Mentoring and Language Acquisition in Brazil (MLAB)

Program Overview

High need youth often face significant challenges that prevent them from achieving their full potential. Since 2012, the Mentoring and Language Acquisition in Brazil Program has offered one-to-one mentorships that help high need Brazilian youth develop confidence, critical thinking and English language skills. Combining quality mentorships with engaging content, our program provides positive, life-enriching experiences for youth to learn from older peers and explore common interests.  The program, which includes a 2 week long immersion with mentees in São Paulo, Brazil in January, takes place over a four month period with virtual session running from October-February.

Mentor responsibilties include:

  • Planning involved virtual mentorship sessions
  • Engaging in active listening with mentees
  • Stimulating and contributing to mentee's interests
  • Researching and sharing relevant opportunities and resources with mentees
  • Monthly check-ins throughout virtual mentorship
  • Assisting in planning immersion based on mentee's interests and needs

Of the fifty mentees who have participated in MLAB, most have gone on to study in Brazil's best universities and five have been admitted to some of the United States' most prestigious schools, including Harvard.

Program Dates

  • September 15, 2019: Mentor Application Deadline
  • October – December 2019: 2 virtual mentorship sessions per month
  • February 2020: 2 virtual mentorship sessions
  • January 9 – 23, 2020: Immersion in São Paulo, Brazil


Harvard undergraduate or graduate students interested in being an MLAB mentor must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Completion of at least one Portuguese language course in the past or currently enrolled in an introductory course
  • Some mentoring or related experience
  • Commitment to mentoring and inspiring assigned Brazilian mentee over four months of virtual mentorship sessions
  • Travel to São Paulo, Brazil in January 2020 for a two-week immersion with mentees
  • Participate in all MLAB activities, including orientation, training, virtual events, and check-ins
  • Interest in learning more about Brazil through cultural exchange and direct interaction with Brazilians

Brazilian high school students (mentees) take part in an internal application process as determined by Harvard's Brazil Office and participating partner institutions.

Application Requirements

Program Costs & Availablity of Funding

MLAB has no program fee. Students are responsible for passport and visa fees as well as required vaccines, such as Yellow Fever. Expenses in São Paulo throughout the 2-week immersion are fully covered (i.e. transfers, housing, meals, and cultural activities). The following financial aid will be provided to students on a need-based level for airfare costs to and from São Paulo for the January immersion:

  • No need: $0
  • Low to medium need: $600
  • High need: Up to $1,300
  • Very high need: Entire Airfare

Passport & Visa Information

Students selected to be MLAB mentors must have a passport with an expiration date after July 19, 2020 or apply for a visa immediately after being selected for the program (depending on passport's country of issue). 


Contact Camilla Roberts, Program Coordinator