Brazil: the Sport of Democracy

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Brazil program posterNote: The early fall 2014 application cycle is now closed. Check back in the fall for information about upcoming study abroad programs.

This program represents a unique opportunity to study in Brazil and receive 13 credits of UW coursework in a four week period. Participants study Portuguese, engage in experiential learning projects, and receive an in-depth, critical understanding of contemporary Brazil. This year students will focus on the discussions around mega-sports events in Brazil and their relationship to democratic processes, social programs and economic growth. Student will engage with scholars and various social groups to discuss the repercussions of the World Cup (July 2014) and the upcoming Summer Olympics in 2016.

Correcting one’s earlier perception isn’t always easy. - Paulo Freire

Academic content

The Brazil program is composed of three courses: one seminar, one language course and one applied media project. This program is especially well fitted to the needs of Latin American Studies, Human Rights, International/Global Studies and Communications majors/minors but also meets the requirements for several other majors at UW.

In addition to the coursework, students will participate in numerous excursions. Proposed site visits include various locations in and around Sao Paulo and Campo Grande including street children’s projects, favela projects, quilombos, indigenous communities, forest and wetland reserves, and cultural centers. Students will be able to experience both urban and rural contexts in Brazil.

  • TPOL S 435 Popular Movements in Latin America [5 credits]

Historically Latin America has been the stage for various, unique forms of organized resistance against colonialism, slavery, military authoritarianism, racism and economic oppression and environmental degradation. This course will focus on the particular context of Brazil, by examining the genealogy of social movements, understanding their interface with environmental issues, engaging in seminars with Brazilian scholars and observing the current work of various urban and rural movements. In particular, we will discuss the recent preparation for mega sports events (World Cup and Olympics)  in relationship to democratic processes and environmental and social justice. This will provide a window on the particular Latin American approach to human rights and social movements and environmental preservation.

  • TIAS 499 Undergraduate Research - Digital Media Methods for Research in Human Rights and Cultural and Environmental Processes [5 credits]

This course provides an overview of the implications of using digital media methods for documenting and presenting human rights-related research across borders with a specific focus on the aftermath of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the impacts of hosting the upcoming Olympics in Brazil. The course contains both theoretical and practicable application toward exploring human rights and cultural and environmental phenomena, while producing a piece of media that reflects that explorative work. Through the production of photography, video, blogs, and audio stories, this class will engage in questions of agency and subjectivity as relevant to questions of building subject and audience relationships, active research, production and consumption of knowledge, and the representation of culture, self, and others. Here is a video overview of the study abroad course from a previous year with a list linking to examples of student projects:


  • Portuguese Language (PORT 199 or 299) [3 Credits]

Students will learn Portuguese at the Universidade Metodista de São Paulo, one of the premiere universities for teaching Portuguese as a foreign language. The course will be adapted to the needs of the students.

Finally, weekly pre-departure seminars will be required in the spring/summer quarters. This series of seminars will provide basic background information on Brazil, orient students to Brazil and the expectations of the program, and allow the participants to become better acquainted with one another. This program is organized, directed and taught by Margaret Griesse of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (Tacoma) and Angelica Macklin of the University of Washington (Seattle).

Program scheduleDance lessons

The program runs from August 24 through September 20. Students will begin in Sao Bernardo do Campo, close to the cosmopolitan city of Sao Paulo, where they will have intensive Portuguese classes for three weeks while living with host families. They will also learn of urban social and environmental movements, with the opportunity of visiting the Atlantic rainforest. Then, they will travel to Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul located in central Brazil. Students will have contact with indigenous, social and environmental movements in this area and have the opportunity to experience the fauna and flora of the fantastic wetlands of the Brazilian Pantanal.

Student eligibility

Undergraduate and graduate students from any UW campus may apply. Participants are selected on the basis of high scholarship, academic preparation, motivation, emotional maturity, and financial responsibility.


Applications are due on May 19, 2014. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions May 23. Once accepted to the program, applicants will need to confirm their participation in the program by June 6. Click the "Apply Now" button below to begin.

Apply now button

Travel documents & insurance

A visa is required of all US citizens entering Brazil. Once you have been accepted to the study abroad program the program leaders will walk you through this process. Students should allow at least 4 weeks for the visa application. If you are using a passport from another country, you might be exempt from visa requirements. Visit this site for a listing of exemptions. Once again, the program leaders will provide you with assistance once you are accepted into the program.

Study abroad insurance coverage is a UW requirement. We recommend students take advantage of the UW Study Abroad Insurance, as an easy and affordable option. Students with personal insurance that covers expenses for emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, injury, illness or death while participating in study or research abroad can petition for a UW Study Abroad Insurance waiver. If the petition is granted, the student will be exempt from the requirement to purchase the UW Study Abroad Insurance Plan. [Additional information...]


The total cost of the program is $4,660.Carnival mask

Program fee includes:

  • Academic course fee (13 credits)
  • Portuguese language textbook
  • Housing
  • Transportation for required field trips
  • Guest speakers
  • Welcoming and departure receptions
  • Breakfast and most evening meals

It does not include:

  • Round trip airfare to/from Brazil
  • Costs of travel documents (passport, visas)
  • Lunch and other meals (except as listed above)
  • Study abroad insurance
  • Other course materials
  • Items of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry service, and souvenirs

Payment schedule

Amount Due
Administrative Fee
$250 upon acceptance to program
Program Fee
$4,410 October 10, 2014

Method of payment: The Administrative Fee of $250 is due upon acceptance to the program. This payment can be made in person or by mail and will need to be paid by personal check, cashier's check, or money order made payable to University of Washington Tacoma. Please write "Brazil Early Fall 2014" in the memo line of the check.The Administrative Fee of $250 must accompany your acceptance confirmation and payment contract for the program. Please submit the check along with the appropriate paperwork to our office in GWP 102 or by mail to:Students on Amazon walk

International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

For other methods of payment, please contact Tracey Norris, Study Abroad Coordinator, at 253-692-4426.

The Program Fee will be charged automatically to your student account upon registration and can be paid online through your MyUW account. Please note: Students do not register themselves for this program. The Office of International Programs will register the student once the Administrative Fee and all appropriate program documents have been received.

Financial aid

Students receiving financial aid which they intend to apply toward the program cost should consult with a financial aid adviser before applying to the program. Some sources of funding, i.e. the GI Bill, may not cover the cost of study abroad programs. Check with a financial aid advisor to understand how your funds apply toward study abroad. Please bring the student financial aid budget form with you to your meeting. [Click to view and print]

Be aware that you may not receive financial aid in time to cover initial program costs. You should be prepared to pay your expenses out of pocket until your financial aid is dispersed. The deadline for program payment cannot be waived or postponed.

Refund conditions for fees

Once you confirm your participation in the program:

  1. If you withdraw prior to June 9, 2014, all payments, less the $250 Administrative Fee, will be refunded to you.
  2. If you withdraw on or after June 9, but prior to August 24, 2014, you are obligated to pay 50% of the total cost of the program.
  3. If you withdraw on or after August 24, 2014, you are obligated to pay the full cost of the program. No refunds will be given for unused accommodations, meals or other fees and services.

Notice of Withdrawal from the program MUST be made in writing and submitted to our office in GWP 102 or by mail to:Iberaqua park

International Programs
University of Washington Tacoma
1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Changes in costs or scope of the program

In the event of significant devaluations of the dollar, some adjustments to program activities may be necessary. If there are any political events that might compromise the safety of the participants, a rescheduling or cancellation of the program may be necessary. If such changes occur, students will be notified of the changes and options will be presented.

Program cancellation

If viable enrollment is not reached by June 9, 2014, the program will be cancelled. Participants will be notified and the Administrative Fee will be refunded.

Equal opportunity and disability accommodations

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process contact the Disability Support Services Office at least ten days in advance.

Panorama view of Rio