São Paulo is a great city!!! February 06, 2020

By (International Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 07/31/2019 to 12/01/2019 with

CET Brazil

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely had to learn how to cook for myself and take care of myself in a big city! I also gained a lot of confidence in my foreign language skills.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were actually quite rigorous and challenging. Throughout the program, we took deep dives into many different aspects of Brazilian society, history, and culture. Most of our classes finished with large research papers, which were quite challenging, but also very rewarding.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The local CET staff were super friendly, and were willing to drop everything to help us out with any issues we might have. They put in so much work every day and it shows!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This may have been my favorite part of the program. I got to live with three Brazilians and one other American, and as a result I believe my portuguese improved a lot, as well as my exposure to daiily life in Brazil

* Food:

Food in São Paulo is very diverse, and there are a lot of options, both in markets and at restaurants. I think most Paulistanos would agree with me though when I say that Salvador has the best food however!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare issues easily resolved there, CET was very helpful the one time I had to see a doctor.

* Safety:

I honestly didn't encounter any problems in São Paulo, and never really felt very unsafe. However, like in any large city, you have to stay alert and keep your valuables on your person. The Perdizes area is very safe

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Most food is pretty inexpensive so long as you're going to supermarkets and cooking for yourself. Going out a lot can get a little expensive though

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $70
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget a few weeks in and try to follow it throughout the semester


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

There was always a lot of encouragement to use the language, especially because our roommates would only speak with us in portuguese

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate Portuguese
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make friends! Especially with Brazilians outside the program!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Professors
  • Traveling seminar to Salvador
  • Housing
* What could be improved?
  • Maybe a bit more orientation in the first week?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's somewhat hard to find stick deoderant in Brazil, funnily enough. I wish I had brought a bit more from home!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Brazilian Politics and Society

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Mariana Jansen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Mariana was a fantastic instructor, and this class offered a really comprehensive view on brazilian political history. She offered really interesting lectures, but also did a great job at opening the class up to discussion. We were assessed mainly on our participation in the class, but also on the 10-page final research paper.
Credit Transfer Issues: