A three week summer program built upon the concept of human-focused sustainable development. The first week takes place in Rio de Janeiro, followed by a few days in Piracicaba (São Paulo state). The third segment will take place in Salvador, Bahia.

Date: June and July, 3 weeks
Number of Students: 12
Program Director: Flavia Vidal
Themes: Sustainability, Arts, Indigenous Culture

Brazil PLACES (People, Landscapes, Arts, Culture, Environment, Sustainability) is a three-week summer program in June and July built upon the concept of human-focused sustainable development. The first week takes place in Rio de Janeiro in partnership with the SESC School, followed by a few days in Piracicaba (São Paulo state), where we will work closely with IMAFLORA, the Brazilian partner of the Rainforest Alliance. The third segment will take place in Salvador, Bahia. The experiential trip will be preceded by a robust orientation program during the spring term, including pre-trip readings, meetings, and discussions, and may be followed up with Abbot independent scholar projects in the senior year. No knowledge of Portuguese is required. While in Brazil, students will work to document their experiences through writing reflections and video/photography. An essential question is, “How does one become a thoughtful, humble, and engaged learner in a foreign country?”

The purpose of the trip and its activities is to give students a multidisciplinary lens through which to learn and think critically about important current global issues, using Brazil as a case study. The vastness of the country and diversity of its resources, culture, and population make it uniquely suited for our explorations. The three different sites to be visited complement one another well and will allow students to approach the material from a variety of perspectives. Race, gender, music, and sustainability are foundational thematic pillars of the program. Activities will include a guided historical-architectural exploration of downtown Rio de Janeiro in collaboration with teachers and students from the SESC School; a visit to a certified coffee farm and civic-engagement activities in the city of Piracicaba under the guidance of the IMAFLORA staff; a short stay at Projeto TAMAR, a sea-turtle ecological sanctuary in Praia do Forte, Bahia; and cultural activities that highlight the rich African influence in Brazil in the country’s old colonial capital, Salvador.


  • Multidisciplinary perspective to learn and think about current global issues
  • Direct connection to PA’s academic program
  • No knowledge of Portuguese required
  • Partnership with students from SESC High School and staff from environmental nonprofit IMAFLORA
  • Possibility to host SESC students when they visit the Andover campus in the spring
  • Exposure to three very different places in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Piracicaba (São Paulo), and Salvador (Bahia)
  • Historical tour of Rio de Janeiro by art professor and architectural historian from the SESC School
  • Visit to certified coffee farm and civic-engagement activities in the city of Piracicaba
  • Explorations of Brazilian musical traditions and the influence of African culture during activities in Salvador, with a focus on race and gender issues
  • Short stay at Projeto TAMAR, a sea-turtle sanctuary in Praia do Forte, Bahia
  • Possibility to extend learning initiated during the trip through IP or presentations for the Andover community in the fall


More about PLACES

Students chosen to go on the trip will be required to participate in a series of orientation meetings and discussions in the spring term and attend sessions organized by the Tang Institute for all students participating in our Learning in the World programs in 2017. They will also be campus hosts for the students from the SESC School who will be visiting Andover for two weeks in April. During the summer, in the days prior to the trip, they will be expected to read/watch some supplementary materials focusing on the specific topics and activities that are central to the Brazil PLACES program curriculum. In the fall, students will have the option of pursuing an Abbot independent scholar project under the supervision of a faculty member from the Brazil Learning Community; include a Brazilian perspective on work being done in one of their courses (i.e. research paper in an economics, gender studies, or environmental science class); and/or participate in a presentation/forum/panel/symposium about what they learned that will be open to the larger campus community—ideally, during the SESC School’s April visit.

We hope for a team of 10 students and 2 to 3 faculty members in the program. They will be working in collaboration with the SESC School faculty and students in Rio de Janeiro and with IMAFLORA educators in Piracicaba.  Program fee is approximately $5,000 plus airfare, and there is need-based financial aid available. Need-based grants will be made in consultation with the Phillips Academy Financial Aid office. Preference will be given to underclassmen and to students who have not yet participated in a Learning in the World program. The financial aid for the trip is supported by a generous contribution from the Class of 1959.

Any questions about the Brazil PLACES program can be directed to Flavia Vidal (