“My recent trip to Brazil was an immersive and enchanting experience thanks to Brazil Cultural. The excursions were thoughtfully planned with an ultimate goal of seeing Salvador, Bahia through the eyes of locals. I am overjoyed with my stay in Brazil and I would take another trip with Brazil Cultural in the future.”

Brandon Morales, BMCC 2019

“So thankful to have experience such a transformative experience with my Mellon Fam and Brazil Cultural.” 

Jazmin Miller, Brooklyn College 2015

“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.” 

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

“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. Judith Anderson, Associate Professor of Africana/African American Studies, BMCC

“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. Erica Williams, Associate Professor, Spelman College

“I never imagined my experience would be as wonderful as it was. Going to Brazil is a blessing in itself, but being able to count on such an amazing organization as Brazil Cultural really made everything so much better. Everyday that we spent learning and visiting was such a pleasure! We visited various places like the historical sites in Pelourinho and foundations for social change around Salvador. It is all thanks to the wonderful people who made this experience so unique. Javier Escudero is one of the smartest men I’ve ever met, and also one of the kindest. His passion for the history and culture of Brazil was incredibly contagious! Patricia Burgos was incredibly sweet, charismatic, and her energy is unmatched!! Even the Brazilian students that helped Brazil Cultural became such good friends with us. I wish I could relive this whole experience!” 

Nicole Calderon, University of Florida 2019

“Thank you Brazil for everything you’ve taught me. Thanks Brazil Cultural for showing me the beautiful people with a rich culture and amazing food. The experience of helping children in the community was unbelievable. Also, thanks god for providing me this opportunity that will forever change my life. Obrigada” 

Cristal Garcia, BMCC 2019

“My experience in Brazil was phenomenal and worth while and I have Brazil Cultural to thank for that. Bahia felt like home. I was able to learn outside my classroom and I think the best way to learn is through experience. The people, the culture, food, religion and music is beautiful. Brazil Cultural made it easy for me and my peers to communicate with the locals despite the fact that I don’t speak Portuguese. Through the exchange program, I was able to communicate with people and that felt good. During my stay, I was opportune to visit historical sites like the African museum, Itaparica island, Cachoeira, the market, beach, the famous Pelourinho, non-profit organizations like Bahia street and the Steve Biko Institute. We even attended a soccer match, a Bale folclorico, quilombos where we practiced capoeira and also attended an actual candomblé ceremony! Getting to actually talk to the locals and eating Bahian foods was awesome. There is way too much to say and I wish I could go on. All thanks to Javier, Victoria, and every one who made our trip worthwhile, and to the lovely students who guided us throughout. My stay in Brazil is one I won’t be forgetting soon and it is one place everyone should visit.”

Yetunde Opeyemi, BMCC 2019

“I am so grateful for the Mellon Mays program at Brooklyn College and Brazil Cultural for the experience I had in Bahia. I met so many truly amazing human beings and partied with them and snuck away into “dangerous” places beyond tourist boarders a bit to get a glimpse at the reality of the second largest population of Black folk in the diaspora.” 

Terron Q. Davis, Brooklyn College 2015

“I would highly recommend using Brazil Cultural to craft and organize any future study abroad experiences. They stand out on their field and provide the most cost efficient, knowledge rich, immersion experience that I could imagine.” 

Charles Broyles, UNC-Charlotte 2017

“Thank you for working to organize such an amazing retreat, it was definitely life-changing experience!”

Alexandra Antoine, Black Arts Retreat 2017

“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

“I studied abroad in Brazil. 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

“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

“My study abroad experience in Brazil 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

“I studied in Brazil. 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

“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

Studying abroad in Brazil 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

“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