Fall 2013, Issue II
Semester Courses Begin at PUC-Rio!
CIEE's host university, Pontificia Universidade Catolica (and better known as PUC-Rio), sits in a large tropical forested area in Rio's beautiful south zone. Its cafes, restaurants, wi-fi, outdoor study areas, large library and active student life make it a delightful place to both spend time and take classes. Our students choose between an extensive list of course offerings at PUC-Rio that can be found here. Our students take courses in Portuguese, but PUC offers courses in English too.
You Want a Guided City Tour? Do It Yourself...
We have noticed over the years that no matter how interesting the guided city tours are, it is difficult to have all the students keep from conversing about their new realities and pay attention to the guide at every stop. So this semester we experimented with having the students do their own guided city walking tour of Rio de Janeiro. CIEE chose 21 sites that we think all visitors should know in downtown. Then we had each student choose one of these sites out of a hat and be prepared to speak about it during our downtown walking tour of Rio. Not only did they have alot of fun researching their topics, but they all paid attention to each other from beginning to end. The photo below is Juan Corina from UPenn telling us about the Arcos da Lapa, finished in 1723 as an aqueduct to bring water from the mountains to the city and later used as a bridge to bring passenger trolleys from downtown to the neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
Community Engagement, A Two Way Road
Once the 0ne month intensive language course ends and students confirm their semester schedules CIEE feels it's a good time to begin introducing students to Community Engagement Activities. In early September CIEE Rio students began a variety of engagement projects. For young adults doing a study abroad program it is important that our students develop relationships that help them learn from the community in way that benefits everyone involved. It's a two way road. This semester our students are learning and engaging by breaking ground in the creation of the first community garden in the Cabritos favela, offering free English classes to children and also adults with careers that involve English, working with an environmental educational group called Moleque Mateiro that teaches underprivleged youth the benefits and wonders of ecological sustainability and one student is teaching surfing at an NGO surfing camp based in the Rocinha favela.
Our 15 Minutes of Fame at Rede Record TV Station
It was a day to remember spending an afternoon at the Rede Record television station in Rio de Janeiro. Our students received the VIP treatment and were shown the entire production process from satelite feeds, to real time ratings, to the editing room. To our surprise, the tour guided us into the live studio where Rio's most popular afternoon program, Balanca Geral with Wagner Montes, was being televised. He interviewed our students on live television, attempting English at first, but boy was he relieved and impressed when he realized our American students speak fluent Portuguese!
A Day in the Music Scene at the Rocinha Favela
Some of the biggest Brazilian musical trends and movements have originated in favelas, including samba, pagode and brazilian funk. Our CIEE students spent a morning walking around the neighborhood with Zezinho from Favela Adventures. Favela Adventures is a company that shows visitors the ins and outs of the neighborhood where they grew up and where they have pride in their community, the Rocinha Favela. All proceeds from their tours go to fund their side project, Rocinha Media School, that offers free lessons in DJ'ing and musical production to the youth of Rio's most famous favela. Our walk ended at the school where we not only learned and listened to latest musical trends in the communities of Rio de Janeiro but also how this music is created.
A Hike up Cabritos Mountain
In September CIEE Rio offered students an optional guided hike up Cabritos Mountain. Thankfully, almost all of students opted to take the hike because it was amazing. Cabritos Mountain is a large round mountain that lies in between Copacabana, Ipanema, Lagoa and Botafogo. The tour guide co-op group called Tabritur is the only outfit that offers this particular climb. We had 7 local guides to show us the way and they were a lot of fun. The word Cabritos means goat in Portuguese and often the steep trail seemed better fit for goats. But we made it and it was well worth it to experience the 360 degree view in the heart of the most beautiful city in the world. After the hike Tabatur had a Feijoada lunch prepared for our hungry and tired students to cap off an unforgettable day.
See you next issue with more learning adventures such as our excursion to the historic mountain city of Ouro Preto, our CIEE sponsored community screening of the film Girl Rising, more about community engagement and other activities around Rio de Janeiro.