Skip to main content

Santa Catarina, Brazil

Santa Catarina, Brazil


About the Region

Santa Catarina is the smallest southern Brazilian state, best known for its natural and cultural diversity. Its capital city is Florianópolis, an island off the southern coastline and home to nearly 450,000 people. Santa Catarina’s main industries include technology, tourism, traditional fisheries, and agriculture. Santa Catarina has a humid subtropical climate, falling just short of a true tropical climate. The summer is warm and with high exposure to sun, while winter can bring snow in the nearby mountain ranges. Fellows may be placed throughout this region, but often live in more rural settings, with many host families located in small fishing villages. With 560 kilometers of coast line in the state, fellows are often found at the beach on weekends, enjoying their incredible natural surroundings.

About the Organization

Global Citizen Year is an award-winning gap year fellowship using the power of a deep, global immersion to unlock curiosity, conviction and courage in next generation leaders like you. Each year they recruit a group of exceptional high school graduates with demonstrated leadership potential - and use the formative transition between high school and college to ignite your passion and purpose. Live with a host family in a community in Africa, Latin America or Asia and apprentice to local efforts advancing education, health and sustainability. Through real-world experience, you’ll develop insights that shape your character, guide your education and prepare you to work toward shared solutions that advance the greater good. Become part of a movement of young leaders that the world needs now.

Fellowship Structure

Tufts 1+4 Fellows will begin their preparation remotely through Global Citizen Year’s summer campaign, which will include language training and readings about Brazil. Fellows will attend  the Tufts 1+4 orientation on the Tufts campus in late August, followed by Global Citizen Year’s Pre-Departure Training in California before traveling to Brazil in September. Service will begin with a four-week, in-country orientation that features intensive language study, workshops and training. Full-time service placements will run to the beginning of April, after which fellows will participate in both in-country and California-based re-entry training. Fellows will return home in mid-April, and will participate in the Tufts Post-Service Retreat and ongoing workshops and meetings as Tufts students in September.

Language Training

No prior experience with Portuguese is required. Fellows will participate in a pre-departure language program to achieve a minimum proficiency in Portuguese prior to departure, and will receive additional language training in-country, including intensive language classes during orientation, and ongoing weekly classes for the duration of the program.

Housing and Meals

During service in Brazil, fellows primarily live in a homestay with a local family that also provides meals. Living with a host family offers an immersive opportunity to experience the culture of your new community, and to build relationships with locals. Host families are carefully selected to ensure the safety and comfort of fellows, who will have a private room within the home. During Global Citizen Year training and other group activities, fellows may stay in dormitories, hotel rooms, retreat centers or host families.

Support Services and Health

Note: In order to be eligible to participate in Global Citizen Year, Fellows must be able to meet Global Citizen Year’s Essential Eligibility Criteria. If you have any questions about these requirements, please contact us.

In addition to receiving ongoing support from Tisch College staff and senior management throughout the bridge year, fellows in Santa Catarina will benefit from three levels of local support: Global Citizen Year staff, individual placement supervisors, and host families. Global Citizen Year local staff will hold regular meetings, conduct monthly site visits to each placement, offer ongoing workshops, and plan and supervise group excursions. They are also available 24 hours a day to assist fellows with any issues that arise throughout their bridge year, whether related to health, home stay, service placement, or other areas. Local placement supervisors will oversee fellows’ daily work and contribute to their learning and growth. Host families contribute to fellows’ cultural integration and provide a safe and supportive home environment throughout the bridge year.

Global Citizen Year has developed a list of recommended urgent and primary care providers in Santa Catarina and the surrounding area and will assist fellows with any health concerns that arise during their bridge year. Fellows will have international medical insurance through Global Citizen Year as well as international emergency medical coverage through Tufts University’s partnership with International SOS.


Fellows will use the public transportation system or walk to their placements.

Skills Fellow Will Develop

Global Citizen Year’s leadership model focuses on six learning spheres:

  • Self-Awareness: You act from a place of deep personal understanding and purpose, and are aware of the impact you have on others.
  • Adaptability: You are able to grow, learn, and adjust in a constantly changing environment without compromising who you are.
  • Accountability: You are committed to upholding the experience, safety, and needs of self and others.
  • Collaboration: You take the initiative to work from diverse groups of people in order to magnify and deepen impact.
  • Global Perspective: You analyze and appreciate issues from multiple perspectives with curiosity and empathy.
  • Cross Cultural Communication: You are able to effectively exchange ideas across cultures and background.

In addition, fellows will develop a commitment and community to lead future change, and champion the bridge year for future students.

Activities Beyond Service

Fellows are encouraged to independently engage in additional activities, such as teaching English, leading or participating in a local sports team, or learning a new trade (such as crafts or tailoring). There will also be ample opportunities to participate in local cultural events and excursions to culturally important sites. During the service year, fellows will participate in Global Citizen Year’s three training seminars. These week-long workshops provide structured training and reflection, outdoor and cultural activities, and opportunities for fellows to connect with one another and Global Citizen Year staff, away from their host communities. Towards the end of the service year, each Fellow will be responsible for designing and executing an independent project in collaboration with community members, based on an assessment of the community’s interests and needs as well as a self-assessment of where the fellow is uniquely positioned to contribute.

Service Experience

If you want to work in a specific service area not listed here, please contact us! When possible, we will work to find a placement within our service locations that fits your skills and interests.

Arts & Cultural Preservation

 Student pokes head through sculpture of large mouthFellows with a background in the arts can spend their bridge-year focused on promoting community art through a number of exciting placement opportunities in this area. Fellows with a background in dramatic arts may find themselves working at a local theater assisting with productions, theater classes and stage maintenance; while others with more experience in music or visual arts can teach classes or support a community organization focused on these areas. Tasks in these placements may include supporting courses or teaching, assisting with art shows and events, collaborating with communities to promote local artists and their work, fundraising and grant support, general office work to support these organizations, and more. These placements are a great fit for fellows who are passionate about the arts and can bring specific artistic background and talents to their placements and communities.

Education & Training

Global Citizen Year works with a number of schools, universities and organizations offering education to the communities of Santa Catarina. Placements may range from working with children to working with university students, and focusing on areas from teaching English to assisting with environmental education efforts. Fellows may assist teachers and professors with planning and developing educational activities, lead English classes, learn about research areas and assist with lab activities, or support individual students through tutoring, among other activities.

Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Management

Fellows interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation will work with one or more local organizations that focus on these areas. Fellows may assist with administrative tasks, help organize conferences and events, serve as a reader on community funding applications or manage social media outreach, among other tasks. Fellows will learn from colleagues and supervisors as they support the growing social innovation hub of Florianópolis.

Wildlife Preservation & Environmental Sustainability

Tufts 1+4: BrazilFellows will be placed in one of several local organizations that focus on environmental issues. Placements may include those that are working directly with animal rescue and care, or others that promote environmental education, recycling and sustainable communities. Those working directly with animals should be prepared for hard physical work, as they will be assisting with daily chores and animal care as well as observing veterinary procedures, assisting with animal rehabilitation and release, providing educational tours to local visitors and schools, and helping integrate and manage short-term volunteers. Fellows who are working at organizations that promote environmental issues  may be developing promotional materials to support their efforts, facilitating environmental education classes in the local community, and supporting community efforts that promote sustainable living and environmental protection.

Leo Ruiz-Sanchez

Leo Ruiz-Sanchez, A22

School of Arts and Sciences
An incredible thing about traveling and taking a bridge year is meeting people and creating those relationships and connections that can last a lifetime. My worldview has been enhanced with new perspectives otherwise never seen without this bridge year."