Office of International Programs

Travel Brazil

Samba in Rio!

February 14, 2013 - February 23, 2014

MUS 399: 3 undergraduate credits

View of Rio de Janeiro

Discover Samba and Brazil this winter! Samba in Rio is a pioneering new course that will introduce you to Brazilian culture in Rio de Janeiro, using samba—Brazil’s most characteristic music and dance—as a prism through which to better understand what makes Brazil unique. While in Brazil, we will immerse ourselves in the local culture by visiting samba schools and taking samba percussion and dance workshops. You will learn some samba rhythmic patterns and how to play on typical samba batería (drum section) instruments such as surdo, caixa, repinique, and tamborim, as taught by one of the top samba school batería directors in Rio Carnaval. This course will also teach you ethnographic techniques in an effort to experience Rio from a rich variety of angles.

This is course is ideal for music and theater students but open to students from any major with a desire to learn about Samba.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1: Afternoon: Board Concord Trailways bus to Logan Airport
Evening: Depart US for Rio

Day 2: Morning: Arrive in Rio; orient ourselves with the neighborhood where we'll be staying.
Late afternoon: Welcome dinner at a churrascaria (Brazilian steak house)
Evening: Watch São Clemente samba school rehearsal

Day 3: Morning: Lecture on Samba's role as national music cultural significance of carnival.
Afternoon: Samba dance lesson.
Evening: Practice samba moves at Samba-Drome.

Day 4: Morning: Visit Christ statue in morning; lecture on importance of religion in Brazilian life.
Afternoon: Swim and stroll at Ipanema beach.
Evening: Visit Lagoa neighborhood; Informal discussion about class in Brazilian Society. 

Day 5: Morning: Work on ethnographic report.
Afternoon: Visit Cubango samba school street rehearsal.
Evening: Meet with Brazilian musicians to interview them for ethnographic report.                                                                      

Day 6: Morning: Free time.
Afternoon: SAARA section of downtown Rio, including  a visit to CASA Turuna, Rio's famous costume supply store for carnaval.
Evening: Samba Percussion workshiop at Cubango samba school; stay for Cubango rehearsal.

Day 7: Morning:   Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens) Discussion about importance of beauty in every day life of Brazillians.
Afternoon and Evening: Attend a samba show at the “City of Samba” where floats and costumes are made for Carnaval

Day 8: Morning: Visit Sound and Image Museum; Multimedia presentations about history of Samba.
Afternoon: Watch demonstration of capoeira (Brazilian martial art accompanied by music on the berimbau).
Evening: Discussion about race and class in Brazilian society and how capoeira has figured in Brazilian history

Day 9: Morning: Ethnographic report due. Then free time.
Afternoon: Farewell dinner at Amir, Rio’s finest Lebanese restaurant. Informal discussion about ethnicity in Brazil and a roundtable summary of each participant’s experience.
Evening: Depart for US.

Day 10: Morning: Arrive in Boston
Noon: Take Concord Trailways to Portland.

Monday, 3/3: Reflection essay due by 5 p.m.


Dr. Galinsky has been traveling to and conducting research in Brazil since 1993. An expert on Brazilian music both in performance and scholarly spheres and director of the popular group Samba New York!, he has made films on samba music and written on pagode and mangue beat, two important musical genres of Brazil. Dr. Galinsky is often mistaken for a native Brazilian due to his fluency in Portuguese. In 2007 and 2010, he led similar courses in Rio.

Proficient in several languages, Dr. Christiansen has traveled to over twenty countries on four continents and has lived and worked abroad for seven years. In 2007, he led a Czech history and culture course, “Bohemian Rhapsody: USM Summer in Prague,” which had the highest enrollment of all USM study abroad courses that year. He has taught about Brazilian music in World Music courses, both at USM and in the Czech Republic.


To hold your spot for this program submit your $100 deposit (checks made payable to USM) by November 8th, 2013. You then have until December 4, 2013 to submit your completed application. 

A complete application includes all of the following:

  • Signed, completed application form*
  • $100 non-refundable deposit (applied to the program cost)
  • Typed 200-word essay
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member or academic advisor
  • Official copies of all academic transcripts

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. You will be notified by e-mail of your application status. If your application is not accepted, the nonrefundable deposit will be returned. If the program is canceled for any reason by the USM, all deposits will be returned.

*If you are having trouble downloading the application, please contact us at (207) 780-4959 or and we will send you one. You may also want to try upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.


The program fee for the Brazil program is $2,970. The cost of three credits of tuition and fees at the in-state rate are an additional $917. The program fee will include accommodation, roundtrip airfare, scheduled in-country travel, site visits, field trips, bottled water throughout the program, and emergency medical and evacuation insurance through iNext.

Not included in the program fee will be the cost of tuition, fees, books, academic supplies, most meals, or other personal expenses. Three credits of undergraduate tuition is currently $759 plus university unified fee. All participants on USM travel programs receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.

The February break is considred part of the Spring semseter so you should consider these extra costs when applying for your Spring financial aid package. Please note that adding these additional credits may put you in a higher bracket for other academic fees. Please visit the Student Accounts website for complete information on tuition and fees. All participants on USM travel programs receive the in-state tuition rate regardless of residency.

All participants will be automatically registered for a payment plan. The two $100 deposits will go towards the cost of the program and the remaining balance will be due as follows:

50% of the balance due January 5, 2014
Remaining balance due February 5, 2014