Brazil Cultural

Patricia Burgos, Director, Public Relations

Patricia studied art at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, and fashion at the
Universidade Vega de Almeida in Rio de Janeiro. She recently spent three
years in the United States mastering her English and also her Spanish

Patricia has valuable experience working as an English and Portuguese teacher,
as a public relations, and as coordinator of home stays for students


Javier Escudero, Director, Educational and Cultural Programs

Javier (Ph.D., Spanish and Latin American Literature, University of Virginia, 1992)
has worked as an Assistant & Associate Professor at Penn State (1992-2006), and has presented papers in over 30 universities or international conferences in the U.S. and abroad

Between 2001-2003, Javier was appointed Director of the Instituto Cervantes of Rio de Janeiro and Spain's Consul of Education of Rio. During the last twenty years, he has also coordinated and directed several university abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil

Javier has also worked as Interport Lecturer for Brazil for Semester at Sea (Feb. 2008), as Smithsonian Journeys' Study Leader on the program Historic Landmarks & Natural Treasures of Brazil (2007), and as TDI's Guest Lecturer on The Mighty Amazon program (2007)

Javier is currently writing his fourth book (Through the Lens of Pierre Verger:
Photographs of a Multicultural United States, 1934 & 1937
) and is preparing
a new photographic exibit (Bahia in Black... & White)


Marco Jose S. Lima, Project Director, Amazon Region

Marco is Researcher at the Amazon Ichitofauna of the University of Florida,
Coordinator of the Flooded Forest Projects Related to Affluent Rivers
from the Andes for the Instituto de Pesquisas da Amazonia
(Amazon Research Institute), and Member of the Amazon
Biostudies Board of the University of Wisconsin.

In addition, Marco has assisted National Geographic in several projects
in Brazil for almost 20 years


Luise Reis, Portuguese Language Program Coordinator & Law Advisor

B.A., Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil and B.A in Law by the Universidade Catolica de Salvador


David T. Haberly, Ph.D., Professor of Portuguese, University of Virginia, USA


Verbena Rocha, Ph.D., Professor of Literature, Universidade Estadual da Bahia, Brazil



Brazil Cultural has collaborated with prestigious faculty members coordinating Study Abroad Programs in Brazil

Dr. Andrea Barnwell, Spelman College Museum Director
Dr. Angela Yang, Northfield Mount Hermon School
Dr. Barbara Carter, Spelman College
Dr. Bengu Erguner Tekinalp, Drake University
Dr. Cristina Wildemurthm, Drake University
Dr. Cristine Buzinde, Penn State University
Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence, UNCF, Spelman College
Dr. Dawn Stinchcomb, Purdue University
Ms. Daise Bede, Penn State
Dr. David Haberly, University of Virginia
Dr. Eli Carter, University of Virginia
Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, University of South Florida
Dr. Erica Williams, Spelman College
Dr. Felicia Preciado, Penn State University
Dr. Geoffrey Mitchell, Maryville College
Dr. Julia Cuervo Hewitt, Penn State University
Dr. Karlene McRae, Swarthmore College (now at University of Chicago)
Dr. Judith Anderson, College of New Rochelle (now at BMCC)
Dr. Mariano Magalhães, Augustana College
Dr. Melvin Rahming, ICCL, Morehouse College
Dr. Octavio di Leo, IES Abroad
Dr. Rosamond King, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Dr. Rosana Resende, University of Florida



Dr. Barbara Carter, Professor Emerita, Spelman College

"Javier and Patricia of Brazil Cultural have been wonderful to work with. They have provided us with an excellent curriculum that includes knowledgeable speakers and wonderful opportunities to interact with local groups and organizations; outstanding excursions; and well chosen home stay families. Our students love Javier and Patricia and the entire Brazil Cultural experience.

We chose Brazil Cultural as our program partner after we had interviewed organizations and several universities because of its flexibility and ability to tailor a program to our particular needs and interests. We have not been disappointed!

Javier is experienced, professional and very knowledgeable, with an extremely wide network of contacts that has made it possible for Brazil Cultural to tailor a program to Spelman College's specific needs and interests. We have been very happy with this relationship since its inception in 2010. Spelman College has worked with Brazil Cultural since 2010. It has been a wonderful partnership. Brazil Cultural has been able to tailor a program to Spelman's specific needs and interests. Students love the program!

Spelman College's interest in Afro-Brazilian culture and history in the context of contemporary Brazilian society has been well addressed by Brazil Cultural and its staff. We have been provided with excellent speakers, knowledgeable local contacts, wonderful excursions and lots of fun. Our students love the program."


Dr. Erica Williams, Associate Professor, Spelman College

"It has been an immense honor and pleasure to work closely with Javier and Patricia of Brazil Cultural for the last five years. I first met Javier in 2010 when my colleagues and I traveled to Salvador and Recife to work on developing a summer study abroad program. After visiting several institutions and universities in both states, we chose Brazil Cultural as our partnering organization because of the level of professionalism and expertise that Javier brought to the program. Each year, Javier works hard to ensure that our students have an enjoyable and transformative experience. Brazil Cultural has experience organizing programs tailored to the particular needs and interests of the partnering institution.

Our program has an excellent balance of in-classroom instruction and excursions to important historic and cultural sites in and around Salvador. Our students appreciate the kindness, knowledge, professionalism, and support that they receive from Javier and Patricia, who truly go the extra mile to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I have already recommended Brazil Cultural to several colleagues at other institutions who want to do programs in Salvador. As a Co-Director of the program, I could not imagine a better partner to help bring the transformative experience of study abroad to more students at Spelman College."


Dr. Judith Anderson, Director or the College of New Rochelle Program in Brazil.
Assistant Professor of Africana/African American Studies, BMCC Center for Ethnic Studies

"As an professor and researcher on Afro-Latin America I cannot speak highly enough about Brazil Cultural and the quality of educational and cultural programming they provide. They are truly the leaders in the area of "roots" tourism, but do it with a type of ethical consciousness that is rare in this field. I was thoroughly impressed with the way they engage and incorporate black businesses and non-profit organizations as well as provide opportunities for the training, education, and general advancement of minority scholars in Brazil. It is obvious this could only be achieved because of the real friendships and mutual level of respect they have garnered over the years from their collaborators. Their integrated team provided seamless logistics and translation services with a flexibility and a program that was tailor-made
to our needs and concerns.

I was impressed how they outdid themselves every day with the quality of activities and speakers. My students and I still can't stop talking about our amazing experiences in Brazil. We went there not knowing what to expect, but left feeling like we left behind family and we cannot wait to return. In addition to a high level of professionalism and exceeding all my demanding expectations, they were really fun people to spend time with! I highly recommend Brazil Cultural to anyone who sincerely wants to learn about the history and culture of Brazil. I know I will be using their services again in the near future with my professional and student groups."


Dr. Geoffrey Mitchell, Associate Professor of Spanish, Maryville College

"A year before I led my travel-study program at my college, I contacted several logistics providers in Brazil and made plans to meet them during an exploratory trip. Brazil Cultural was the only one that offered to help me arrange housing for my exploratory trip to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. This personal touch offered even before we signed a contract, along with Javier's connections and expertise, were the primary factors that led me
to choose Brazil Cultural.

The next year when the students accompanied me to Brazil, Brazil Cultural did not let me down. The attention to detail (cold bottles of water when Javier picked us up at the airport!), his rapport with students and faculty leaders, wide knowledge regarding Brazilian history and culture, and perfect planning and execution made my travel-study course memorable, fun, and worry-free. For future travel-study courses, I will definitely use Brazil Cultural."


Mr. Matthew Jordan, Business Classes, PSU and UVa Programs

"Learning about the cultural differences between Brazil and the US is very important, eye-opening, and a lot of fun. But learning about the Brazilian economy is also important and really helps students understand its role in the Global Economy. The world continues to get smaller, and when students can come to Brazil and learn about its history, its culture, its language, and its business environment, it can truly give students a strong appreciation of the growing economic influence that one of the 4 BRIC countries has on the region and the worldwide market."



"I studied abroad in Salvador do Bahia in 2007, and it was the best thing I did during my time at Penn State (class of '08). Having the time to sink into a completely new culture and understand it on more than a shallow, vacation basis changed the course of my studies and my life. Thanks to my time in the program, I became an avid traveler and ended up moving to Peru in 2009. I am now the Program Director of the Alma Children's Education Foundation in Peru and Bolivia, and I split my time among Cusco, La Paz, and the Peruvian and Bolivian Amazon. I still have close friends in Brazil and have visited since my time in the program."

Ian McGroarty, Penn State Program 2007. Our Team Director, Alma Children's Education Foundation, Cusco, Peru


"Studying abroad in Brazil was the single best experience of my undergraduate years. I learned about a vibrant culture and gained confidence and independence, all against the backdrop of a beautiful country. Describing this experience during an interview is one of the reasons I was hired into a top investment management firm my senior year and my career has only gotten better since then. I encourage all college students I speak with to incorporate studying abroad into their studies and to do it in a non-traditional location to get the most out of it (trust me, you'll make it to London at some point in your life). I'm still so glad I did this."

Shumona Roy Cummings. Penn State Program 2005. Manager at Deloitte, Advisory Risk Services


"I studied abroad in Brazil in 2014. I had an amazing experience and would not change it for anything. The classes and experiences I had really opened my eyes to different cultures and how to communicate and do business with other cultures. I learned the advantages and disadvantages of doing business in Brazil. Since I got back, I have gotten so many questions about why I chose to study abroad there, especially from recruiters. Brazil is such an amazing and unique country, a large country and emerging economy. Businesses are realizing the great potential and opportunities in Brazil. I enjoyed every aspect of my abroad experience. The home-stay was a great way to be submerged into the culture, and I really felt like I was learning more than I could imagine from my host family. The courses were very useful, applicable, and interesting. I loved the field trips and first hand experiences I got. I encourage everyone to step out of the comfort zone and travel to one of the most amazing countries on this planet."

Marin Merge. Penn State Program, 2014. BS in Accounting


"My experience in Brazil (2013) was absolutely amazing! I think about Brazil every day and that's not an exaggeration. The program was phenomenal. Learning about history gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culture. I will always consider Salvador my second home. Our home stays gave us an experience we never would have received staying at a hotel or dorm. We were able to learn the language, taste delicious home made food and of course drink home made juice. We also learned about business in an emerging market, including the corporate culture and what the major industries are in Brazil. I now feel confident in my ability to work for an international company and maybe even return to Brazil. I would recommend this experience to anyone. I would not have changed it for the world and am so glad I chose Brazil over another program. I mean, what other program allows you to go to Rio de Janeiro, Itaparica, Salvador, and swim with pink Dolphins in the Amazon River!?".

Alanna Spurlock, Penn State Program 2014. Works for Rite Aid Corporation


"My study abroad experience in Brazil (2006) was more than studying about its culture and emerging economy, it was living it and experiencing its vibrant culture. The rich program not only allowed me learn about its culture, language, and economy, but also experience the Brazilian life from its food, social scene, to some of its cultural identities such as Capoeira. My time in Brazil gave me the international and cultural experience to effectively succeed as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and as an international conscious citizen. I highly recommend this rich program for those looking to learn about a culturally rich country making its mark as a 21st century global, economic power."

Michael Rodriguez, Penn State Program 2006


"I studied in Brazil in 2009. Coming out of Penn State, I got internship offers from several professional services firms in Consulting and Investment Banking. I interned with the Ernst & Young (EY), and eventually joined EY full-time in the Advisory/Consulting practice. I am currently a Senior Consultant. In every interview that I have ever had, recruiters comment on my study abroad experience in Brazil. Without fail, people are intrigued by my non-traditional study abroad choice and admire the decision to go to such an incredible country to live and learn. My experience studying abroad was invaluable to my growth academically, personally, and professionally. Academically, the program in Brazil allowed me to get an International Business minor and advance my Smeal business degree. Personally, the program let me experience the beauty of Brazil, enjoy the music, food, art, and rich history that the country has to offer. Professionally, my experiences in Brazil made me a more attractive candidate to employers when looking for internships and jobs relative to people who studied abroad in traditional locations such as England, Italy, or Spain. My time in Brazil made step out of my comfort zone and adapt to a new culture, which has been useful in transitioning to the fast-pace business environment on Wall Street. My decision to study abroad in Brazil was
one of the best decisions I have ever made."

Brian Stern. Penn State Program 2009. B.S. in Accounting, Masters of Accounting


"Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to grow and learn as an individual in ways that could never be possible by taking a course at Penn State. My decision to study abroad in Brazil through the Brazil Cultural program is one of the best decisions I have ever made because of the people I met and the places it has taken me too. My parents were slightly apprehensive about my choice to study in Brazil over traditional areas such as Europe because of its reputation as a "dangerous" country in the media. However, I had absolutely no bad experiences where I ever felt in danger and in fact, I felt at home as soon as I landed. The people of Brazil are the most welcoming, loving, and happy people that I have had the pleasure of getting to know. If you have any interest in meeting new people, eating delicious food, roaming beautiful beaches, immersing yourself in rich culture, this trip is the right one for you!"

Becky Kang. Penn State Program 2014


"Studying abroad in Brazil (2009) was one of the best decisions I could have ever made in college! It was a great opportunity to travel outside the United States, learn a new culture, and expand my business knowledge in just 6 weeks. The program was a mix of business classes and cultural excursions, and both immersed us in the Brazilian culture. Traveling around with Dr. Javier Escudero, my classmates, and our tour leaders, I felt a part of the country, an experience a tourist would never have. After studying abroad in Brazil, I was so intrigued with traveling that I made it a priority in my life. 6 years after completing the program, I have traveled to 4 continents and several Caribbean countries, and it all started with Brazil! I can't wait to go back and visit!"

Tiffany Guerre, Penn State Program 2014. PSU 2011, MBA at PSU: 2015. Location Planning Analyst, Ross Stores, Inc.


"I traveled to Brazil in the summer of 2013 through Penn State with the Brazil Cultural program. It consisted of two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, one week in Itaparica, and about three weeks in Bahia. Of course, every student dreams of the quintessential travel abroad experience in Europe. Even so, I ended up in Brazil with no knowledge of culture or the language and just days into my trip I realized it was absolutely the best decision I could have made. Javier and Patricia gave all of us the most authentic Brazilian experience possible. We had beautiful nights in the fabulous city of Rio and relaxing naps on the best beaches in the entire world. Of course we visited all the main tourist attractions that bring people from all over the world to see such as Christ the Redeemer, but Javier made sure we experienced more than that especially with our week in Itaparica. We stayed on a beach in a family's house and met in Hammocks for class. Imagine your backyard being a beach with no tourists in site and horses walking along the sand during sunset. Brazil is much more than just a paradise; it is
an incredible country with a rich history.

I learned more about Brazilian culture in the six weeks I spent there (under the tutelage of the most interesting man in the world) than I had ever learned about any other foreign culture in all my years of education. I was exposed to foreign businesses in a way that I would never had been able to in a formal classroom in the United States. After returning from Brazil, I graduated from Penn State in 2014 and am currently in a Master's program studying Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The exposure to Human Resources and other professions in Brazil fueled a passion for international consulting and I hope to return to Brazil soon. Javier and Patricia exposed us to all Brazil had to offer, and there’s nothing quite
like it anywhere else in the world."

Cassandra LaBar. Penn State Program 2013


"My study abroad experience in Brazil was incredible. Beach every day? Sure. Out every night? Yeah, if that's your cup of tea. Those things were nice, but they're not what made my time there unforgettable. The experience was awesome because the program's director, Javier, and his wife, Patricia, are two of the best people you'll ever meet, in any country, anywhere in the world. Javier's knowledge and passion are infectious. Patricia is an absolute sweetheart. They treat their students like family. Speaking of families, the host family my friend and I lived with was truly lovely and more than accommodating. We didn't speak Portuguese, they didn't speak English, and it didn't matter - we got along just fine! They took care of us and for that I can't be more thankful. Without a doubt, the most important thing my time in Brazil taught me was how to adapt. I arrived in Salvador completely out of my comfort zone: a foreign country, culture, and language. But I learned how to get by, how to communicate, how to relate to people. Truly invaluable, all-around life skills. I can't recommend the program enough. Broaden your horizons. Go to Brazil."

Erik Aylward. Penn State Program in Brazil 2008. PSU Graduated 2010. T-shirt designer & internet marketer (self-employed)



University of South Florida

"Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman Develops Global Citizens, Not Global Tourists"

University of South Florida Program Flyer

"Students travel to Brazil"

"Bulls in Brazil: World Cup and More"

"Bridging the Local and Global". USF Patel College of Global Sustainability

"Research Relations Matter"

"The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families"


Spelman College

The Art and Culture of Brazil Flyer

Photos from the 2011-2012 International Faculty Seminar in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

UNCF Seminar in Bahia, 2013

"Perry to lead seminar in Brazil" UNCF 2012

"A Passionate Life of Global Cultural Research"

"Diretora da Spelman Visita a Biko"


Purdue University

"The BCC and African American Studies Travel to Brazil"


College of New Rochelle

"Sílvio Humberto recebeu a visita de estudantes afro-americanos"

Fotos da visita a Camara Municipal de Salvador


Professional references available upon request

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