The UW-Madison Global Gateway program is offered in cooperation with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The CIEE staff planned and led a range of organized excursions throughout Rio including a welcome dinner our first night, a visit to Corcovado to see Cristo, a ride up Pão de Açucar, a day trip to Petrópolis, a tour of Pequena África, a tour of Rio’s North Zone, a bike ride around several of Rio’s lakes, a Samba lesson, a Vasco vs Bahia soccer match, a tour of Santa Marta, and a visit to O Jardim Botânico. In addition to the CIEE planned excursions, we also go on our own trips to places such as hiking in Tijuca Rainforest, Pedra do Telégrafo, and seeing various beaches such as Ipanema, Copacabana, and Urca.
We are taking two different classes while in Rio. Monday to Friday we meet at the CIEE building for class, which is about a 15-minute walk from where we stay. UW-Madison Professor Kathryn Sánchez teaches the first class where we discuss the Culture and History of Rio. A unique opportunity about this program is that we get to actually see and experience firsthand the themes and places we learn about in class. Professor Patrícia Galvao Ferreira teaches the second class, Global Governance, which examines Brazil’s role in global issues such as climate change, public health, international property rights, human rights, and international trade and finance. Again, actually being in Rio enhances this class as we are here in a time with political protests, an interim president, Michel Temer, and Dilma Rousseff’s impending impeachment trials.
The bright yellow building that houses CIEE, Villa Aymoré, contains a lot of history and is currently being revitalized and beautified. It contains a range of businesses including CIEE, a hotel, and a coffee shop that is currently under construction. One noteworthy part of the history is the original stone from a path behind the building where the Emperor Dom Pedro I is rumored to have traveled to “pray at church,” while in reality he visited his lover.