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In the Photo: Isaac King, Brazil '15, Johnson & Wales University


Brazil is a vibrant country filled to the brim with an incredible diversity of stories and experiences.

Brazil is famous for its captivating cultural life. For Samba. For Carnival. For Futbol. But that colorful portrayal just scratches the surface. Dive below the surface. Go deeper. And see for yourself what Brazilian life is all about.

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Brazil is huge. Like, half of the South American continent huge. Within it you’ll find a mind-boggling landscape of beaches, rainforest, metropolises, and colonial towns. Not to mention more biodiversity than any other country on the planet.

At just over 200 million, Brazil’s population is the fifth largest in the world and incredibly diverse. The people of Brazil occupy just about every possible economic, racial and cultural category. You’ll find Portuguese, African, and indigenous Indian cultures blending on the regular.

What can such an eclectic mix of places and people have in common? A universal pride in being Brazilian. After 8 months speaking Portuguese, learning capoeira, harvesting strawberries, or rehabilitating wildlife, no doubt you’ll feel it too.

Video by Fellow Kim Asenbeck ’13, Wellesley College.

Want to see more? Check out videos by Fellows Ava Hoffman ’13, Princeton University, and David Morrison ’14, Lehigh University.

Brazil’s cuisine reflects the diversity of its people. Get ready to taste flavors from a variety of cultural traditions!

  • Salgadinho – Sample the wide variety of savory Brazilian pastries! Each one of these finger foods is named for its unique shape and type of dough.
  • Brigadeiro – This Brazilian sweet is made with milk, butter, and lots of sugar.
  • Feijoada – This black bean stew is Brazil’s national dish. Read more about its origins (and about Brazilian Pizza!) in this blog by Sarah Murray (Brazil ’16).

Learn Portugeuse through immersion, tutoring, and Rosetta Stone. Get a head start with these common words and phrases.

  • Nossa! – Portuguese for “wow!” or “oh my god!” This exclamation is short for the phrase “Nossa Senhora da Aparecida” referring to the patron saint of Brazil, Our Lady of the Conception who Appeared.
  • Saudade – A word with no direct English translation, saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgia or longing for something or someone that you love.
  • Valeu – Literally “worth it,” but when used as slang it means “thanks!”

A number of musical styles originated in Brazil including samba and bossa nova.

Sample some of Brazil’s rich musical tradition with these songs.


Learn and contribute at an apprenticeship with a local organization.

Get involved in projects that matter to your community and gain exposure and experience in a new field during your gap year in Brazil. Apprenticeships span a number of sectors including Agriculture, Education, Environmental Conservation, and Social Enterprise.

Get a sense of the possibilities by learning about a sample of our many apprenticeship partners.

Wildlife Preservation & Environmental Sustainability

 Delve into Brazil’s incredible Nature with projects in wildlife preservation and monitoring, environmental education and conservation, recycling, trail maintenance, and sustainability.

Organic Farming & Agriculture Systems

Get your hands dirty and help local efforts in environmental studies, agro-ecology, permaculture, traditional mills, farm animals, and the preparation and sale of natural products.

Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Management

Learn from and contribute to nonprofit and corporate partnerships for social responsibility. Get experience in entrepreneurial businesses, fundraising, social media, and innovation.

Education & Training

Make an impact through opportunities to assist in public education, after school classes, child development, vocational training, special education classes, tutoring English as Second Language, and cultural classes.


There is no better way to understand Brazil than by experiencing daily life with a host family.

Homestays range from urban to rural, and families come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. In all cases, host families are carefully selected and trained by Global Citizen Year. Each Fellow is matched one-to-one with a host family to ensure a truly immersive experience.

“One of the greatest beauties of staying put for an extended period of time is discovering the rhythm of a neighborhood… Day by day, I’m am lucky enough to peel away another onion layer, piecing together the history and dynamic.”

More from Kristen Lee ’14, UNC Chapel Hill

“On Fridays, my host family and I spend the evenings preparing for the Saturday market, washing the last bit of alface and repolho in the buckets and carrying the heavy boxes of chestnuts and honey into the van.”

More from Pooja Thekdi ’15, Parsons School of Design

“I live with a host family that has not only welcomed me into their home but has adopted me as one of the family. My Mae, host mom, is frequently feeding me chocolate, bread, pastels stuffed with different meats and plates of fresh fruit.”

More from Azul Diaz ’15, Florida International University

Ready for adventure?

Learn more about our application process and take the first step on an awesome journey.

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