HOMESTAY AND HIGH SCHOOL IN BRAZIL
THE PROGRAM: S&K offers high school and college students the opportunity to learn a second language and enlarge their cultural understanding by living with upper middle class Brazilian families in the safe environment of a small town, attending high school and participating in daily community life. The exchange student and his/her host family must be willing to get to know each other on a close personal basis.
THE SETTING: Santa Cruz do Sul is located about a thousand kilometers south of São Paulo. It is a town of about 80,000 inhabitants in the city and over 100,000, including the country areas. Santa Cruz started as a German immigration center in the 1800s, and nowadays it has become an interesting blend of cultures with some people still speaking German in the countryside. The city tends to be different than the typical images that people have of Brazil.
Santa Cruz is rather prosperous and safe comparing to other Brazilian cities. We are 100 miles (160 km.) from Porto Alegre, the largest city, the state capital and the nearest commercial airport. The main economic activity of Santa Cruz is farm production, processing and exporting of leaf tobacco. There is also a cigarette factory which generates a lot of tax money. Other industries are: clothing, corn seed production, machinery, and rubber. There is also a private university.
Cost of living in Brazil is today considerably cheaper than the cost of living in the U.S., although some somethings can be more expensive. Santa Cruz is especially cheaper than big cities and also it might be a better place to make friends and learn the culture.
WHO CAN APPLY:
THE FAMILIES: The S&K homestay program is limited to the area of Santa Cruz do Sul. Therefore, all the families are interviewed personally by our staff. Since we are located in a small town, most of the families are well known to us as we are to them, which reinforces the mutual trust. In our evaluation of families the most important points are psychological stability, open-mindedness and genuine interest in foreign cultures.
ACCOMMODATIONS: The family will always provide an individual furnished bedroom. Brazilian families normally have 3 meals a day and lunch is usually the main meal.
LENGTH OF STAY & PROGRAM FEES:
The fees include full room and board at your host family, participation in our language workshop 3 times a week, and participation in our occasional weekend tours.
THE SCHOOLS: High schools in Brazil are public and private. Public schools attendance is free, while private schools cost approximately R$1430 per semester (approximately US$750). If the student's proficiency in Portuguese is good enough to follow the subjects taught in school and pass the exams, the student will get a certificate. It depends on the student's high school to accept or not the credits earned in Brazil. As far as we know, most of the schools will accept.
The exchange student can also attend regular college courses at the local university (UNISC) as a part-time student. To be accepted, the student needs to show proof of previous college enrollment. There is a wide choice of course offerings and the transference of the credits will depend on your American college. The local university works on a semester system and attendance costs approximately R$100 per credit/hour.
At the same time the host family will try to provide comfortable accommodations, the exchange student is expected to be conscious about maintaining energy saving, not forgetting lights or electric heaters on when leaving the accommodations.
The program is subject to family availability.
CULTURAL TOURS: Samba and capoeira lessons are also available, as well as cultural traveling on weekends. These turismo cultural items are weekend trips to places of interest. For this purpose S&K has 12-passenger van. The idea is to integrate cultures bringing together foreign students of Portuguese and local students of English in an informal atmosphere with a lot of comprehensible input both ways, so that everybody learns English and Portuguese having fun together.
Weekend at Praia do Rosa (Santa Catarina State): Praia do Rosa is the most beautiful and unspoiled beach of the Florianopolis area. This trip includes transportation over 500 km in our van in the company of instructors, a visit to Garopaba, and a 2-night stay in comfortable little huts on the beach. Excellent and cheap sea food. Portuguese is spoken all the time. Read here personal accounts of this tour.
Weekend at the beach of Torres (Rio Grande do Sul State): Torres, 360 km away, is the most beautiful beach in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. This item includes transportation in our van in the company of instructors and stay in an apartment with panoramic view over the beach. Portuguese is spoken all the time.
The mountains of Gramado and Canela: The cities of Gramado and Canela are famous tourist spots in Rio Grande do Sul. Walk down thousands of steps into a canyon and get wet watching the Caracol waterfall splashing against the rocks. One-day trip in our van in the company of instructors. Portuguese spoken all the time.
Uruguayan border - Livramento and Rivera: In the sister cities of Livramento (Brazil) and Rivera (Uruguay), most of the people speak Portuguese and Spanish, and many speak Portunhol, a middle dialect between the two languages. This trip includes transportation over 400 km in our van in the company of instructors.
Historical cities of Triunfo, Santo Amaro and Rio Pardo: Triunfo, Santo Amaro and Rio Pardo are among the first four Portuguese settlements in the state, in the 18th century. This day trip of 130 km to Triunfo at the intersection of rivers Jacuí and Taquari, includes lectures about history in the museums of Triunfo and Rio Pardo, and transportation in our van in the company of instructors.
Lagoa dos Patos - São Lourenço: Spend a weekend in bungalows at a lake beach 350 km away. Transportation in our van in the company of instructors.
Sinimbu - the German countryside: A short trip of 25 km into the rural area where the German language and culture are still alive. Transportation is in our van in the company of instructors.
Climbing mount Botucaraí: Monte Botucaraí, the highest point in the state, is located 35 km away from the school. Bring water and a sandwich in your backpack and steam up the mountain from 570 m to 1016 m from sea level. It's an easy climb. If you like trekking, you'll enjoy it. Transportation is in our van in the company of instructors.
Weekends in Porto Alegre: The school maintains a furnished apartment in Porto Alegre, the state's biggest city. Our foreign students will be invited on occasion for cultural events.