Summer / Fall 2013, Issue I
It's been a truly amazing first year. What better way to celebrate than to receive 36 new students from 29 different universities. 15 of those students came to do the Intensive Language and Culture Program during the month of July and the other 21 will be studying in Rio de Janeiro until December. From the day the first students arrived on July 2nd, 2012, CIEE staff in Rio has been working to establish the new study center with the mission of creating a learning environment that allows students to create their own stories while providing students with personal service and knowledge to enable them to have the most rewarding experience imaginable. We have accomplished what we set out to do and it's only the beginning. Having said that, the city does alot of speaking for itself. The natural beauty and fascinating cultural landscape makes the city of Rio de Janeiro a dynamic location to work with.
Adjusting to a new country can be overwhelming and the first part of our CIEE program is all about orientating our students with a new culture, language and city. On the third day we took a tour with our students through the Tijuca National Forest, the world's largest urban forest, and Corcovado Mountain crowned with the Christ the Redeemer statue that offers the perfect 360 degree view or Rio de Janeiro to help put things in perspective.
Intensive Language Course Upon Arrival Opens Doors of Opportunity
CIEE believes that the language component of any program is critical to opening doors of opportunity. Students may have taken several semesters of Portuguese in their home universities but that cannot compare to being immersed in Brazilian Portuguese. Our host university, Pontificia Catolica Universidade do Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the best private universities in Brazil. Together with Portuguese speaking homestays and a language commitment our students take a one month intensive Portuguese course before beginning the semester. Intensive might even be an understatement, the one month course entails 90 classroom hours complimented by CIEE’s cultural activity and guest lecture series. At the end, the students feel better prepared for the courses and a lot more efficient in navigating the city and communicating with the community.
Percussion Lesson in the Santa Marta Favela
Santa Marta, photo below, is one of the almost 600 poor hill-side neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. It is located on a very steep slope in the neighborhood of Botafogo and has a population of around 8000 residents. In 2008 the neighborhood was the first favela to undergo a new peacekeeping process of urbanization carried out by the city and state governments of Rio de Janeiro. CIEE students participated in a percussion lesson taught by the instructors and students of Atitude Social. Atitude Social is an NGO that transforms youth in the neighborhood through music, art and education. The drum lesson was held at the Michael Jackson Square, where Michael filmed the the 1996 video for "They Don't Really Care About Us". It was a learning community engagement activity and a blast had by all.
Samba schools are not necessarily schools. They are everything that makes carnaval special in Rio de Janeiro. what is a samba school? They open their doors in July to prepare for the carnaval season. The students practiced their skills spending a late night at the popular "Escola de Samba" called Salgueiro, photo below.
The Maracana Stadium Opens after 3 years
In preparation for the 2014 World Cup in
Brazil the most famous stadium in the world, the Maracana, went through a
major makeover. It officially opened in June for the Confederations Cup,
in which Brazil trounced Spain in the final. CIEE took students to the
first Brazilian match in the newly renovated stadium. A classic
intercity rivalry between Fluminense and Vasco. Vasco won 3-1 and
fortunately we sat on the Vasco side to witness the sheer energy that is
"futbol" in Brazil.
It's been 45 days since the students arrived. The Portuguese is flowing and our semester students feeling comfortable in their new city. Now it's time to dive in even further. Stay tuned for the next newsletter to find out how the semester registration and classes are coming along, about community engagement opportunities, special guest lectures and about more unique adventures and CIEE cultural activities in Rio de Janeiro.
Our Staff: left to right, Camila, Matt, Adams, Zack