Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Study Abroad Brazil: Popular and Afro-Brazilian Culture

Students and children from a favela in Salvador: learning boxing has helped young boys and girls fight against drugs and gain self-esteem.

A group of seven students from our campus, along with Dr. Denise Osborne (Lecturer in Portuguese) spent four wonderful weeks visiting three cities in Brazil: Salvador, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (July 16-August 11, 2017). The focus of Study Abroad Brazil was Popular and Afro-Brazilian Culture. The academic part of the program, designed by Dr. Denise Osborne with the help of Campus Brazil (who managed the logistics of the program wonderfully), aimed to provide students an in-depth understanding of the influences of popular and Afro-Brazilian culture on the Brazilian identity. The group visited key places and cultural landmarks, and experienced popular and Afro-Brazilian culture themselves, as well as interacted with Brazilians and NGOs to learn about and discuss contemporary issues. They also attended Mackenzie University, one of the most prestigious universities in Brazil.

An encounter with members of Favela Canta Galo in Rio de Janeiro: Through music, children have encountered ways to dream of a better future.

Some of the places that the group visited were Bahia Street, a program developed by Afro-Brazilian residents of Salvador to help break cycles of poverty, inequality and violence among young black women and girls; Acervo da Laje, another amazing project, which focused on artistic expressions in favelas; Condomblé ritual, an element in Afro-Brazilian religious belief, and Capoeira and Afro rhythms at Olodum.

See what the students said about the program in an anonymous survey below:

“The candomblé ceremony was remarkable. I never thought I would have the opportunity to see something so powerful in person. NGO projects made me feel one with the community.”
(Student 1)

At Parque do Ibirapuera (São Paulo), visiting the Afro-Brazilian Museum.

“I definitely came back a better person: filled with knowledge and ready to learn more. I am forever grateful for the experience of making myself uncomfortable in another place and learn my way through it. Being able to view the world through the lenses of another person was eye opening. Visiting Brazil made me curious about what the rest of the world is like and how interested I am in other cultures.”
(Student 2)

“I have fallen in love with a culture over a course of only a month, and I can only imagine what else I didn't get to experience. Brazil is such a beautiful place filled with wonderful people and I will return.”
(Student 3)

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