Sustainability is of global concern with the increasing awareness of global warming and the impending limits of our sources of fossil fuels. You will learn about different types of sustainable energy technologies in the country that sources over 80% of its electricity by renewable and sustainable technologies. We will be visiting multiple sustainable energy power plants, innovating with Brazilian students on how to improve implementation of our energy systems, and will be interacting with industrial leaders who pioneered these technologies in multiple cities in Brazil.

The students will be discussing and innovating with Brazilian students to propose an innovative project on sustainable urban practices for the city of Fortaleza, working with ICLEI, an international company working with local governments to implement sustainable practices for a healthy future. We will speak with the Security of Energy for the state of Sao Paulo and hear how they are able to implement many more sustainable energy systems than the United States. In Foz do Iguacu, we will visit the largest energy producing hydroelectric plant in the world, Itaipu Dam. The students will also get to go on a boat ride along one of the largest waterfalls in the world and get to visit the three points where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet. In Rio de Janeiro, we will visit Angra, Brazil's largest Nuclear plant. We will also visit many cultural sites in Rio such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, and Copacabana beach. In Fortaleza, we will visit its famous beaches, such as Praia de Iracema, and the theater district, Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura.

Group Flight Plan:

Application Procedure

  • Application Open: November 1, 2018
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2019
  • Application Extension Deadline: January 22, 2019
Submit to GEO
  • GEO Application: All applicants must complete the GEO application. This is the first step for applying to any program.
  • $500 non-refundable deposit: Deposits must be paid through NUPay. Be sure to select the appropriate summer term.
  • Photocopy of Passport: This is to be given to your faculty leader after acceptance.
  • Faculty Interview: Faculty will schedule interviews with applicants of interest to determine acceptance. The interviews can occur anytime before the final deadline.
  • Essay Questions: Answer each question in 2-3 paragraphs (completed online via GEO application).
    • What are your personal and academic reasons for wishing to participate in this Dialogue of Civilizations program?
    • How will the program further your academic and career goals?
    • What is your previous travel and language experience, if any?
    • What courses have you taken which are directly relevant to the program?

Applications are not considered complete until deposit is received. This deposit will be applied to the full cost of the program.

Update My Travel Plans on myNortheastern
Once you have been accepted into the program and your the flight and accommodation details have been shared with you, you are required to create an entry in My Travel Plans for the trip. Please be sure to enter the following pieces of information:
  • Personal and Emergency Contact Info
  • HealthTravel Info: Dates, flight and accommodation details, etc.
  • Passport Details: Passport number, Expiration date, Passport Country of issue, etc.

Please refer to this step-by-step user’s guide for directions on how to navigate the My Travel Plans system.

Should you fail to complete this step as directed, you may be prevented from traveling, may not receive credit for courses, and/or may be excluded from participating in other Northeastern global programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Studying abroad requires a valid passport. You may also need a visa and/or other travel documents. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your documents are valid and appropriate to the nature of your program.

Minimum Requirements
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.00
  • Minimum Semesters: Minimum of 2 completed Northeastern semesters at the time of program start date. NUin students are eligible to apply. Transfer and Global Pathways students contact GEO program coordinator for eligibility.
Other Requirements
  • Prerequisites for Program: Must have taken and passed one of these Math courses: MATH 1241/ 1250/1341; AND one of these Physics courses: PHYS 1151/1161/1171. .


The courses are about understanding the fundamental scientific and engineering principles of energy systems. They courses are designed to give the students breath and depth of how these systems work, along with their pros and cons, and have the students discuss relevant socio-cultural, environmental, economic, and justice issues that encompass these energy systems.

The purpose of this program is for the students to appreciate not just the engineering principles behind sustainable energy systems but also their role in a sustainable, cleaner, and healthy world for mankind future. In Brazil, the students will not just see the power plants producing sustainable energy, but also the impacts of clean energy and on the other side, the impacts of unsustainable energy systems. This dialogue is to learn how our energy generating practices are effecting the environment and health of people.

The students will be working with Brazilian students to develop an innovative project on sustainable urban practices for the city of Fortaleza. We will be working with ICLEI, an international company working with local governments to implement sustainable practices for a healthy future. The students will get time to work with Brazilian students while also learning about the needs to the city and innovate ways to help improve their energy systems sustainably.

  • GE1201 - Alternative Energy Technologies Abroad : This is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on building an understanding of alternative energy systems and technologies and how they can impact the environment. The course would emphasize how energy resources are being utilized currently in the US and in Brazil and show the need for new alternative energy technologies and their impact on sustainability. The students will examine growth, distribution, environmental and socio-economic issues of these technologies (such as deforestation and displacement of indigenous communities) and potential for future development, looking what has worked, and what hasn’t. An introduction of a variety of alternative/ renewable energy technologies and their environmental impact will be presented, along with lectures from industry leaders in the field and many excursions to companies to learn now these engineering technologies are being implemented. The course aims to explain relevant alternative energy technologies in an interactive environment, where students will engage in field and examine its impact on Brazil’s society.
  • GE3300 - Energy Systems: Science, Technology & Sustainability Abroad : This multidisciplinary introductory course in energy systems concentrates on providing students with a sound scientific, technology, and economic basis for understanding our modem energy system, as well as tools and policy context for analyzing real-world energy engineering challenges. The course begins with a presentation of the physics principles of energy and work, thermodynamics, and the first and second laws. Technologies across the full energy system from supply to demand will be explored, from extraction of primary energy, conversion into fuels and electricity, important energy end-uses, and losses. Fossil and nuclear power plants will be reviewed and renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, wave, hydro, geothermal, biofuels) will be discussed in detail. Transmission and distribution will cover electricity and fossil fuel infrastructure. Energy demand by buildings, transportation, and industry will be discussed with an emphasis on second-law analysis and efficiency measures. Throughout the course, physics and chemistry concepts relevant to each topic will be introduced and quantitative analysis will be applied to understand the engineering and economic challenges that we face in energy. The energy system represents the single-largest impact of industry on the environment and public health, and yet there are enormous opportunities for improvement. Sustainability concepts will be discussed including net energy/exergy analysis and life cycle assessment, energy-related emissions, decentralized generation, smart grids, district heating, and net zero energy facilities.


Northeastern Tuition: $12,613
Dialogue of Civilizations Fee: $2,250
  • Northeastern Tuition and DOC Fee Includes: 8 Northeastern credits, international roundtrip airfare from Boston, accommodations for program duration, international security and emergency support, and program related expenses (local transportation, field trips, excursions and group meals)

Additional Estimated Expenses: $1,413
  • Students should anticipate spending the following out of pocket expenses during the program:  $1,134 on meals and $279 on incidentals.

GEO offers scholarships and grants for students studying abroad on Dialogue of Civilizations programs. Please visit our Scholarships page for more info!


Additional Resources


Brazil is a vibrant and alive country while also being very sustainable minded. Over 80% of the electricity in Brazil’s grid comes from renewable sources. Brazil offers the perfect backdrop to learn about how they implement sustainable energy while also learning about how their dynamic culture and their sustainable practices. We will be spend the first 2 weeks in Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America, which is very culturally diverse and is the financial hub for Brazil. We will then visit the Itaipu Dam at the Iguacu Falls. It is the largest electricity producing hydroelectric plant and the largest waterfall system in the world. We will then head to Rio de Janeiro to discover the city that is the cultural mecca of Brazil. We will visit Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf, and Angra Nuclear Plant. We will then end our dialogue in Fortaleza, a coastal city in Northern Brazil, which is rich with folkloric traditions. There we will work with the city government to present our projects on innovations to implementing sustainable energies in an urban environment.

The U.S. State Department lists travel advisories, local laws, alerts from the embassy, and other important information about Brazil here. Please review this information before applying.


  • Hostel & Hotels: We will be staying in a well-kept hostel in Sao Paulo, we will be staying in hotels in Foz do Iguacu, Rio de Janeiro, and Fortaleza. The hostel in Sao Paulo will have 3-4 people to a room with their own bathroom. There is a shared kitchen where you can store and cook food. There is a shared living space with a tv, a roof deck and a back deck with hammocks. In Foz do Iguacu, Rio de Janeiro, and Fortaleza, these are hotels with 3-4 people in a room with a private bathroom. There is entrance security in all accommodations.  

Host University or Organization

Campus B will deal with all travel logistics while in Brazil, including lodging, intra-city and domestic travel. They will give an orientation lecture, along with Portuguese lessons, and a Brazilian history lecture when the students arrive in Brazil. They will offer 24/7 logistic and safety support including one guide who will travel exclusively with the group at all times.

Faculty Advisor