IDIS W48 Brazil for Beginners: An Introduction to its History, Language & Culture

This program is not offered this academic year. See this year's interims.

Basic information

  • Location: Brazil | Map
  • Dates: January 3-25
  • Cost: $4,407 (estimate)

"The problem with Americans regarding Brazil is that for the most part, they are totally ignorant of her in all ways possible. They fall into three main groups: the largest one doesn’t know Brazil exists, a second group believes most people in the country live in jungle huts, and a third one at least knows where’s Brazil, but they think Brazilians speak Spanish. Americans who fully comprehend Brazil wouldn’t fill a soccer stadium.” —Norman Morrison

Brazil is a land of superlatives. It has the world’s most voluminous river, the world’s largest forest, the world’s largest wetland, and two of the ten largest cities in the world. It is larger than the continental US and it has the seventh largest Gross Domestic Product in the world. Portuguese ranks sixth in the world for number of native speakers, with half of all South Americans and one third of all Latin Americans speaking it. Yet most North Americans know little more about this country than the occasional references to carnival in Rio, World Cup Soccer, and its music. The purpose of this interim in Brazil is to introduce North American students to its rich history, cultures and language, focusing particularly on the Northeast. The first two weeks of the interim will be spent in Recife, a city of about 3.75 million inhabitants and the capital of the Northeastern state of Pernambuco. While in Recife students will live with Brazilian families, thereby gaining an important perspective on Brazilian culture. In addition to many local excursions near and around Recife, the final five days will be spent in Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. Salvador, the third largest city in Brazil, was the colonial capital of Brazil until 1763, and Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city, was the capital from 1765 until 1960. All three cities are UNESCO World Heritage and 2014 FIFA World Cup sites, and Rio will play host for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The course examines firsthand the history and cultures of Brazil.


This course may fulfill an elective credit for minors in Latin American Studies, African and African Diaspora Studies, and International Development.

This course will fulfill the CCE requirement.


$4,407 (estimate)

Questions / contact

Dwight TenHuisen

Dwight TenHuisen

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