Brown/Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) in Brazil

Professor Luiz F. Valente, Brown Faculty Representative

For the most up to date information, please consult the Office for International Programs.

At a Glance


This CASA program builds upon one of Brown University’s longest running study abroad programs, developed over thirty years ago in close collaboration with Brown’s Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.  In its new and expanded iteration, CASA-Brasil harnesses the academic strengths and research ties to Brazil of the full Consortium membership to provide exceptional study abroad experiences to serious students. CASA’s key institutional partner is the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio), Brazil’s premier private university, consistently ranked among the top universities in the country.

With some 15,000 students and 1,500 faculty members and researchers, PUC-Rio enjoys a reputation as one of the top research universities in Brazil. Students who participate in the CASA Brasil program enroll in courses across 26 departments organized in four academic centers: Theology and Human Sciences, Social Sciences, Science and Technology, and Biomedical Sciences. 

CASA-Brasil’s selection of Rio de Janeiro as its program location is deliberate.  As the second largest city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s emotional and cultural center where, situated between beaches and a jutting mountain range, life is varied, culturally diverse and intense.  PUC-Rio is located in Gávea, a charming and safe neighborhood. Several city bus lines pass by the university, and the Botanical Gardens and Leblon beach are within walking distance of the campus.  CASA Brasil’s study center, at the Matteo Ricci Research Center, Estrada de Gávea, 50, is a vibrant intellectual space located in close proximity to PUC-Rio.

Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA)

The Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is a non-profit academic consortium of eleven leading comprehensive research universities formed for the purpose of organizing and delivering rigorous education abroad programs in collaboration with leading world universities.  CASA member institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Melbourne, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt University.

Academic Calendar

  • Fall Semester: July–December
  • Spring Semester: January–June

Academic Program

The academic program, for both the fall and spring semester terms, is divided into a required Language Orientation and Cultural Pro-seminar (3 semester hours), and The Semester Program (14-16 semester hours).

Language Orientation and Cultural Pro-seminar

3 semester hours (60 language contact hours plus 30 hours lecture and field component)
The Language Orientation and Cultural Pro-seminar is an intensive course during the first four weeks of the program in Rio de Janeiro (three weeks in July for fall and January/February for spring) and Salvador (one week in August for fall and February for spring) prior to the start of the regular academic semester.  Host institutions are PUC-Rio (Rio de Janeiro component) and the Associação Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos/Brazil-US Cultural Association, ACBEU (Salvador component).

The Semester Program at PUC-Rio

(14-16 semester hours)
Upon completion of the Language Orientation and Cultural Pro-seminar, Brown students enroll in PUC-Rio courses taught in Portuguese for a total of 15 weeks. Students enroll in three direct enrollment courses (10-12 semester hours) plus Portuguese as a Second Language — designed to bring students’ formal language skills to the highest possible level — for 4 semester hours (totaling 14-16 semester hours). Direct enrollment courses can be found across many academic areas, including History, Anthropology, Literature, International Relations, Psychology, Political Science, Economics, Geography, Cultural Studies, Art History, Biology, Physics and Engineering. The link to direct enrollment courses can be found here. Most direct enrollment courses meet for 60 hours over the course of the 15-week semester (4 semester hours).

Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

Students interested in a practical engagement experience can utilize PUC-Rio’s Coordenação Central de Estágios e Serviços Profissionais (CCESP) to locate non-credit bearing internship and volunteer possibilities in and around Acari, Parque de Cidade, and Rocinha. PUC-Rio students can engage in activities such as health care, engineering, small community planning, and vocational education.


PUC-Rio and CASA Brasil offer an enriched opportunity for students to experience the Brazilian way of life by placing them in a home-stay program.  CASA Brasil students will be placed in home-stays located in the south zone of the city, the same as the university. Most families live near the university, within 30- 40 minutes from campus by city bus.

Host families are carefully screened by the Coordinating Center for International Cooperation (CCCI) and approved by the CASA Brasil Center Director.  They represent a wide range of incomes and situations, from single families, to couples without children, to families with children.