Cornell Global Programs

Cornell Global Program | CASA Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Approved by
Academic Year
Fall Semester
Spring Semester

Whether you have beginner or advanced Portuguese language skills, you can study in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

What is unique about this program?

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-Brazil 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 Brazil 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-Brazil’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 Brazil’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

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.  

Past students have been involved with the following projects in and around Rio de Janeiro:

  • Providing care to underserved children at the Integrated Social Development Centre Vargem Grande, RJ; 
  • Construction of a containment wall and involvement with an environmental education project at the Favela Rio das Pedras;
  • Revitalization of housing conditions in the Alto da Boa Vista (Tijuaçu, Fazendinha and Furnas); 
  • Serving as translator for various social projects at the Translation Center for the Study of Social Exclusion

BRICS Policy Center

The BRICS Policy Center/Center for Studies and Research is a joint initiative of the Rio City Hall and PUC-Rio. A think tank established in 2010, the center has five research teams working on the following topics relevant to Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa: International Politics and the Multilateral Agenda; Development, Commerce, Finance and Investment; Technical Cooperation and Science and Technology; Urban Development and Sustainability; and Economic and Political Analysis. Past students have been involved in the coordination of workshops, colloquia, lectures, and seminars to debate relevant topics, allowing them to engage with recognized experts in their fields.


PUC-Rio and CASA Brazil offer an enriched opportunity for students to experience the Brazilian way of life by placing them in a home-stay program.  CASA Brazil 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 Brazil Center Director.  They represent a wide range of incomes and situations, from single families, to couples without children, to families with children. 

Prior to his recent full-time appointment as CASA Brazil Center Director, Dr. Karl Erik Schøllhammer served, for 12 years, as the Resident Director of the Brown-in-Brazil program at PUC-Rio.  He holds an M.A. in Nordic Literature and a Ph.D. in Semiotics and Latin American Literature from the Aarhus University (Denmark).

Prof. Schøllhammer brings to the position a strong balance of practitioner experience supporting international students studying at PUC-Rio and accomplished academic experience.  In 1994, he arrived at PUC-Rio as a professor in the Department of Language and Literature, where for 23 years he taught comparative literature, Brazilian literature, arts and culture, and literary theory.  On three occasions during his tenure at PUC-Rio, he served as chair of the department. 

Prof. Schøllhammer has taught at the Aarhus University, at the Federal University of Brasília, and has been Obel Guest Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. His research focuses on contemporary Brazilian Culture, Literature, and the Arts, with special attention to representation of violence, exclusion, and trauma. 

How do I apply?

Applying to study abroad is a 2-Step process.  You may complete both steps simultaneously, but Cornell Approval must be obtained before your program advisor in Global Learning can complete any approval or nomination forms for the program itself. 

  1. For Cornell Approval, click on the "Apply" button on this webpage. Applications are approved by the Office of Global Learning on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this webpage.

  1. For Program Admission, complete an external application directly on the program’s webpage, using the link in the “Snapshot” section. Note that this deadline may be in advance of the general Cornell deadline for approval.  Many programs fill by rolling admission.


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