Mentoring and Language Acquisition in Brazil (MLAB)

To be a 2019-2020 MLAB Mentor: Apply here!

MLAB 2017-2018

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.

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.


  • 1:1 mentor-mentee ratio
  • Four months of virtual mentorship sessions
  • 2-week-long immersion with mentees in São Paulo, Brazil in January 2020
  • Opportunities for mentors to improve Portuguese language skills
  • Ongoing mentor training & support


  • September 15, 2019: Mentor Application Deadline (find the application link below)
  • 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:
• should have taken at least 1 Portuguese course in the past or be currently enrolled in at least an introductory course;
• should have mentoring or related experience;
• must commit to mentoring and inspiring their Brazilian mentee over four months of virtual mentorship sessions;
• must travel to São Paulo, Brazil in January 2020 for a two-week immersion with mentees;
• must participate in all MLAB activities, including orientation, training, virtual events, and check-ins;
• must be interested in learning more about Brazil through cultural exchange and direct interaction with Brazilians.

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


  • Plan involving virtual mentorship sessions
  • Engage in active listening with mentees
  • Stimulate and contribute to mentee´s interests
  • Research and share relevant opportunities and resources with mentees
  • Monthly check-ins throughout virtual mentorship
  • Assist in planning January immersion based on mentee´s interests and needs


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, 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

Students selected to be MLAB mentors must apply for a visa immediately after being selected (depending on passport's country of issue). Students must also have a passport with an expiration date after July 19, 2020. If you do not have a passport, you must apply for one immediately after being selected.



“This was the best international program experience I’ve ever had. Will definitely recommend!” – 2017-2018 MLAB Mentor 

MLAB provides a really unique opportunity for experiential learning in a way that is mutually beneficial to mentors and mentees. I thought the program was thoughtfully organized and ensured that people left Brazil with a nuanced enough starting point to fuel future research whether in an official or personal capacity.” – 2017-2018 MLAB Mentor

“MLAB gave the mentors a lot of freedom when it came to organizing activities, and also when it came to their free time. I really appreciated it. The program additionally created a space for people of many different backgrounds to come together and learn from each other, whether they were the mentors, mentees, or staff. The atmosphere in the program was always extremely warm, upbeat, and respectful. This established one of the best educational environments I have ever experienced. MLAB, as a whole, was extremely well-planned, well-staffed, and, as a result, well-enjoyed.”- 2017-2018 MLAB Mentor

“The immersion was absolutely amazing! It was great to get to know all the other mentees and I feel like it really helped me get closer to my mentee. Also, the immersion has inspired me to study Portuguese at Harvard (something I would have never thought of doing before) and to consider working in Brazil in the future.” – 2018-2019 MLAB Mentor

“This experience was unique, and I think that it can change lives and ways of thinking. For me it was amazing, something that I will bring with me for the rest of my life. I am so, so thankful for the people that I met, the things that I learned, for the whole project and for all the people that worked hard to make it possible!” – 2018-2019 MLAB Mentee



Are you interested in being a Mentor for the 2019-2020 MLAB Program? If so, please Apply Now!
The Application Deadline is September 15th, 2019, 11:59pm (EST).


For more information, please contact Camilla Roberts, Program Coordinator, at


MLAB 2020 partners