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BRAZIL - USAC Florianópolis

The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a beautiful sub-tropical island and studying at one of South America’s most prestigious universities. The program is ideal for students who want to learn about the world’s fifth-largest country, one of the fastest-growing economies, and its diverse mix of European, African, and indigenous cultures. 


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5 and 3.0 for internships

Locals mingle with visitors from Europe and the Americas who choose the island’s charms and almost perpetually warm climate.

Florianópolis is located in the Southeast of Brazil in the State of Santa Catarina. “Floripa” as is also known for, is an Island and a haven for surfers. It is quite close to Balneário de Camboriú with its wonderful beaches, just little over an hour away, just two hours away from Blumenau or Brusque, with its German Colonization and culture and less than two hours away from the Beto Carrero World Park.

Ideally bundled with the cities of Balneário de Camboriú and Blumenau by land and with Rio de Janeiro and cities of Northeast via connection through Rio de Janeiro.

The island gained the nickname of Magic Island, and it was no wonder: its natural beauties are everywhere, with friendly and extremely receptive people to tourists. The city still has a historic center with patrimonies preserved and restored by the prefecture, among them the famous cable-stayed bridge Hercílio Luz, one of Floripa sights.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the Embassay of Brazil website.


Near the thriving old colonial center, you will study Portuguese and a range of optional courses at Brazil’s third largest university. All of these factors create a fascinating learning and social atmosphere for USAC students.

This program focuses on academic areas in which Brazil is a world leader: Cultural Studies, Global Economy, and Natural Resource Management. You will have the opportunity to study the complexities of contemporary Brazilian society through a wide selection of courses in English, as well as through your own interactions with the host culture. In addition, an intensive Portuguese language course is offered to all students to create an essential base with which to better understand the country. The intensive approach will allow you to complete up to two years of university foreign language coursework in only one semester or one year of language coursework in one summer. You may stay for one semester or a full year. The summer Florianópolis program offers one 3-week session (Session I) and one 5-week session (Session II) which can be taken individually or combined for an 8-week session.

USAC classes are held at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), recently ranked the 12th best university in Latin America. Known locally as “oofski” or “the Federal,” UFSC is known across Latin America for its leadership in research. Its green, spacious, and modern campus is relatively new and is host to laboratories and technologically advanced facilities. Students enjoy free wifi access, a very low-cost lunch service, and are able to participate in many different dance, music, and sporting groups. UFSC also has its own hospital as well as elementary, middle, and high schools and several charitable groups on campus, which helps create a very strong sense of community.


Transcripts from ISEP members in Brazil give the number of hours spent in class per week and semester which assists the home universe in determining the number credits for each class. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 168 total contact hours, or 672 hours of in- and out-of-class time.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 126 total contact hours, or 504 hours of in- and out-of-class time.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.


Program Website 

Student Life

Participation in formal and informal activities, such as field trips and visits to cultural events and local festivals, constitute an integral and enriching part of your stay. During each semester you will also have the opportunity to join an optional tour to the stunning destinations of Iguaçu Falls and Buenos Aires (Fall) and Minas Gerais (Spring or Summer).

There is also a large center where students congregate and many events and activities are held, including concerts, exhibitions, and film festivals. The campus is located in a lively part of the city, surrounded by markets, stores, and cafes. A beautiful nearby area called Avenida Beira Mar is the perfect place to walk, bike, skate, or jog by the shore.

On-Site Staff

The Florianópolis program has a Resident Director (RD) who is responsible for the USAC office abroad and overall operations of the program, including securing appropriate student housing, hiring top-level faculty, organizing field trips and optional tours, and overseeing your general well-being.

Renato, with Program Assistant Laura Baltazar, will meet the group flight at the airport, provide an on-site orientation, oversee your academic affairs, organize interesting field studies, and accompany you on the optional tours.

Renato and Laura, as well as all the USAC faculty, look forward to welcoming you to Floripa!


ou are encouraged to participate in local university activities, including sports, music, and dance, and meet Brazilian students who will help you understand their language and culture. As a USAC student, you will have full access to all sports and library facilities on campus. Students on campus hang out at local cafes and snack bars, at the Centro de Cultura e Eventos, and at the large esplanade in the middle of campus (where outdoor concerts are held every Wednesday afternoon).

USAC staff also plan some great events to help you immerse yourself in the host campus and host community. Examples include capoeira classes, yoga classes, soccer games with local UFSC students, hikes, conversation exchange events with Brazilian students, guest talks by visiting professors and guest speakers, rafting trips, a samba class, and movie showings. Full details and schedules are provided during the on-site orientation.

Field Trips

Depending on the time you go, you have the opportunity to go on the following excursions: Tour of Santa Catarina, Lagoinha do Leste, Anhatomirin Island and Fortress, Rafting in Santo Amaro de Imperatriz, and Ilha Do Campeche. For more information, click here!

  Experiential Opportunities
  • Participate in activities organized by UFSC, including sports, music, and dance
  • Practice Portuguese with your language exchange partner
  • Volunteer at schools and in social projects
  • Take field trips and do outdoor activities with other students
  • Attend local festivals and professional conferences
  • Don’t miss the cultural activities going on around town, like sporting events, hiking, beach volleyball, and more
  • Attend a local surfing school
Internship Opportunities

Internships in Florianópolis are offered during the semester and yearlong terms. Internships are optional and are included in your program fees. They range from 1-3 credits and are counted as part of your credit load. Interns earn credit, but no financial compensation. In addition to professional and academic experience, internships are a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, meet locals, and practice your language skills.

Past internship placements include: 

  • Community center for at-risk children
  • Teaching English in local schools
  • Veterinary clinic
  • Tech company
  • Wildlife conservation project

Please note that there may be a Foreign language proficiency requirement for some placements. 

Placement is not guaranteed by USAC; rather it will be determined by your application, supporting materials, and an interview with the internship sponsor on site. To intern in a Portuguese-speaking environment, you must be able to communicate at an advanced language level.

Housing and Meals

All accommodations are located in the center of the island, as close to the university as possible. The university is served well by a regular bus service. Inexpensive student dining halls are available for lunch and snacks. We offer three different housing options:


Staying with a host family is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Brazilian culture, quickly improve your Portuguese, and meet locals. Your family will welcome you into their home and provide various services including meals. Host families will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. We recommend this option if your priority is to learn the language as quickly as possible.

Room Rentals

Live with Brazilians (families or students) in a shared home; this is also a good option for speaking the language. It is similar to a homestay but does not include the additional services like meals: effectively you are renting a room in someone’s home.

Shared Apartments 

Shared apartments involve living with USAC and other international students, close to the university. This option offers a bit more independence and is good for students with particularly strict dietary requirements or other preferences.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee includes orientation, USAC coordinator, college fees, student health insurance, program-organized field trips, and housing. 

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office