Sao Paolo through CIEE Past Review

By (IGS, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/04/2014 to 06/29/2014 with

CIEE: Sao Paulo - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I loved portuguese as a language but also just how to make connections through cultural barriers. It was definitely worthwhile

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a really great host mom but there were a lot of people who had issues with people she lived with. The program really advertises this as a way to make money so if you are looking to feel really integrated into a family this is a good thing to keep in mind

* Food:

I had great food in my living situation but remember that you can only get two meals everyday from your host family

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

SP is a dangerous city so always travel in groups etc. but if you're smart you'll be fine

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)

SP is an incredibly expensive city and the fee you pay for room and board only covers 2 meals a day so keep that in mind when you go abroad

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 60+
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Going out can rack up a huge bill so choose wisely and try to use public transport or just walk as much as you can


* 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

I had amazing language teachers as part of this program

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
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? Its really hard to practice the language with your friends because everyone is so comfortable speaking English so try your hardest to find one person in every class that is a native speaker, that way you'll have friends that will force you to speak the language

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
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?
  • Language Component
  • Host Mom
  • freedom to travel
* What could be improved?
  • A greater variety in activities
  • more program trips
  • more focus on cultural things rather than leisure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You definitely need to know how to swim

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'