a safe neighborhood with access and use of kitchen and laundry. Breakfast and dinner are included.

São Paulo: Student Housing 
Students will be housed close by to Mackenzie University during their stay in São Paulo.  
Rio de Janiero: Hotel
Students will stay in a hotel in downtown Rio.


Cost estimate for summer 2017: Brazil – Campus Brazil Summer 2017

Costs will include tuition & fees, all domestic airfare, room & board, ground transportation on program-arranged activities/excursions, airport transportation upon arrival/departure, some meals, workshops, entrance ticket to Museums Markets, entrance ticket to Ballet Folclorico, visit to Favela Connection Social Project, and on-site assistance from Campus Brazil.

Click here for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid
Mackenzie Presbyterian University (official site)
Wikipedia page for Mackenzie (in English)
From Samba to carnival: Brazil's thriving African culture (CNN article)


[insert photos in WordPress program page]

Academic Program

*Program is subject to minimum enrollment.  

Learning Objectives


  • Text

Course Syllabus

Please refer to the 2018 Syllabus for additional course information. The 2019 syllabus is forthcoming.

Course Format


Course Timing


Course Credit

This program counts as a number-credit course. The course is equivalent to Text.

General Education Information for UAlbany Students

Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.

Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students

Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.


All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. 


Your Instructor

This course is taught by Text







Summer 2019

Estimate of Costs

The 2019 Estimate of Costs forthcoming. For reference, review the 2018 Estimate of Costs

More Information

Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.
Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.


Academic Requirements



Experiential Learning

Experiential learning plays a critical role in your program experience. Both the overall program and individual courses include a number of cultural and historical excursions* to important and influential sites, so you will have the opportunity to experience the country and culture of England to its fullest.  

Past Excursions and Activities

  • Text

*Excursions are a mandatory part of the program and specific destinations vary by program and availability.
**Schedule is tentative and subject to change


Funding Opportunities

External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.
More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.


In Their Own Words

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Speak with an Advisor



About the City



Application Availability

Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:

  • Summer programs: December

Summer 2018

Program Dates

05/12/2018 to 05/17/2018

Program Schedule

Please refer to the 2018 Program Schedule. The 2019 Program Schedule is forthcoming.
*Schedule is tentative and subject to change

Flight Information

More information regarding flights is available upon acceptance.

Optional Group Flight

Independent Flight Arrangements



About the Program


Program Orientations

Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The spring break pre-departure orientation is typically conducted on a weeknight in February.
Upon arrival in Scotland, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by the Faculty Leader.  

Support Services

Your Faculty Leader is responsible for guiding all aspects of the program and will be available throughout the on-site portion of the course to manage  any concerns or questions you may have while abroad. The faculty accompany you on all program  activities and outings.
UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your  preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.