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Programs and Deadlines
About Penn Abroad
CIEE Sao Paulo: Business and Culture (BRN)
Sao Paulo, Brazil (Fall Spring Academic Year Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Fall,
Budget Sheets Fall,
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
English, Portuguese
Language Prerequisite:
See Program Description
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Credit Available For:
Huntsman, Wharton
Other Eligibility Requirements: See Program Description
Type of Program:
Application Deadline:
Fall/Year: February 15, Spring: October 1
Program Description:
Parque Ibirapuera, A.Spadafora
Parque Ibirapuera by A.Spadafora

Program Snapshot

(click on the links highlighted in blue below to learn more)
The Academic Program
  • 3.0 GPA requirement
  • For students with no prior Portuguese language instruction:  1 semester of college-level Portuguese 110 or 114 (or equivalent) is required; B or better in all Spanish or Portuguese courses. Spanish or Portuguese language course within the past year recommended.
  • For students directly enrolling in courses taught in Portuguese:  4 semesters of college-level Spanish or 2 semesters of college-level Portuguese (or equivalent) is required; B or better.  Spanish or Portuguese language course within the past year recommended.
  • All students:  3 semesters of either micro-or macro-economics, accounting, finance, management, marketing, or statistics.
  • Hotel for the first 2-3 days during orientation
  • Homestay
The City of São Paulo
  • Official language: Portuguese
  • The second largest urban area in the Americas and an important South American economic and cultural center
  • With its distinct ethnic neighborhoods and excellent cultural venues, the city offers South America’s best and most diverse cultural entertainment opportunities including theater, cinema, museums, concerts, Carnival, samba schools, and soccer games
  • Largest city in Brazil
  Special Features
  • Company visits  
The Application Process
The Penn Abroad application requires applicants to submit one academic recommendation from a Penn language professor.
Financial Matters
Penn Resources

This program requires an advising session with a Program Manager prior to opening an application. To view the schedule for upcoming group advising sessions, or to schedule an individual appointment, select the ‘Schedule an Advising Appointment’ button on the Penn Abroad homepage.  

The Academic Program

The Business and Culture study abroad program offers students with varying levels of Portuguese language skills the opportunity to begin or continue their study of Portuguese while taking business-related courses at one of two top institutions in one of the most economically important countries in the world.  At these schools, students can take courses, in English, in a variety of business-related disciplines alongside Brazilian and/or other international students. Students with advanced Portuguese language skills may directly enroll in regular courses taught in Portuguese on a case-by-case basis and with prior approval. International office staff at both schools, in cooperation with CIEE resident staff, works with students on course selection and registration prior to arrival and during orientation.  In addition to business coursework, all students enroll in one Portuguese language course at an appropriate level.

CIEE São Paulo, Brazil:  Business and Culture

CIEE business students in São Paulo study at one of two local host institutions. In their CIEE application, students must select which institution they will be attending. This selection must be done months prior to arrival, based on intended language of study and in consultation with a CIEE study abroad advisor. Brazilian visa rules do not allow students to take classes at multiple institutions.

The Host Institutions

The Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo da Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV-EAESP) was founded in 1954 through a joint effort of the Brazilian government and community, with cooperation from Michigan State University. Designed to meet the needs for business education in Brazil, FGV holds worldwide recognition as a highly reputable private college focused on business administration and economics.

The Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (ESPM) was founded in 1951 as a small private institution offering undergraduate and graduate degrees at 4 campuses in Brazil. The school offers undergraduate degree programs in business administration, social communication (marketing, advertising and public relations), design, journalism, and international relations. Its São Paulo campus is modern, small, centrally located, and easily accessible via public transportation. ESPM courses in English are designed for Brazilian students who are required to graduate with a highly internationalized business student profile.

CIEE requires students at either institution to take a Portuguese language intensive class for the first week of the program.

How do I select which university to attend?

  • English-taught courses offered at ESPM are announced just prior to the start of the semester. Students planning to study primarily in English who need to know/select their courses prior to the start of the program should select FGV.
  • Students studying primarily in Portuguese should choose ESPM. Space in Portuguese-taught classes at FGV is extremely limited and cannot be guaranteed prior to arrival, and is also dependent on passing an FGV language test administered on site.
  • Students can take courses, in English, in a variety of business-related disciplines alongside Brazilian and/or other international students at both schools.  Students with advanced Portuguese language skills may directly enroll in regular courses taught in Portuguese on a case-by-case basis and with prior approval. Note that space in these Portuguese courses at FGV-EAESP is very limited and cannot be guaranteed.

Course Load

All Penn students are required to maintain a full course load worth the equivalent of 4 credit units while abroad.  The number of courses depends on which business option a student selects to attend: English-taught courses at FGV-EAESP are offered in two sequential eight-week modules. The normal course load is three to four courses in each of the two 8-week modules, plus the CIEE Portuguese language course:  ESPM courses run the duration of the semester.  The normal course load is three ESPM courses plus the CIEE Portuguese language course. Students should expect challenging coursework and a rigorous program of study.


As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in to the grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy. Generally, students at FGV-EAESP and ESPM are evaluated on weekly homework, participation, group projects, student presentations, quizzes, midterm and final exams, or final papers. Students must take exams at the regular exam time and turn in all work on time. Grades at both institutions are given numerically from zero to 10 and then translated into letter grades of A-F with pluses and minuses. Grades for the spring semester are normally received by early September and by March for the fall semester.

Learn More About CIEE São Paulo, Brazil:  Business and Culture

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In order to experience Brazilian life to the fullest, students are carefully placed in screened Brazilian homestays. Housing and two meals per day are included in the study abroad program fee. One meal per day, usually lunch or dinner depending on class schedules, is the responsibility of the student. You are strongly encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop. Many, but not all, host families offer wireless at home. During orientation, students are housed together in a hotel.  

Special Features

Company visits

A series of company visits is organized to complement academic study, offering study abroad students firsthand exposure to business in São Paulo and Brazil. Students visit such places as Natura (a large Brazilian cosmetics company focused on environmental production and sustainable business practices), General Motors, Bloomberg, TV Cultura (the São Paulo State Government network) and Bovespa (the São Paulo stock market), among others.

Financial Matters

Students are charged Penn tuition and student fee (called study abroad fee the semester abroad) for all Penn programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, meals, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheet to determine other costs. 

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package.          * A budget sheet has not yet been established for this term.  Students should consult their Program Manager for budget specifics. 

Penn Resources

Students who study abroad are encouraged to take advantage of Penn's many resources for students, even if you haven't used them before going abroad.  There is an extensive list of resources on the Penn Abroad website that can help you to explore issues that might pertain to you and to help you prepare for a term abroad. 

In addition to these resources, we encourage you to reach out to a past program participant or ambassador to learn more about the program from a student perspective.
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