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The University of Wisconsin-Madison exchange program in Rio de Janeiro allows students the opportunity to enroll at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC-Rio). This exchange program provides students the opportunity to improve their Portuguese language skills while learning about Brazilian culture alongside other international students.
Rio de Janeiro is an exciting city perfectly situated between a lush tropical forest and the Atlantic Ocean. Rio provides its residents and visitors alike a majestic realm of colors, sounds and smells. With an intense cultural life, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect place for those who want to immerse themselves into the South American reality: plays, shows, concerts, exhibitions, street performances, scientific conferences, cultural debates - everything happens in Rio.
Rio de Janeiro is an awe-inspiring city of contrasts. Impossibly steep granite mountains jut out of the ocean between glorious stretches of golden sand, impeccable colonial buildings nestled in between modern glass skyscrapers and verdant forests tumble down hillsides into densely populated residential areas. It is a city full of life, beaches, soccer, and samba.
In addition to these features, one of the main attractions is the annual Carnival Festival. Held during the 4 days before Lent begins, Carnival attracts people from all over the world and is considered one of the greatest shows on Earth. And above all this stands the ever-present, iconic landmark - the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Getting to Your Program
Students are responsibile for arranging their own transportation to Rio de Janeiro following the suggested arrival date provided by the international office at PUC-Rio. All participants are expected to arrive in time to attend the mandatory orientation session.
All students must have a valid student visa in order to have their registration at PUC-Rio confirmed and to register at the Federal Police. A student visa must be obtained prior to the arrival in Brazil and cannot be obtained inside Brazil; a tourist visa cannot be changed into a student visa inside Brazil.
IAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
Upon arrival to Rio de Janeiro, there is a mandatory on-site orientation that will cover topics such as immigration, academic system, courses, add-drop and accommodations will be discussed in depth. In addition, students have the chance to meet and interact with their international peers during the welcome lunch.
International students are placed in homestays, where they have the best opportunity to experience the Brazilian way of life and to speak Portuguese every day. Each student has his/her own private room in a family's home. Applications for the homestay program are competitive and are taken on a first come first serve basis so it is crucial for students apply as soon as possible.
Excursions and Activities
Gatherings are organized specifically for international students in order to help them integrate into the university community. Exchange students can also participate in other activities including the choir and other Brazilian cultural festivals.
PUC-RIO has 3 sports areas where many sports are played, such as football (soccer), volleyball and capoeira. In addition, both international students and the regular students are allowed to swim at one of the most famous clubs in town, the Flamengo Football (soccer) Club. It is located within walking distance of campus.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
International Programs Central Coordination Office, PUC-Rio
Use the links below to find out more information on academics, daily life and student impressions for this program.PUC Rio Pre Departure Handbook
(Fall - 2013-14)Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Academic Notes
(Year - 2013-14)PUC Rio Pre Departure Handbook
(Year - 2013-14)PUC Rio Academic Notes
(Calendar Year - 2013-14)PUC-Rio Pre-Departure Manual
(Calendar Year - 2013-14)PUC Rio Academic Notes
(Spring - 2013-14)PUC-Rio Pre-Departure Manual
(Spring - 2013-14)
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. UW Exchange programs may require you to apply directly to the exchange partner either simultaneously during the IAP application process OR after you have received a preliminary admissions decision from IAP.
After you have completed the IAP Online Application, the following forms will become available to you through the application portal. Be sure to read the form instructions carefully for information on when to apply to the exchange partner.
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Online Application
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Personal Statement
Official Transcript(s): 1 Original + 1 Photocopy
Passport ID Page
Passport-Sized Photograph: 1
Unofficial Transcript - OPTIONAL - Additional File
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make a preliminary admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email. The exchange university will make the final admissions decision.
Founded in 1941, the Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC-Rio) was the first private institution of higher learning in Brazil. It is reputed to be one of the top five universities in the country. PUC-Rio is a research university with a strong undergraduate curriculum and many quality graduate programs and is made up of approximately 13,000 undergraduate students and 2,500 graduate students.
PUC-Rio is located on a wooded campus in the district of Gavea, one of the most pleasant residential areas in Rio. Although nominally a Catholic university, the composition of its administration, faculty and student body reflects the diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds of the Brazilian population.
The courses taught in English have a content based on Brazilian and Latin American aspects, such as: culture, literature, business, design, Civilization and history, among others. Along with the courses in English, international students must enroll in one Portuguese as a Second Language course while on the program.
All students can also choose to participate in the Pre-Term Portuguese as a Second Language Intensive course prior to the start of the regular semester. The pre-term course is for credit and will provide students with a base knowledge of Portuguese that can assist them during their semester or year. The Pre-Term course begins typically one month earlier than the regular semester start date.
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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