Program Details

Learn the language and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations to serve underprivileged citizens, while gaining insight into all levels of the local society! Participating in community service with BridgeAbroad allows students to have an exceptional
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Program Type:
Intensive Language
Degree Level:
1-3 months

Program Overview

Program Description:
Course Hours: 80 hours of intensive language class, 24 hours of community service, 20 hours of workshops/cultural excursions Language of Instruction: Portuguese Minimum Portuguese Proficiency Required: Beginner. Before you arrive in Rio de Janeiro, you’ll complete Bridge’s Online Portuguese Placement test to determine your proficiency level and match you with the class that’s right for you. BridgeVirtual Language Lessons As part of your program fee, you will receive three free BridgeVirtual language sessions for your use prior to your arrival on-site! Each session lasts 2 hours and includes both pre- and post-class online activities, as well as private, face-to-face time with a certified native speaking teacher. With BridgeVirtual, you’ll learn from practical assignments that incorporate videos, blogs, news articles, and a large variety of material, appropriate for all levels and interests. You will be assigned your own teacher, who is dedicated to guiding and motivating you through a completely personalized, one-to-one program, which makes learning fun, practical and effective. And most importantly, you’ll have the language tools you need to be successful in your program abroad.

Learn the language and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations to serve underprivileged citizens, while gaining insight into all levels of the local society! Participating in community service with BridgeAbroad allows students to have an exceptionally meaningful experience abroad. Students will have the opportunity to work together with local community members who are trying to make a difference in the lives of those who may be less fortunate than others. This component is important to help deepen students’ intercultural experience, broaden their perspective on local societal issues, and challenge them to reflect on their own role as a global citizen. Student volunteers will be placed within local community centers and asked to help with a range of activities, from serving meals to the poor to caring for disadvantaged children. Often, volunteers are asked to organize educational activities for community members, or sports activities for children. Sometimes, there are small maintenance tasks to do like painting or fixing a leaky roof. Many of the people who need the services of the community centers have never been in contact with someone from the United States, and truly enjoy the experience of getting to know a foreigner. Volunteers have the opportunity to put their language skills to work in an authentic context, all the while lending a hand and helping out. The contributions made by volunteers are very much appreciated by the hosting non-profit organization, and the experience leaves everyone involved with a new perspective on life. These service activities can be an intense experience for students who may have never been in close contact with people from a disadvantaged background. Our experience has taught us the importance of a balance between hands-on work and time for reflection. We recommend a weekly feedback and reflection meeting to allow students to share their experiences while volunteering, and to talk about and begin to process certain emotions that may arise as a result of being exposed to a very different reality often found in under-developed countries.

Why Volunteer in Brazil? Brazil’s intriguing blend of heritages has led to a rich and varied culture, which makes the country a fascinating venue for cultural studies. Participants in Rio de Janeiro will get to experience on a deeper level the cultural, ethnic, and religious influences that have made this country one of the biggest melting pots in modern history. The popularity of the music and dance of samba, the martial art of capoeira, and the world-famous Carnival festivities add to Brazil’s international allure. Despite a welcoming and gregarious populace, however, this diverse nation suffers from severe problems with racial discrimination, social inequality, and economic disparity. Through volunteer work with our local partner organizations, participants will get to interact with a segment of the population they might not otherwise meet, as well as gain first-hand insight into the country’s unique culture, language and society.
Setting Description:
Just blocks from the Metro, Bridge’s Rio de Janeiro learning center was completely renovated in 2006. The center features 10 modern classrooms, air-conditioning, internet-equipped computers and Wi-Fi. Studying at Bridge will give you unparalleled access to all that Rio has to offer. A one-of-a-kind mix of culture and leisure, Rio’s the sort of place where you can perfect your brain and your tan at the same time. As Brazil’s former capital for nearly two centuries, the city is awash in elegant museums, imperial monuments, and lush gardens, all set against a backdrop of steep mountains practically dripping with tropical plants. Stands selling an impossible variety of exotic fruit juices and strong caipirinhas line the streets, and no matter where you are, the beach is never more than a short trip away.

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