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USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy
University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

4 months of surfing, hiking, exploring, and staying out late

Dang there's a lot I could say. I guess I'll just try to break it down into a few sections.

USAC: The program staff were extremely helpful, friendly, and awesome. Things tend to come up while you're down there that end up being more of a pain to deal with than if you were in your home country, such as injuring your ankle, your bank account getting blocked, needing to get a phone set up, etc. They were always down to help me out by calling people and coming with me to the doctor and translating and all that. They also send out weekly newsletters letting you know what's going on around the island, set up field trips to check out cool stuff, but don't hold your hand - and that's what it's all about.

The actual classes: I took Elementary Portuguese I and II, Principles of Conservation, Peoples of the Amazon, and Brazilian Dance and Music. I definitely wouldn't say they were as academically stimulating as my classes back in California, but they were still rad! And how academically stimulated do you really wanna' be while you're studying abroad anyway? It was perfect, I was learning some cool stuff but still had a bunch of free time. Make sure to take Portuguese!!

Living situation: I stayed with a host family in Rio Tavares. It was pretty far from school (about 6 miles) and I had to catch buses that took a bit of time, but I highly recommend doing the host family if you are an independent person. Your Portuguese will improve quickly, you will get advice, and you will get awesome meals. I also think my house was the farthest, not all the homestays are that far! If you choose to live in an apartment with other USAC students, you'll always have people to go do stuff with and you will almost certainly be closer to the University, but I noticed that lots of people who did that kind of got stuck in their cliques, didn't really pick up any language skills, and didn't really seem to fully dive in. I'm not hating, to each their own. There are pros and cons.

The island: One of the coolest cities I have ever been to in my life. The variety of things to do on the island and the scale of undeveloped to developed that exists is stunning. Let me try to explain. There are built-up ritzy beaches in the north of the island with beautiful people sunbathing and beachside clubs, but there are also deep hikes and untouched beaches in the south. There is a sick downtown with bars, stores, malls, a big historic cathedral and all that, but also secluded fishing villages. What I'm trying to get at is that you get beautiful nature and seclusion, but also epic nightlife, chill cafes, shops, and all the amenities of a city.

There's lots of events in Floripa. The people of this island love to have fun. On any given weekend, I could choose between a Bob Marley cover band playing at Casa de Noca, a cover band of Tim Maia or another brazilian legend at Club Babilonia, a hip hop night downtown at Treze, or an EDM show at one of the university parties. One day I went to this thing called Sounds in da City where they had DJs playing funky electronic music in one of the Praças (squares) downtown on a Sunday, everyone was hanging out dancing, and it was free. One night I went to a reggae luau and watched the sun rise over the ocean.

The hiking and surfing opportunities on the island were pretty unbelievable. Good waves, nice beaches, subtropical forest, hidden trails, great views. I recommend Costa da Lagoa and Lagoinha do Leste.

Also if culture's your thing, there's plenty of samba/forro events, samba-reggae, and Capoeira stuff.

Anyways, I could go on and on about it. All you gotta know is: nature, surfing, good people, nightlife, culture.


My final notes:
Learn some Portuguese before and take the classes while you're here! It will add so much more to your experience if you can actually communicate with the people you meet on the street and at the clubs and cafes.
Do the homestay if you are independent and want to improve your language skills, meet more Brazilians and not have to be with other people from the program all the time, but recognize that you'll probably be farther from school and be more on your own when figuring out meeting up with people/going out and stuff.
Go do stuff by yourself or just with one or two good friends and be outgoing, you won't regret it.
Send it!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Where strangers become you family and unfamiliar places become your home in the blink of an eye

My study abroad trip to Brazil was the best month of my life. No one from my university besides myself decided to study in Brazil for the semester and when the program began I didn't know any of the other students. By the end of my month abroad the people I had met became the closest friends I have ever had. From experiencing a new culture, learning in a new environment and meeting people from all around the world, studying abroad offers so much room for students to grow. I specifically loved Brazil because of their welcoming culture and beautiful landscape. If anyone is considering study in Brazil I recommend they stop considering it, and just make the decision to GO!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Magic Island indeed

My study abroad experience was memorable thanks to the administration and faculty of USAC Florianopolis, Brazil. From the moment I was accepted into the program, three months before arrival, I was offered immediate assistance and aide. They were helpful with the guidelines and instructions leading up to my arrival and were quick at responding to any concerns. Upon arrival, USAC Brazil staff made my comfort and need a priority. They immediately made me feel like i was home and apart of a family. They greeted us with open arms and made sure we were comfortable in our new settings. Throughout my stay, the staff was continuously helpful, providing us with weekly opportunities to absorb the culture and get us out of our comfort zones. The classes were challenging and engaging allowing us to gain knowledge on a new culture and new perspectives. The professors allowed us to express our opinions and engage in conversation throughout the course of the semester. The USAC staff made my stay in Brazil memorable, and it was hard to leave. They made me feel important and this program changed my outlook on life. I really encourage anyone to study abroad and explore their potential abroad. USAC Brazil is a great program which deserves all the praise in the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Already planning my return

Florianopolis is absolutely amazing. Studying abroad in Brazil is the best choice you can possibly make. I've studied abroad four times and cannot tell people how much I loved my time in Brazil. My host family was never anything but friendly and helpful and the amount of Portuguese that I learned during my time there still amazes me. I studied abroad for summer II and my only regret was not staying for longer, I'm currently trying to plan to return next fall if I can swing things class wise. Amazing staff, great professors, best location and Brazilians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet in your life. Go to Brazil! Go to Floripa! Also say hi to Renato, eat lots of pão de quiejo and go surfing when you go!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

USAC in Florianópolis

I did the Summer session I & II in 2017 and thought it excellent in all ways. The local staff was fully dedicated, always punctual, always cooperative and friendly. The Office was kept open during IST public open times. There are very clean bathrooms, a Computer, books and good classrooms. The teachers are all excellent. The classes are very small and with a lot of attention for each student. The campus is adjacent to the USAC Office and in five minutes walking you are in a small shopping center. The buses run in front of the office and it is easy to get a bus downtown and then to anywhere on the Island or onto the continent. It is not a cheap program but you know that in advance. Likewise, Brasil is hardly an inexpensive country like the USA. Knowing the costs and what to expect, you should correctly plan for this excellent program when there is an Intention of learning or improving your Portuguese.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Amazing place, with amazing people!!

If you are looking for a place that has an abundance of nature, animals, and amazing people, without sacrificing academics and nightlife/entertainment; then this is your place. Floripa is incredible and USAC offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore it alongside fun and engaging tours that happen often throughout your study abroad trip.

  • University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review October 19, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    We’re glad you enjoyed the Ilha da Magia!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Spent a year in Florianópolis through USAC, and would do it again in a heartbeat!

I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone looking to study abroad in an awesome island full of beautiful hikes, friendly people, and amazing beaches. I had the best time of my life during the year I spent in Brazil and am so grateful for the opportunity.

The program itself, through the hard work of a great staff, does a lot to immerse the students in the culture. I was able to take courses in Brazilian Anthropology and Culture, Capoeira, Surf, and Portuguese language that gave me great insight into diverse aspects of Brazilian culture. The program also coordinated an optional trip to Curitiba and Foz do Iguaçu and several day trips and hikes around the island that served to show foreign students the beauty of Brazil while providing a chance for interacting with Brazilians to practice the language. And on that note, the housing arrangements were also a great way to interact with locals if you feel comfortable doing so. I found myself renting a room out from an incredibly friendly young couple, who always made me feel at home and provided me with a constant opportunity to practice Portuguese.

Outside of the program itself, Florianópolis is also a wonderful place to be. The countless hikes provided many opportunities for exploring with friends. The community at the host University (UFSC) is also full of interesting and friendly people interested in helping out foreign students. My #1 recommendation, however, would be to be proactive in seeking out and maintaining meaningful relationships with Brazilians. As students we often get comfortable in our routines and hanging out with the same people (particularly in a country where you don't dominate the language), but I would strongly encourage getting out there and interacting with as many people as possible since your time is limited.

I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the amazing experience I had living and studying in Floripa for a year. I never expected to fall in love with the island as much as I did, and can't wait to return to visit the many friends I made there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

"It's hard not to love Brazil, right?"

“It’s hard not to love Brazil, right?” This is what my host mom asked me my last day in Brazil, after spending four months in the amazing, beautiful city of Florianópolis. And she was right. How can’t you love a place as incredible as Brazil?

From starting my four months on the optional tour of Minas Gerais state, to experiencing Brazilian Carnival, to seeing cities such as Rio de Janeiro, or riding a boat down Iguazu Falls, I definitely had my fair share of adventures during the semester. However, some of my best memories were the most simple, such as enjoying dinner with my host family, volunteering with my host mom, or days spent under the sun on some of the island’s FORTY TWO beaches.

Living with a host family was definitely the best decision I made! I arrived in January knowing barely any Portuguese and left pretty proficient in the language, which is a great feeling! I also became part of a Brazilian family, which made my experience in Brazil very immersive and personal. I would highly recommend a host family if you want to learn as much of the language and culture as possible. However, all of USAC’s other housing options are great too. Many of my friends had apartments and liked it as well.

I was very impressed with the organization of USAC and the staff’s commitment to ensuring that every student has an incredible experience in Brazil. Not only did they organize fun activities all the time (hikes, samba classes, etc.) but kept all students very informed on events happening throughout the city and about the news in Brazil in general. Any time a student needed anything USAC was always there!

All of my classes were great, from Surfing to Brazilian Politics to Brazilian Cuisine!! USAC Florianópolis offers classes in many disciplines, such as Environmental Science, Political Science, etc. Most classes are in English, but some are in Portuguese such as the language classes and cuisine.

Overall, the four months I spent in Brazil were the best of my life and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the country with USAC. If you want a cultural adventure, and the chance to live in a country that will inspire you every day, don’t hesitate to sign up. I can’t wait to go back!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

FLORIPA is worth the trip and MORE!!!!

Floripa, from its many beaches( which are great for an afternoon nap) to the very energetic nightlife to there are many things to do on the island even for those sole players. the people in Floripa were very friendly and helpful to me guiding me back after being lost and showing me many wonders (and food) along the way. The staff at USAC was very open and encouraging in embracing life in Floripa. The USAC staff also was responsive to my messages and answered my questions and engaging(for soccer/football fans, join USAC weekly games). The campus is awesome lots to do and feels like any campus university in America. The language classes give you a foundation but the rest is from interactions with Brazilians so be brave and talk to people, they will not be mean.
My advice to new students is to get out there early, ask around(many people do speak english well there) to find the fun things to do, the university big with lots to do. Join a club or a meet up outside of USAC planned activities. Finally just explore, pick a direction and go with a friend or alone on the island or beyond but enjoy the experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

Not just a study abroad, but a life changing adventure

I had the most amazing time in Brazil and can't speak highly enough of this program. I can still remember sitting in the airport on the way to Florianopolis, anxious for what was to come and somewhat regretful of my decision to essentially take a break from my life and live in a country where I didn't know anyone or know the language. If only I'd have known what was to come, all my worries would have been put to rest.

Florianopolis is an amazing city and you can really find anything you're looking for there: beaches, culture, history, nightlife - you name it, and its there. The people of the city are some of the most wonderful I've ever met on average, and it wasn't hard to meet Brazilian friends. I still keep in touch with quite a few of the locals I met, as well as my wonderful American friends that I met through USAC.

Classes were interesting, but be prepared for the fact that since they are only once or twice a week, they usually run longer than college courses we're used to in the states. It can get hard to maintain focus for such a long amount of time. Most of them, however, were extremely interesting and allowed us to get out into the field, like Natural Resource Management. Also surfing was amazing, as one would expect.

One might think that living on a small island, you'd eventually run out of fun things to do, but that was never the case. There are plenty of trilhas to hike; so many that even when we were going 2-3 times per week, there were always new ones. Lagoinha do Leste, in particular, is one of the most amazing and rewarding hikes I've ever done. There are also about 42 beaches on the island, so you'll never run out of new places to see in that aspect. The city center is also extremely interesting and I met up with friends there often. In terms of nightlife, there are more bars and clubs than you could imagine. There are places to sit and talk with friends while eating a kilo of cheese fries, and there are places to dance until 5 in the morning. We ended up going to the same 3 or 4 spots, but to each their own! Also, there are quite a few upscale and huge malls for those rainy days.

Safety is the one thing I have to warn people about, as it is a bit of a concern. Florianopolis is a relatively safe city, but as my landlord said to me on day 1, "This is still Brazil." Brazil is the most wonderful country in the world, in my opinion, but it has its issues. Nothing serious really happened, but there were people who had their phones stolen while out, or had people come up to them and rob them (usually only for phones). With that being said, just be smart. Keep your head on a swivel and your wits about you, and you shouldn't have any problems; I never did.

The USAC staff were some of the most helpful people I've ever met, and they seriously made the experience as amazing as it was. From the moment we got off the plane in Florianopolis to the day we left, they were there every step of the way. They made sure we had everything we needed and organized events for us such as hiking, weekly futebol games, and so much more. John, Mariana, Mariele, and Laura, shoutout to you cause you all are the best!

Overall, I can't stress enough how much this program is worth it. It actually changed my life. Most students go to study abroad, have fun for 4 months, and come back and get over it. The chances of that happening if you go abroad to Floripa are slim. Brazil will always be a part of me, and I and many others are already dying to go back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Te Amo Floripa

As a student who lived abroad in Brazil in high school, finding out that this program worked with my university was a dream come true. Upon arriving in Florianópolis, I knew I was about to fall in love. How on earth can you even complain about living on an island with 42 beaches? It's a no-brainer.
USAC was an amazing program! The staff was absolutely dedicated to what they do and are constantly going out of their way to make things work for the students. I was slightly disappointed that most of my classes were held in the USAC office (right on the edge of the UFSC campus) but never the less the classes were great. Taking international development and economics courses substantially changed my worldview in a positive, more globally involved way. My Portuguese (which was already pretty good going into the program) became fluent due to the required USAC Portuguese courses.
I lived with 4 other USAC students in a house right on the edge of campus and near lots of cool local bars and bus lines to get anywhere on the island. Rent was super cheap and the house was the perfect Brazilian home for us.
The friends that I made during this experience are friends that I can confidently say that will be my friends for life. The people you meet while traveling always end up being the best kind of friends. Not only are they other USAC students but Brazilians, who are the nicest, happiest, and most welcoming people you will meet.
If you are thinking about doing this program, all I can say is, DO IT. You absolutely will not be disappointed!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Fell in love with Brazil

USAC is an awesome organization overall and Florianopolis is an amazing city. While learning Portuguese can be a challenge, USAC has amazing Portuguese teachers. I definitely learned a lot and can still speak it. The program helps you find Brazilian people that speak English through a few conversation nights, which was a great way to make Brazilian friends, some of which I still have. I would recommend this location to everybody. The island is beautiful and the airport lets you have access to many different parts of Brazil. I loved my experience and can't wait to go back to Brazil to see my host family as well as the USAC staff. Diverta-se!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    8

Surfing Penguins

The USAC program in Florianópolis was an experience I won't soon forget. Program administration was thoughtful and attentive to student needs. Housing was provided in different fashions, although I highly recommend the home stay option. The city itself is beautiful; with a mix of beach neighborhoods and city high rises. Surfing is popular the location receives good sized swell. Academics are an important part of the USAC program, as we learned from some of the top professors from the west coast. They did an excellent job teaching us with a shortened quarter of study. Overall, I highly recommend the USAC program in Florianópolis.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Abroad in Brazil

Floripa was amazing, the island was so beautiful with so many beaches to explore. The city was vibrant but small in comparison to the island. With so many beaches and beautiful scenery so close, weekends were quite a blast.

  • University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review June 21, 2017 at 9:39 AM

    Thank you for your review! We're so glad you enjoyed Floripa!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community

    9

I LOVE BRAZIL

Anybody who is considering studying abroad in Brazil...DO IT. I had absolutely the most amazing experience in Florianópolis. I wished I had done a year. I loved learning about a new culture and meeting many new people. Studying abroad gave me a new outlook and perspective. I have changed as a person for the better by studying abroad in Brazil! Take a chance and just do it. I miss Brazil everyday, it left such an impact on me. I plan to internship in Brazil during my college years and am eager to go back to beautiful South America.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    8

Viva Floripa!

Florianópolis was a beautiful and safe place to study abroad. There were plentiful opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture and get to know the locals. USAC provided excellent homestay options and I became very close with my host family. We still communicate, and I am sure we will meet again.