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Brazil: Sports, Youth, and Social Justice (Summer)

Brazil: Sports, Youth, and Social Justice (Summer)

Learn how sports have provided a key strategy for engaging young people in positive change and working toward social justice in Brazil.

With Brazil's preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games as a backdrop, study how sports and social justice interact in Brazil. Interact with soccer clubs, NGOs, and social justice groups as you consider the transformative potential of young people's engagement in sports. Examine where sports fit into Brazilian culture and popular imagination and how sports have intersected with or challenged racial, gender, and other forms of social exclusion.

Major topics of study include:

  • Social movements in Brazil’s past and present
  • Ways in which civil society and governmental organizations develop sports policy and practice as an instrument of human development and social justice
  • How race, gender, and sexuality have affected access to sports participation, influenced media portrayals of players, and currently inform new sports initiatives
  • How sports are being used to offer at-risk youth opportunities to develop self-confidence and self-esteem
  • How mega-sporting events fit into Brazilian society and how politics and the media portray these events

Please note: The program will occur before the Olympic Games and will not include any attendance of events.


Live and study in Fortaleza.

Fortaleza is a vibrant city with a wide range of sports options and innumerable NGOs working to promote positive social change. While soccer is the most popular sport in the city and Fortaleza is home to a number of soccer clubs, tournaments and championships, the city also offers capoeira, beach and water sports, and other activities. During your time in Fortaleza, you will study Brazilian culture and learn about the local social and political context. You will also be immersed in Portuguese language study and daily life in Fortaleza through interaction with your host family.

Volunteer with NGOs.

Discover firsthand how sports are being used to make a difference in the lives of young people. Volunteer with NGOs engaging youth in different sports such as soccer, volleyball, futsal, and capoeira. Learn how capoeira is being used to offer at-risk youth opportunities to develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Hear diverse perspectives from local community members.

Throughout the program, you will have opportunities to interact with local soccer clubs, young athletes, activists, and others. For example, you will participate in panel discussions with former professional footballers working with youth from communities most impacted by poverty and social exclusion.

Thematic seminar on sports, youth, and social justice

Learn about social movements in Brazil’s past and present and study how race, gender, and sexuality have affected access to sports participation. Consider how civil society and governmental organizations develop sports policy and practice as an instrument of human development and social justice. By the end of the course, you will have a greater awareness of Brazil's struggles for social equity and the ways in which sports are being used to create social change.

Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Sports, Youth, and Social Justice – syllabus
(LACB3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this core seminar, students explore the potential relationship between sports and social justice for Brazilian youth. To contextualize this study, students first learn about struggles for social equity and the fight against diverse forms of oppression in Brazil. In particular, they inquire about the socioeconomic realities for young people. As NGOs, schools, and the State have searched for strategies to engage youth in the construction of a more just society, sports has emerged as one particularly promising area in which to work. The seminar explores numerous modalities of sports and sports policy to help students understand how sports in Brazil can be both an expression of social injustice and an important instrument in its eradication. This seminar provides the intellectual frame for the program and allows students to think deeply about the power and potential of sports in the movement for social change.

Portuguese for Social and Development Studies I – syllabus
(PORT1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Portuguese for Social and Development Studies II – syllabus
(PORT1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Portuguese for Social and Development Studies III – syllabus
(PORT2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in beginning or intermediate classes. Special arrangements are available for advanced speakers of Portuguese.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

FIFA fan festDuring your time in Fortaleza, you will visit a number of field sites relevant to the program’s theme. Visit Arena Castelão (part of a massive investment in sports stadiums to host the 2014 World Cup) and the recently constructed Olympic Development Centre in Fortaleza, which provides training facilities for 26 Olympic sports. You will visit the sports clubs of the professional teams Ceara and Fortaleza to gain perspective on the importance of soccer culture in Brazil and problems of fan violence and racism in sports. Visits to sports radio and television centers are also planned to provide you with the opportunity to understand how media and sports are linked to wider social and economic issues in Brazil. Through these visits, you will consider the effects of mega sporting events in Brazil.

You will also participate in a visit to a project sponsored by the state and local government through a visit to the Coco Ecological Park. You will examine how local government organizes and offers various sports and leisure activities benefiting children and adolescents in situations of personal and social risk. The program promotes football, futsal, skating, gymnastics, capoeira, handball, karate, tai chi chuan, walking, jogging, and fitness classes for children and youth, all of which decrease physical inactivity, idleness, and crime rates in the region. Additionally, children and youth are educated in the importance of preserving the park, creating ecological awareness.

You will visit the Secretariat of Sports for the State of Ceara. The Secretary of Sports will provide you with a global perspective on public policy related to sports. More specifically, you will explore the working of the state-based program Segundo Tempo. The program Segundo Tempo constitutes a joint initiative of the Ministry of Sport and the Secretariat of Sports for the State of Ceará, aiming to democratize access to sports in formal and informal education settings. This program is aimed at implementing the constitutional provision that defines access to sports as a constitutional right of all Brazilian citizens. Segundo Tempo offers sports activities in schools and communities around the state, aiming at helping to promote social inclusion, physical well-being, a healthy lifestyle, and the integral development of children and adolescents living in disadvantaged communities.

A weekend excursion to a coastal fishing village—Cumbuco or Canoa Quebrada—will provide you with an opportunity to participate in sports programs promoting social development for youth through various water-based sports, horseback riding, and capoeira.

Bill Calhoun, Academic Director

AD and staffBill Calhoun first came to Brazil as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee to study Brazilian culture at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. He received his BA in political science and international relations in 1978 and went on to earn his MA in Latin American studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1980. While attending the University of Wisconsin Law School, Mr. Calhoun spent a summer in Salvador, Bahia, as a Tinker Foundation Fellow. He returned to Bahia in 1986 as a Fulbright scholar. He joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988.

Mr. Calhoun has participated in several international investigations of the systematic civil, political, and human rights violations of minorities in Brazil. He served as a member of the World Council of Churches team to investigate discrimination in Brazil and worked for two years as an instructor for the Latin American Catholic Bishops Conference (CELAM) in Bogotá, Colombia. In this position, Mr. Calhoun taught and assisted community and religious organizations in thirteen Latin American countries, including Brazil. In addition to his academic and professional interest in Brazil, Mr. Calhoun has conducted research and worked with community organizations in a personal capacity there.

In his role as academic director, Mr. Calhoun oversees every aspect of the Brazil: Sports, Youth, and Social Justice summer program as well as the semester program, Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development. In addition to delivering lectures, advising students, and coordinating academic seminars, Mr. Calhoun helps plan the program’s educational excursions and works to ensure that students’ academic needs are met.

Oélito Brandao, Program Assistant

Oélito Brandao works with the academic director to help oversee the program’s day-to-day activities. He manages the program offices and lecture facilities as well as the SIT library and computer center. Mr. Brandao has been associated with the SIT program in Fortaleza for almost 20 years. He has a BA in educational pedagogy from Universidade Estadual Vale do Acaraú and is active in several organizations and social movements in the community.

Caliny Pinheiro, Program Assistant

Caliny was born in Quixadá, Ceará, and started working for the SIT Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development program as an intern in 2003. Caliny became a full member of the team after finishing her degree as an accountant at the State University of Ceará in 2005. Caliny assists the academic director in everything that relates to the financial sector: she is responsible for all of the payments and purchases made during the program. In addition, Caliny plays a crucial role in organizing events and keeping track of all program details.

Lecturers for this program may include:

Professor Linda Maria de Pontes Gondim, PhD

Dr. Linda Maria de Pontes Gondim received her BA in social sciences from the Federal University of Ceará. Her master’s degree in urban and regional planning is from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and she holds a doctorate in urban and regional planning from Cornell University. Additionally, she has a postdoctoral degree from the University of Maryland. Professor Gondim is currently a professor at the Federal University of Ceará and teaches in the undergraduate program of social sciences and the graduate program of sociology. In addition, Professor Gondim has extensive experience in the areas of urban and regional planning, urban sociology, and sociology of law. Her areas of research include urban social movements, popular participation, research methodology, and the planning and management of the city of Fortaleza. She has published in several scholarly journals. Her articles include “Slum Planet” (2007), “A New Model of Urban Development” (1992), “Social Urban Movements: Organization and Internal Democracy” (1991), and “Planning Practice within Public Bureaucracy: A New Perspective on Roles of Planners” (1988). Her published books include Research as Intellectual Handcraft: Considerations about a Method of Common Sense (2006), Clientelism and Modernity in Public Policies: The Governments of Change in Ceará (1998), and Planners in the Face of Power: The Case of the Metropolitan Region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1987).

Review Professor Gondim’s full CV.

Professor Gloria Diogenes

Professor Gloria Diogenes has a degree in social sciences from the Federal University of Ceará (1980), an MA in sociology from the Federal University of Ceará (1989), and a PhD in sociology from the Federal University of Ceará (1998), and she has done post-doctorate work at the Institute of Social Sciences ICS University Lisbon (2013). She leads the Research Group on Youth for the CNPq Research Directory. She is a member-founder of the Luso-Brazilian Network of Researchers in Arts and Urban-RAIU for the CNPq Research Directory. She is associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences and the Graduate Program in Sociology at the Federal University of Ceara. She specializes in anthropology and sociology, with an emphasis on urban anthropology, youth, the city, and urban art.

Professor Henrique Antunes Cunha Junior, PhD

Professor Henrique Antunes Cunha, Jr. studied sociology at the state university Júlio de Mesquita Filho in São Paulo and electrical engineering at the University of São Paulo. Professor Cunha holds a master’s degree in history from the Universite de Loraine in France and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Loraine, France. Professor Cunha is currently a tenured professor at Federal University of Ceará’s Graduate School of Education, where he specializes in the areas of African culture, Afro-descendance, urban space, ethnic relations, history, and African and Afro-descendant culture. Professor Cunha is a member of the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality and is president of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers. His publications include “Racism, a Structural and Ideological Problem for Brazilian Social Relationships” (2008) and “Unfinished Abolition and the Education of Afro-descendants” (2008). His published books include Urban Space and Afro-descendance: Black Urban Spatiality (2007) and Education and Afro-descendance in Brazil (2007).

Review Professor Cunha’s full CV.

Professor Francisco Amaro Gomes de Alencar, PhD

Professor Francisco Amaro Gomes de Alencar holds a BA in geography, a master’s degree in development and environmental studies, and a doctorate in sociology from the Federal University of Ceará. He is currently a professor in the Department of Geography at the Federal University of Ceará. His teaching and research apply primarily to the areas of rural settlements, agrarian reform, land tenure, and management of rural settlements. Professor Amaro has worked extensively with governmental agencies such as IDACE (Development Agrarian Institute of Ceará) and nongovernmental organizations including PNUD BRAZIL (United Nations) to plan debates and conferences. He also has assisted with the implementation of policies relating to land reform and rural settlements. His publications include “Reflections on the Participation of Settlers in the Municipal Election” (2005) and “Grassroots and Government Conflict” (2003). He has co-edited several books and published Intimate Secrets: The Management of Settlements of the Agrarian Reform (2000).

Professor Zelma Madeira, PhD

Professor Zelma Madeira has a degree in social work from the Federal University of Piauí (1991), a master’s in development sociology from the Federal University of Ceará (1998), and a doctorate in sociology from the Federal University of Ceará with research based in social thought, imagination, and religion (2009). She is currently the state coordinator of public policies promoting racial equality in Ceará, professor of social courses at the State University of Ceará, and coordinator of the master’s program in social work, labor, and social issues there. She is also coordinator of the African NUAFRO laboratory on Brazilianness, gender, and family and leader of the research group on ethnic-racial relations, culture, and society at the State University of Ceará. She has experience in the areas of sociology and social services, with emphasis on the following topics: family, gender, ethnic and race relations, social policy, policy of social welfare, culture, and religions of African origin.

Review Professor Madeira’s full CV.

homestayYou will stay in the home of a local family in Fortaleza for approximately five weeks. Through this homestay, you will gain valuable insight into urban Brazilian life. Host families are chosen for their interest in, and connections to, the program theme. Most host families come from working- and middle-class backgrounds and represent a cross-section of ethnicities.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels and/or small hotels.

Program Dates: Summer 2016

Program Start Date:  Jun 15, 2016

Program End Date:    Jul 27, 2016

The dates listed above are subject to change. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Mar 18, 2016

SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.

Tuition: $6,750

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Cost of all lecturers who instruct students in:
    • Sports, youth, and social justice
    • Portuguese language
  • All educational excursions 
  • Educational tours and meetings with NGOs, youth athletes, and local experts
  • Health insurance throughout the entire program period

Room & Board: $2,050

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Fortaleza), on all excursions, and during the evaluation period
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered by SIT Study Abroad, directly or through a stipend

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.

Visa Expenses: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: Not yet available.

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.

Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.


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