CIEE Liberal Arts Program in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

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Brazil: Salvador


The Liberal Arts study abroad program in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil is targeted to students who have at least two years of college-level Spanish or one year of Portuguese or the equivalent and want to improve their Portuguese language skills and knowledge of contemporary Brazil, especially the Northeast region with its distinctive cultural patterns.

Academic Program
The CIEE Study Center in Salvador da Bahia was established in 2000. Students begin by participating in an Intensive Language and Culture Program (ILCP), held in Salvador da Bahia for the fall semester and in Sao Paulo for the spring semester. In the fall semester, students enroll in a three-credit language course and a three-credit interdisciplinary culture course prior to the regular semester. In the spring semester, students enroll in an intensive, four-credit language and culture course prior to the regular semester. The ILCP prepares students for the regular semester by providing them the opportunity to focus intensively on Portuguese language acquisition and to learn about Brazilian contemporary society. The semester program offers a combination of direct enrollment classes at a Brazilian university, CIEE Portuguese language courses, and specially designed CIEE courses about contemporary Brazilian art, culture, race, and economic issues. This program is ideal for those students wanting to improve their Portuguese language, or for advanced Spanish speakers who would like to learn Portuguese.

Academic Culture
Some U.S. students could misperceive that the workload is light and that there are very few assignments. However, students are given bibliographies for courses with the expectation that they read as many of the listings as possible and select those titles that best meet their needs and interests. In some courses, the entire grade is based on a term paper or critical analysis of a particular article, with the expectation that the paper be based upon a fairly extensive reading from the bibliography. This relative freedom places a great deal of responsibility on the student.

While U.S. students are accustomed to a very structured system, professors in Brazil generally leave students on their own to determine the intensity of their work - an approach which is geared towards the student who is motivated, self-sufficient, and deeply interested in the subject matter of the course. It is a more rigorous, autonomous academic system.

The CIEE academic year program takes place from late June to mid-June of the following year, and the CIEE calendar year program coincides with the Brazilian academic year, taking place from early January to mid-December. Academic year students have a two-month break between the fall and spring semesters and are encouraged to travel independently throughout other parts of Brazil and Latin America. Calendar year students have a break of five weeks between the Brazilian first and second semesters (the North American spring and fall semesters). Students are responsible for housing and meals during these breaks.


  • Learn Portuguese through a four-week intensive language and culture program prior to the semester, followed by semester-long language courses at various levels
  • Enroll in CIEE courses in Afro-Brazilian studies, with a focus on race, class, anthropology, and culture
  • Participate in cultural and educational activities, including visits to Cachoeira, the city of Bahian Reconcavo, a Candomble ceremony, music, theater, a soccer match, an excursion to Rio de Janeiro, and many more

Cultural Activities and Field Trips
CIEE program activities include visits to a marine biology nature reserve, the museum of Afro-Brazilian history, plays and local performances, a soccer game, a folklore dance show, a percussion lesson, a Candomblé ceremony, and more. Community service and volunteer opportunities are available for interested students. The program also includes a trip to Rio de Janeiro. Considered the "cidade maravilhosa," or "wonderful city," Rio de Janeiro is known for its natural beauty and its strong cultural identity. Spring semester students may also participate in local Carnaval festivities.


Fall, Spring, Throughout the year


Fall 22 weeks: late June-mid-December; Spring 24 weeks: early January- late - June; Academic Year 53 weeks: late June - late June; Calendar Year 48 weeks: early January-mid-December

Degree Level

Bachelors Degree (Undergraduate)

Subject Areas

  • African Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Art/fine Arts
  • Business
  • Business Admin. & Management
  • Communications
  • Culture
  • Dance
  • Development Studies
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Ethnic Studies
  • Film
  • Geography
  • History
  • Hospitality
  • Languages / Linguistics
  • Legal Studies
  • Literature
  • Marketing, Ad., & Pr
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science/politics
  • Portuguese
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Theater, Drama, Dance
  • Theology
  • Visual Arts

Cost in US$:

Please check the CIEE website for current program pricing.

Program Fees Include:

The CIEE fee includes tuition, housing, all meals, optional on-site airport meet and greet, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, comprehensive student handbook, pre-departure advising, in-country documents, and a CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits.

Experience Required


  • Overall GPA 2.75
  • 4 semesters of college-level Spanish and/or 2 semesters of college-level Portuguese or equivalent

This Program is open to

Worldwide Participants.

Typical Living Arrangements

  • Home-stays

Participants Travel


Typically Participants Work

Independently or in Groups

Scholarships are Available

We have several scholarships that students can apply for. Contact CIEE for details.

Application Process Involves

  • Letters of Reference
  • Transcript
  • Written Application
  • Other