International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Culture Corner

Cultural Activity Suggestions

Florianópolis has endless activities for international visitors to enjoy. Listed below are some different cultural activities to do while in Floripa. You can do many of these activities on your own or with friends, or they may be sponsored by ISA. Upon arrival to Florianópolis, different sponsored cultural activities will be announces throughout your program abroad.

  • Attend a Florianópolis soccer game
  • Play beach soccer with the locals
  • Learn Capoeira (a folkloric dance/martial art)
  • Pick up surfing at one of the many beaches
  • Learn the Floripa-founded sport of sandboarding
  • Visit Fonte Caldas da Imperatriz to bathe in natural thermal waters
  • Learn to dance Samba
  • Explore the many old Portuguese fortresses
  • Snorkel through the clear waters
  • Climb the Mirante Morro da Cruz for breathtaking views of the city
  • Take a Brazilian cooking class

Cultural Immersion

Language Exchanges
Students will be given the opportunity to meet local and international students wishing to share their knowledge of Portuguese and learn English in exchange. This activity, based on student interest, is a great way to get to know other students of Florianópolis and to share your culture and language with others while learning more about your surroundings and Brazilian student counterparts!

Volunteer Opportunities
Students interested in volunteering can travel to nearby cities with SENAI to contribute to Brazilian high school classes by presenting cultural presentations in English with local students. Activities and sites will vary, and more information will be given on-site.

Classmates Connecting Cultures
Stay connected while you?re abroad and share your experience with an organization back home! This program is for ISA students that are interested in applying what they are learning in Florianopolis in an interactive and creative way. Students collaborate with a U.S.-based organization via blog entries in a structured program facilitated by ISA. Organization types can range from classrooms (elementary through undergraduate) to local businesses, non-profit organizations, your study abroad office, student interest groups and more! Check out what past students have written by visiting the Classmates Connecting Cultures blog. For more information email


ISA Student Blog
Stay connected while you're abroad and share your experience with your peers back home on the ISA Student Blog, one of WordPress' top 23 recommended travel blogs! Each summer and semester the ISA Student Blog features current ISA students as bloggers, photo bloggers, and video bloggers who document their time abroad to share with their friends, family, prospective students, advisers, and more. If sharing your study abroad experience through writing, photos, videos and other media while receiving professional guidance and feedback appeals to you, consider applying to be an ISA Featured Blogger, Photo Blogger, or Video Blogger. The Site Specialist for your program will email all accepted students to notify you when ISA is accepting applications for all ISA Featured Blogger programs. Please contact the ISA Blog Team at if you have any questions.

Cultural Blogs
We also suggest you check out the plethora of other cultural blogs available on the web to learn more about others' experiences in Florianópolis, cultural happenings, and expat lives.

Floripa Culture

The society of Brazil is marked by a mix of many races that come together and contribute to the country's language, cuisine, music, dance, religion, and architecture. Indigenous, Portuguese and African cultures were the first major contributors to Brazilian society, joined later by German, Italian and other non-Portuguese European settlers. The mix of races has made Brazil a culturally rich and at the same time unique country with all the diverse influences found in every aspect of Brazilian society.

Brazilians are found to be a very welcoming, happy, and overall friendly people. As close relationships are key in Brazilian interaction, personal and informal conversations take rein. The use of body language in communication is prevalent, and eye contact and close distances between the speakers are practiced. It is common for Brazilians to touch during friendly conversations and the typical greeting between friends is a kiss on the cheek, or hugs and pats on the back between males. The comfortable nature of Brazilian communication is a way of sharing with others the relaxed, high life of beautiful, sunny Brazil.

Many travelers are drawn to the laid-back day-to-day lifestyle of Brazil. Whether it's enjoying a long evening with friends or family, lounging on the beach, or taking frequent coffee breaks, Brazilians love to take it easy. While basking in the smooth rhythms of bossa nova is more than appealing, many do not find the same slow-pace in businesses, bureaucratic offices, banks, and supermarkets to be as attractive. Brazilians place little importance on abstract rules like traffic laws, queues or punctuality—it is accepted and expected to show up for appointments thirty minutes late or at least an hour late to social events. The best way to enjoy this laid-back way of life of "tudo beleza" (all's beautiful) is to kick back and join in on all the smiles and laughs of Brazil.

Language Resources

Helpful Phrases
Você fala Inglés?
Do you speak English?
Não falo Português. I don't speak Portuguese.
Não entendo. I don't understand
Desculpa. Excuse me.
Prazer. Pleasure (to meet you).
Socorro! Help!
Como vai? How are you?
Bom dia. Good morning/afternoon
Boa tarde. Good evening.
Tchau. Goodbye

On-line Dictionary Resource

Verb conjugation

We suggest you look up some helpful websites dedicated to verb conjugations in Portuguese.

Listening & Speaking

Check out some different Portuguese podcasts available to practice your verbal and listening skills.

Beware of translation websites. Much can be LOST in translation!

Monuments & Must-Sees

Hercílio Luz Bridge
As one of the largest suspension bridges in the world, the Ponte Hercílio Luz was inaugurated in May of 1926 in honor of the former governor of Santa Catarina. Stretching a span of 1,113 feet (340 meters), the bridge was the first to connect the island of Florianópolis to the mainland and was later joined by two more. Due to restoration and repair, the bridge has been closed since 1991 but remains a famous postcard image of Florianópolis.

XV de Novembro Square and Centenarian Fig Tree
In the heart of Florianópolis and just around the corner from the ISA office, is Praça XV de Novembro, a lively square and popular hang out spot for locals. In the center of the square is the Figueira Centenária, a giant century-old fig tree that provides cool shade for sitting and strolling. The History Museum of Santa Catarina and the grand Metropolitan Cathedral surround the square with the well-preserved Alfândega (old customs house) and the Municipal Market just down the road. The square is host to a local artisan market every Friday as well as popular displays and concerts. On the nearby pedestrian street, Rua Felipe Schmidt, one can find an ample selection of shops, cafés and bars built into antique historic buildings.

Cruz and Sousa Palace
Also situated in the center of Florianópolis is the Palácio Cruz e Sousa, which housed the state government until 1984. The palace was the scene of a dramatic episode of the Federalist Revolution when in 1891 it was taken over by revolutionaries against the state government. Ten sculptures by Italian artist Gabriel Sielva adorn the exterior of the building, and after several restorations the palace was finally turned into a museum in 1986.

Florianópolis displays 42 magnificent beaches all with their own draw and flair for water sport enthusiasts and sunbathers alike. Visit Praia dos Ingleses for its fame among tourists as well as the tradition of the Azorian colonizers. Visit Campeche for paradisiacal beauty and excellent nightlife. Visit Armação to find important archaeological sites and to enjoy the history of the Sant'Anna church. Visit Joaquina for its famous sand dunes great for the Florianópolis sport of sandboarding. Visit Mole to surf its renowned waves or participate in the annual WCT Surfing Championship. And visit Santinho to explore nature and beauty on an untouched tranquil beach. These are just a few of the popular beach destinations, but there are plenty more to explore and enjoy!