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international programs

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

program description



Rio de Janeiro, with almost 7.8 million inhabitants, offers a breathtaking natural setting, which can be viewed from the top of Corcovado mountain, site of the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Rio is a tropical paradise with fifteen miles of pristine beaches and coastal mountains. Also known as the "Cidade Maravilhosa", Rio was the capital of Brazil for almost two centuries until 1960 and is known for its carnival celebrations, samba festivals, and its famous beaches. More than 50 museums and the impressive Teatro municipal exemplify Rio's rich cultural scene.

The Program

The Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is a private, Jesuit institution founded in 1941. The university has a student population of approximately 10,500 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students. The university is internationally recognized as one of the two top universities in Rio and one of the most important research centers in Brazil. Four Academic Centers specialize in theology and human sciences, social sciences, science and technology as well as biomedical sciences. All BC students are required to enroll in an early start intensive Portuguese course along with a semester-long Portuguese course since students take regular courses alongside their Brazilian counterparts. There is a program with courses taught in English as well which includes a mandatory Portuguese class offered at five different linguistic levels.


BC students follow first an orientation with the BC on-site coordinator. They will then participate in an orientation program at the university. Throughout the semester, students will have the support of an on-site coordinator who will arrange cultural activities and direct them to academic and other resources as needed.  The international office staff at PUC-Rio is also available to assist students and offer additional support. Additionally, PUC-Rio offers extensive sports opportunities for international students.


Students will live in home stays as this is the best way to learn about the culture, improve language proficiency and be safe. The PUC-Rio international office provides students with support and arranges placement in Brazilian home stays, which are selected and recommended by PUC-Rio.


PUC-Rio has an attractive green campus located in a quiet neighborhood, but at the same time, it is close to cultural, commercial centers and 15 minutes to the beach. The university is also well equipped for sports. Exchange students can enroll in gymnastics classes or play soccer, handball, volleyball, and basketball. Capoeira classes can be taken for an additional cost. Swimming is possible at the Flamengo Sport Club near campus.