Brazil's Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) is among the best universities in South America.
PUC-Rio, as it is known, is a Catholic university which seeks to instil Christian ethical values, solidarity and human respect in its students during their education. Students do not have to be Christian to study at the university, which is open to learners of all faiths and none.
The university has four centres: Theology and Human Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Biology, and Medical Sciences.
The majority of teaching takes place in Portuguese, but the university offers several courses in English, ranging from Brazilian history to environmental sciences. All international students take Portuguese as a second language at a level suitable to them, a valuable opportunity to learn the sixth most-spoken language in the world.
Research is carried out at specialist facilities. For example, the university’s Institute of Energy works with major companies and international partners to discover new means of fuelling transportation.
Unicom is a philanthropic scheme organised by the university which connects students and their knowledge to underprivileged groups who may benefit from them. Students are encouraged to volunteer through Unicom or through ResPUC, a scheme where students launch their own community action projects.
The university’s settings are inspiring. Its campus is built on a former coffee farm in Rio de Janeiro’s bohemian Gávea district. For students who are tired of the area’s hipster cafes, there is always the possibility of escaping to the nearby Tijuca Forest National Park.