Global News

PGFA Highlight | Prof. Juliano Saccomani brings UChicago Portuguese students to Rio de Janeiro through virtual reality

Prof. Juliano Saccomani takes footage of the Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) in Rio de Janeiro

Professor Juliano Saccomani was born to an Italian-Brazilian family in São Paulo, Brazil. Having grown up around different languages and cultures, he decided to teach languages and culture professionally with the aim of helping students gain insights into the diverse realities around the world. He began teaching Portuguese and Spanish at the University of Chicago in 2020 and is the editor-in-chief of the UChicago magazine Revista Væranda

Professor Saccomani looks for ways to bring authentic experiences with language and culture into the classroom by means of online videos, podcasts, video games, etc. He is currently working on a project to develop virtual-reality-enabled materials to be used in Portuguese and Spanish classes at UChicago. 

Students in a classroom wearing VR headsets and pointing

With the support of the Provost's Global Faculty Awards in 2022-23, Professor Saccomani established an international network of language educators focused on incorporating VR into language learning and organized an academic summit held at University Federal Fluminense titled “Semana de Estudos Turismo e Educação,” in which professors, graduate students, and the general community were able to talk about topics such as ‘tourism’ and ‘education’ in a global city such Rio de Janeiro. He also conducted an initial round of content creation in Rio de Janeiro, capturing approximately 60 minutes of raw cultural 360-video material and pictures, which led to the development and approval of a new Portuguese language course to be offered at UChicago in Spring of 2025. (Read more about the project.)

Professor Saccomani received the Janel M. Mueller Award for Excellence in Pedagogy by the Division of the Humanities in 2023, and is currently working to develop new institutional partners in Spanish-speaking Latin America to extend similar support for Spanish language courses at UChicago.

Learn more about the Provost's Global Faculty Awards

The Americas
Cultures, Creeds, Arts & Society
Division of Humanities