My experience in Brazil was unlike anything I had imagined. That isn't to say that it was all rainbows and unicorns, but the daily barrage of new experiences helped to mold me in ways that I don't think would have happened otherwise.
I came into this program entirely convinced that I had a million useful things to offer the rest of the world by virtue of being well educated. I quickly learned that despite my education the world had much more to teach me than I had to teach it. But that's all very general, and not so useful to a potential applicant, so here's some information that will hopefully help you with your decision:
1) The people running this program care so much about their fellows. It was amazing how quickly I was able to bond with both the staff and with the fellows in my program. I'm still in touch with my team leader and a majority of the 16 fellows with whom I went to Brazil. This extends all the way up through the senior management, though obviously the relationships become less personal as they have more fellows to meet. I felt supported when I needed it, but the relationship with my supervisors was good enough that they knew when to set me off on my own, even if the water was a little choppy.
2) Freak out about the price, then calm down. They give unbelievable finantial aid. Seriously, I was amazed at the finantial package I was offered because unlike most packages from college, this one was actually something me and my family could afford.
3) Yes, it was damn scary to go off on my own. I'm so glad that I did. It has made the transition to college much easier than I expected because I learned to be largely self-sufficient over the program cycle that applying those skills in the college system seemed almost second-nature. What I liked was that we were given a lot of freedom after the first 5 weeks and this taught me how to have my schedule be self motivated instead of having someone "crack the whip" for me every day.
4) I worked for a collegiate chorus in the city of Curitiba where my duties were to help teach the music to my sections twice a week. Other than that I learned to make friends (in Portuguese) and started learning the practical aspects living in a large city. I started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with some friends I made in the city and I'm still practicing it today. I alao learned a lot about community leveraging and finding the "In" in my community. It was wonderful.
5) I have a lot more to say, but limited time, so if you are curious about anything that I or someone else has said, I am more than happy to talk. My email is [email protected] and you can contact me there anytime.