The goal of Brazilian Studies at Aarhus University is to apply knowledge about Brazil and the Portuguese language to real world problems and international issues that link Brazil to the rest of the world. The program features a term abroad with opportunities to study a range of subjects at the top universities in Brazil.
The degree programme requires a sound knowledge of the Portuguese language. M.A. students of Brazilian Studies use language skills as a practical tool to delve into Brazilian culture, history and politics and to develop a distinct intellectual profile as a Brazilianist.
The famous composer Tom Jobim supposedly once said to an inquisitive journalist wondering about the "Brazilian sound" of bossa nova as the new wave of jazz: "well, you know, Brazil is not for beginners". This pithy phrase has been used countless times as a way of introducing the complexity of this massive country. We see it another way. Brazil is, in fact, perfect for beginners, because it encapsulates the two meanings of the word "awesome". Brazil is both incredibly cool and beautiful as well as overwhelming and complex. The aesthetic draws the "beginner" in and inspires him/her to want to acquire a deep knowledge of Brazil and, consequently, develop cultural competences to act in transnational arenas. Brazil is not only influencing globalisation, it is itself the result of the global movements of people, goods and cultural practices.
At first sight, Denmark and Brazil do not look back upon a long tradition of shared histories and memories. An early example is Danish scientist Peter Wilhelm Lund who greatly contributed to Darwin’s theories of evolution by studying Brazil’s pre-history. In recent decades, alongside with Brazil’s increasing international protagonism, both countries have developed more robust trade and cultural relations. In some sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and clean energy, Danish investors have been leading the way in Brazil. In turn, Brazilian scientists carry out research in Danish laboratories as the South American country has moved from being a supplier of raw materials to a producer of knowledge. Brazilian policymakers follow closely the Danish experiences in social welfare systems, public education and transparency of state institutions. In addition, a growing Brazilian community visibly asserts its place in the cultural life of Denmark’s cityscapes.
With that said, however, Denmark needs a better understanding of Brazil’s economic, social, cultural and political realities. In the popular imagination, Brazil is often reduced to stereotypes related with Samba, Carnaval, futebol and exuberant nature. The intensifying cooperation and deepening entanglements between Denmark and Brazil require mediators who can translate between languages and cultures in an ever more complex and connected world.
In 2014 Brazilian Studies joined the Department of Global Studies and since then fills a niche in the European field of education and professionalization by moving beyond the traditional models of language/culture and geographical expertise. It provides a unique mixture of theoretical knowledge and opportunities for grounded application, thereby establishing a productive hybrid of humanities tradition with social science fashioned for a competitive employment market.
Courses are interdisciplinary ranging from anthropology and history to international relations as well as language acquisition and use. Small groups create opportunities for dialogue-based teaching and a close relationship between teachers and students. The common thread is a project-oriented approach. To the extent possible, all course material is intended for application to real world issues such as climate change, immigration, urban mobility, identity and linguistic politics, social policy and international cooperation.
Students are expected to spend at least one semester studying, researching or doing an internship in Brazil. AU has agreements with several universities throughout the country’s diverse regions, for instance Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Universidade de Brasília and Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. Brazilian Studies professors and the AU International Centre staff provide guidance in selection so that students can get the most personalized benefit from this unique opportunity.
In students’ subsequent professional careers language and intercultural skills enable them to act as a mediator between Denmark and Brazil - and by extension between Europe, Latin America and the Portuguese-speaking world. Examples include positions as as a consultant or translator in a private sector company, in diplomatic institutions and non-governmental organisations or as a researcher in academia. During the Bachelor and Master’s degree periods there are opportunities to gain valuable experience in internships with Danish businesses that trade with Brazil, the Danish embassy in Brasília, the Brazilian embassy in Copenhagen, the Danish Innovation Centre in São Paulo and a number of NGOs and civil society organizations throughout the country.
The following Bachelor’s degree programmes qualify the student for admission to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies:
The board of studies decides, based on individual assessment, whether applicants with other Bachelor’s degrees than the above have the academic qualifications required for their application to be accepted.
Students of the Bachelor’s degree programme in Brazilian studies at Aarhus University have the right to be admitted to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies on the condition that application is made with a view to continuing directly from the Bachelor’s degree programme to the Master’s degree programme. This legal entitlement only exists if applications are received on time by Aarhus University.
As the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies (due to government legislation) only admits a limited number of students each year, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.
In evaluating qualified applicants, the admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of the average mark (i.e. GPA) of the Bachelor’s degree at the time of application. Marks/grades obtained after the application deadline will not be included in the GPA.
The admissions committee assesses each applicant’s marks on the basis of the information provided by diplomas and transcripts.
Admission to the Master’s degree programme in Brazilian studies requires Danish at upper-secondary school ‘A’ level or equivalent.
Nobel Park campus is home to Brazilian Studies, along with the other area studies, theology, history, philosophy, European languages and many other subjects.
The programme of Brazilian Studies has an active international community of researchers, and promotes events, such as lectures, workshops and study trips. The programme also has an Online periodic publication, fully edited and produced by the students together with the language professor.
Traditionally, students organise regular parties and cultural events, turning Nobel Park into a vibrant space of interaction with other students of Global Studies.
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Graduates of the programme will have acquired not only first-hand experience of Brazil, but the crucial analytical and cross-cultural competencies that are required for working as part of a team in international or Danish companies and organisations that are expanding their relationships with Latin America. Graduates will find work not only in government agencies but in consultancy firms, international organisations, academia, NGOs and the tourism industry.
The Master’s degree teaches the following competences:
Five examples of potential jobs for graduates of Brazilian Studies:
Brazilian Studies also affords a career as a researcher with the option of applying for admission to the PhD programme at the faculty’s Graduate School. Students can apply upon completion of the Bachelor’s degree and one year of the Master’s degree studies or upon completion of the Master’s degree.
Please contact the Student Counselling Office for advice about employment opportunities and the subject profile options of the degree programme.
Please also read more about a range of career guidance services including special events and workshops at AU Career.