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Off-Campus Study

ACM Brazil: Culture, Community and Language at PUC-Rio

The fall semester ACM Brazil: Culture, Community, and Language at PUC-Rio program, a partnership with Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), is designed for students with minimal to advanced levels of experience with and knowledge of Portuguese language and Brazilian culture, society, and history. The program is open to students from any academic major and there is no language prerequisite. Except for the required Portuguese language course, all classes are conducted in English.

The core of the program is the curriculum, volunteer community service options, and academic and student support at PUC-Rio, one of Brazil’s top private universities. An ACM Visiting Faculty Director accompanies the student group, teaching one course in English with content related to Brazil. The program runs in Term 2 of the PUC-Rio calendar, with University classes beginning in early August and ending in December. An optional pre-term Intensive Portuguese language course is offered in July.

Program Type

Associated Colleges of the Midwest


Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Languages of Instruction

English and Portuguese

Program Dates

Fall 2018: mid-August to Mid-December

All dates are tentative and may change.  ACM will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus)  Junior status or higher is strongly preferred.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 
  • Previous Spanish study will be helpful


Boasting the world’s eighth largest economy, a multicultural society, and rich natural resources, Brazil is at the heart of economic, social, and political affairs in Latin America. Brazil is the region’s largest and most populous country, and is increasingly prominent internationally, as well. As the Brazilian economy has experienced sustained growth and the standard of living improved for all sectors of society, the nation’s government has also undertaken a significant program of investment in the country’s infrastructure and to maintain its remarkable biodiversity.

Brazilians take great pride in their captivating music scene, renowned football (soccer) teams, stunning natural environment, and annual Carnival celebrations. There is no better place to experience Brazil than in the historic, exciting city of Rio de Janeiro.


The program runs during Term 2 of the PUC-Rio academic calendar, which begins in early August and ends in mid-December. Students enroll in a total of four or five courses. Portuguese as a Second Language is a required course. An independent study project (ISP), supervised by the ACM visiting faculty director, is an optional course. Students also choose two or three elective courses from the area studies courses in Brazilian Culture for international students, which may include a topical course taught by the ACM faculty director in his/her area of expertise. Students with a background in the Portuguese language may be permitted to enroll in courses taught in Portuguese. An optional Pre-Term course in Portuguese as a Second Language Intensive is offered in July for an additional cost.

Students register for two or three elective courses taught in English, choosing from the Brazilian Culture area studies courses in anthropology/sociology, art and design, history, business and marketing, and international relations. Course content focuses on Brazil. See the list of courses taught in English on the PUC-Rio website. Students with a background in the Portuguese language may be permitted to enroll in elective courses taught in Portuguese. The International Cooperation Office advises ACM students on their academic options. 

Experiential Opportunities

Throughout the semester, students plan and complete an independent study project under the direction of the ACM Visiting Faculty Director. Projects may be conducted in a wide variety of fields in social sciences and humanities, with topics that are linked to the program location, and are expected to emphasize research in the community, including interviews and observation. Students also have conducted projects in the arts that reflect their experience in the host culture. At the end of the program, students typically present their projects to the group. Students are encouraged to formulate projects to fit their individual interests and/or their program of study at their home campus.

Housing and Meals

PUC-Rio offers an enriched opportunity for students to experience the Brazilian way of life by placing students with host families. With the help of the International Cooperation Central Coordination (CCCI) Office, students are placed in homestays located in the south zone of the city, the same zone as the university. Most families live within 20-30 minutes from campus by city bus.

The host families are recommended by CCCI and represent a wide range of incomes and situations, from a grandmother living alone to a couple living in the city to a family with several young children. Each house has their specific rules in terms of safety, cooking, and bringing friends over.

PUC-Rio serves as a liaison to facilitate the introduction between students and host families interested in receiving them. PUC-Rio is not responsible for the payment of rent or student expenditures. Should the need arise, PUC-Rio will support and help both parties in improving the interaction between them.

Each student will sign a contract and be responsible for paying his or her own rent. The rent includes a private room with a bed, a fan, a weekly change of sheets and towels, and a Brazilian breakfast (coffee, milk, bread, butter, jelly, and fruit). Access to kitchen and laundry facilities is also included. Telephone use is to be arranged between the student and the family. Not all homes have the internet available. For the houses with internet access, the price for the connection is R$ 25 per month (approximately US $7). Monthly rent with breakfast included is R$1.400,00 per month (approximately US $400). If a meal option is available (lunch or dinner), the cost per month is R$1.750,00 per month (approximately US $500).

Financial Information

For all programs, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee for the ACM London/Florence program includes orientation, housing, excursions to Rome and Venice, and insurance.  All meals in Italy except lunch are included. Meals are not included in London.

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018 program:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee


Program Deposits ( ACM + Lake Forest Deposit Credits)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposits (ACM)


Lake Forest Program Deposit (non-refundable)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses, transportation between sites, location transportation, additional travel, etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. Deposits to other programs, if required, will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate.

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.