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USAC Florianópolis Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Florianópolis, Brazil




2.5 GPA

Application Due:

9/24 for Spring, 2/24 for Fall & Academic Year, 3/4 for Summer

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This program is not available for Fall 2021 Session

This program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a 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 and learn the Portuguese language through classroom instruction and interactions with the host culture. The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member.

Academic Program

Upon arrival, all students take an intensive language and culture course, with the exception of fluent speakers. This course has four different levels and students will be assigned a level based on their previous experience of the language and general language proficiency. Classes will also include site visits and activities to provide an understanding of the local culture.

During the semester students enroll in at least 12 semester hours and can enroll in up to 18 semester hours. Students may choose to continue studying Portuguese after the initial intensive language course. The other courses offered are designed to provide students with a high level of knowledge of Brazil, its diversity of ethnicity, its wealth of culture, its economic importance, its socioeconomic problems and its natural resource management issues. The courses offered allow for a multidisciplinary approach as they include coursework in the following general areas: Anthropology, Architecture, Art, Biology, Business, Economics, Environmental Sciences, History, Management, Political Science, and Sociology. These classes are generally taught in English.

Students will take their classes with other USAC students exclusively. Classes may be more lecture-bases and less interactive than in the US and may require considerable independent research, reading, and studying. Grades may be based on only one or two major assignments or exams. Students will need to adapt and learn this new teaching style and course processes.

Program Dates

This program’s calendar follows closely to the typical U.S. academic calendar. Fall semester starts in late August and runs until mid-December. Spring semester begins in January and goes until May. There are two summer sessions. The first session is 4-weeks long and runs late May until late June. The second session starts in late June and runs until early August because it is 5 weeks long.

Application deadlines

Fall Semester and Academic Year is February 24. For either Summer session the deadline is March 4. Spring Semester is September 24.

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

The University

Classes are taken at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), which is the third largest university in the country. UFSC has an enrollment of nearly 35,000 students. It is known throughout Latin America for its leadership in research. Its green, spacious, and modern campus is relatively new and is located in a lively part of the city. The campus is close to markets, stores and cafes. The locals refer to the university as “oofski” or “the Federal”. Learn more about UFSC here.

The City

Called “Floripa” by the locals Florinanópolis is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina. It is located in the southeastern part of Brazil and has a population of roughly 425,000 residents. The city is bustling but yet relaxed and is located partly on the mainland and partly on the island of Santa Catarina. Floripa and its different neighborhoods are urban and lively while maintaining a laid-back atmosphere. The island's main attractions are the old city, sand beaches, warm sea, Atlantic rainforest, pristine trails, and wildlife sanctuaries.

The Country

Brazil occupies 47% of the continent of South America and is recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world. It is a democratic republic with the classic tripartite branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial under a checks and balances system which is formally established by the constitution. Brazil’s culture is derived from Portuguese culture but is heavily influenced by African, indigenous and non-Portuguese European cultures.

Some quick facts:

1. Brazil borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.
2. Snowfall has been recorded in Brazil.
3. Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for the past 150 years.
4. The prince of Portugal, Pedro I, declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Students have three options: Homestays, Room Rentals or Shared Apartments.


Students live with a local family. This option is recommended if the goal is to improve your Portuguese and meet locals. The 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.

Room Rentals

This may be with a family or other 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 simply renting a room in someone's home.

Shared Apartments

This involves living with other USAC students and/or other international students. This option offers a bit more independence and is a good option for students with strict dietary requirements or other preferences.

Travel Arrangements

Students make their own travel arrangements to arrive in Florianópolis by a designated date. Specific information will be provided on the students´ USAC Gateway along with information about the optional group flight. Students will be met by local USAC staff upon arrival.

Local Transportation

The university is served well by a regular bus service. The public bus system has nine terminals. The terminals are like hubs for bus services connecting different regions of the city and island so students can get nearly everywhere.


Students must have a 2.5 GPA when applying to the program and maintain this requirement after acceptance by USAC.

Program Costs

Students are charged a Program Fee on their UBill. This charge covers tuition and services provided in Florianópolis.
In addition to the Program Fee, students are assessed a University of Iowa Study Abroad Administrative Fee. The Iowa Regents mandatory International CISI insurance will also be charged to the UBill.
Housing expenses will be paid to either USAC (in the case of homestays) or directly to proprietors in Brazil.
Other costs include round trip airfare, passport fees, local transportation, books and supplies, personal expenses and student visa fees.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Fianancial Aid to explore financial aid options. Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

How to Apply

Schedule and meet with Kristine Djerf, the Study Abroad Advisor for Latin America. Appointments can be set up in person in 1111 UCC or by phone at 319-335-0353. After discussing the program and its requirements with the Advisor, the University of Iowa Study Abroad application can be completed. Final admissions decisions to the program are made by USAC.

Application Deadlines

September 24 for the Spring Semester
February 24 for Fall Semester and Academic Year
March 4 for All Summer sessions

NOTICE: For the Summer Term, this program has Summer I, Summer II, and Summer I & II options. In the UI online application under “Offering” you will be asked to choose between “Codes” A, B, or AB.

Code A=Summer I

Code B=Summer II

Code AB=Summer I & II

Please be careful to choose the correct session that corresponds to the dates you wish to be abroad. If you need help with this, please consult your study abroad advisor.

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to your USAC Program Advisor and the University of Iowa Study Abroad Advisor. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
During Early Admissions Period Administrative fee: $0
Course Fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
After Early Admissions Period, during the Regular or Late Admissions Period (varies by program) Administrative fee: $400
Course Fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
30 days before Program Start Date Administrative fee: 50%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Students will receive an acceptance email directly from USAC confirming their admission into the Florianópolis program. This email contains information about logging on to each student's individual USAC Gateway account.
Please be sure to check this account regularly, i.e. daily, as importnat documents about pre-departure, visa assistance, housing and much more are posted there for participants.


International Programs provides a mandatory online orientation for all students going abroad. The course (Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation) will automatically appear on your ICON page. During this course, such topics as health & safety, identity, cultural adjustment, and money will be discussed. It must be completed by April 30 for summer/fall/academic year terms and December 5 for the spring term.

An individualized meeting with the Study Abroad Advisor will address specific topics including registration on MyUI, billing, and course approval procedures at Iowa.

Before Traveling

Students must complete certain documents and activities before leaving for their study abroad experience and these include:
1. Uploading a copy of the information page of their passport to their study abroad application.
2. Completing and turning in a copy of their Credit Approval Form.
3. Registering in MyUI for the appropriate study abroad course.
4. Coordinate with USAC and the Consulate General of Brazil to obtain a Student Visa to enter Brazil.

Evan Wolfe, UI student in environmental policy and planning, is one of several students sharing their experiences in this spotlight video by USAC.

1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343