Brazil on Yale’s campus

Brazil students on campus
Students from Brazil on Yale’s campus.

Yale has a strong and vibrant Brazilian community on campus, with various programs and groups dedicated to Brazilian life at Yale. Highlights include the following student networks, programming, and collections:

Brazil Club at Yale

The Brazil Club is an undergraduate organization aimed at promoting Brazilian culture around campus and supporting Brazilian undergraduate students at Yale. The organization has recently launched a new initiative (Yale Dream) that pairs a student from the club with a prospective applicant from Brazil to provide support related to Yale’s application materials and process.

Brazil Activities Fair

The Brazil Activities Fair, hosted by the MacMillan Center’s Council of Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS), showcases Yale-affiliated academic and professional initiatives with strong links to Brazil and Brazilian culture. Begun in 2018, with a second event held in early 2020, the fair also demonstrates the wide variety of opportunities available to those interested in studying Brazilian topics and working with Brazilian institutions through Yale University and its New Haven and Brazil-based partners.

Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE)

The main engagement in Brazil at CIPE is through the Yale Summer Session program in Rio with a pre-session in Paraty. The courses are Elementary Portuguese for Romance Language Speakers and Introduction to Brazil: Cultural History. These courses jointly serve as an intensive elementary program in Portuguese language emphasizing development of all language skills, with an intro- duction to Brazilian cultural history covering essential themes and figures from 1500 to the present. Since 2009, this program has sent a total of 198 students for summer language study in Brazil. In summer 2019, ten students participated. Students also have the option to participate in five different semester or summer-session study abroad programs run by institutions other than Yale.

Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS)

Established in 1962, the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS) serves as the central hub for intellectual exchange and collaborations in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. The council works to strengthen exchange and innovation through a broad array of courses, cultural events, scholarly lectures, international conferences, and academic research. More than forty-five Yale faculty conduct research and teach courses with substantial Latin American content. Recent years have seen increased collaboration between Latin Americanists in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools in the areas of School of the Environment, global health, nursing, medicine, law, and human rights.

CLAIS offers an undergraduate major in Latin American Studies and a Graduate Certificate of Concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies for graduate and professional students at Yale. CLAIS offers travel fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students, hosts eminent visiting scholars, and supports faculty research and curriculum development. Its Graduate and Professional Affiliates network includes 75 students from throughout the university in all disciplines. CLAIS supports the development of new resources for language teaching in Spanish, Portuguese, Nahuatl, and other indigenous languages. CLAIS promotes linkages with other U.S., Latin American, and Iberian institutions to bolster cooperation and understanding of these interconnected regions.

CLAIS is focused on Brazil and has developed strong partners in Brazil and organizes an annual Brazil Activities Fair. The council coordinates a number of initiatives to support Yale’s Brazil initiatives, including the recent U.S.–Brazil Studies conferences. As part of an effort supported by Brazil’s Ministry of Education, Fundação Getúlio Vargas Rio de Janeiro, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and in order to increase collaboration with Brazilian institutions among U.S. universities on the topic of studies of Brazil, the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies hosted two interdisciplinary conferences in May and November 2018 titled Brazilian Studies in the U.S.–The Road Ahead. As a continuation of these events, CLAIS plans to host a more focused conference on public health and medicine in Brazil in partnership with Fundação Getúlio Vargas Rio de Janeiro in April 2021.

Watch the chair of CLAIS, Claudia Valeggia, give an overview of their work on campus here.

Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) 

Yale participates in two Fulbright programs that support cross-cultural exchange between Brazil and the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program brings Brazilians to Yale to serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate courses; and Yale College graduates also serve as teaching assistants in Brazil under the program.

The FLTA program provides opportunities for young English teachers from overseas to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American culture and society while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States.

As part of this program, Yale’s MacMillan Center has hosted teachers from Brazil, among other countries, for full academic-year placements on the Yale campus to serve as teaching assistants for Yale undergraduate courses since 2005. Yale students studying Portuguese benefit from these individuals’ native Portuguese fluency and knowledge of Brazil.

Graduate Student Affiliates Network

The Council of Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS)’s graduate student network strengthens exchanges and innovations in the graduate student community by supporting academic research and social gatherings. The mission is to foster an engaging and interdisciplinary community of students working in fields related to Latin America and Iberia. The net- work includes students from various departments and schools. Many of the affiliates are conducting interdisciplinary research and pursuing degrees in departments such as Music, Political Science, History, Anthropology, and Spanish & Portuguese. Students in the network receive priority for research and travel funding opportunities. Using funds from the network, many students have traveled to Brazil for these projects. A recently funded trip to Brazil was for an MBA and Forestry joint-degree graduate student who was part of a forest management course in the northeastern Brazilian Amazon.

Major in Portuguese

The Portuguese major is offered by Yale College with the goal of developing competence in the Portuguese language and to provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of the literatures and cultures of Portugal, Brazil, and African or Asian lands of Portuguese language or influence. Students must take at least 5 courses focused on the literatures or cultures of the Portuguese world. Additionally, they can take up to 4 courses in different disciplines that relate to their subject of study and must also complete a senior essay. In regards to the language, Portuguese majors are expected to develop proficiency and can earn a certificate after completion of 4 advanced level classes. Finally, the department also has fellowships that promote studies in Portugal and Brazil alongside an annual conference.

Yale Young Global Scholars

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) is the premier noncredit program for high school students around the world. The program offers a summer enrichment experience for outstanding students, living and learning on Yale’s campus alongside peers from more than 125 countries. The interdisciplinary academic program fosters intellectual curiosity, deepens understanding, and inspires creative action across borders, empowering the next generation of leaders and allowing students to broaden their own world views by learning about countries and cultures they have never encountered before. Each year, YYGS selects a cohort of alumni ambassadors to help spread word about YYGS to their peers and community. The YYGS alumni ambassadors from Brazil in 2019 were Laila Delpuppo Messari and Maria Castro.

Learn about the YYGS experience through interviews with past students. In 2019, Laura Moreira and Maria Julia Castro attended Yale Young Global Scholars. Watch video interviews about Laura’s experience here and Maria’s here.