A group of Brazilian students is currently studying at UW–Platteville.
A majority of the 20 students will be on campus until the end of the summer of 2015. They began with an intensive English language program during the summer, prior to a full-time load of classes planned for this fall.
The students are part of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, a one-year, non-degree program for Brazilian students to study in the U.S.
The program is part of the Brazilian government’s larger initiative to grant 100,000 Brazilian university students the opportunity to study abroad in mostly science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. They complete two semesters of academic study in their majors and also hope to fulfill an internship. The students have the opportunity to take intensive English courses before their academic classes begin.
“I am here because I think it is important for my career,” said Andressa Souza, an agricultural and environmental engineering major from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “And I want to improve my English and experience another culture.”
The BSMP is the beginning of what UW–Platteville officials hope will be a long-term partnership. “The program has broadened academic and research exchange between the United States and Brazil and, in the case of UW–Platteville, led to partnerships with Brazilian universities that will help to sustain the mutual benefits of these exchanges long after the BSMP ends,” said Donna Anderson, director of UW–Platteville International Programs.
As a result of Chancellor Dennis J. Shields’ engagement with Brazilian initiatives through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, UW–Platteville sent a delegation of deans, faculty and administrators to Brazil in late May to visit institutions that might be appropriate partners. UW–Platteville has entered into an institutional agreement with the Universidade Federal Rural de Purnambuco, and plans to enter into agreements with Unicentro of Guarapuava/Santa Cruz/Irati, Universidade Estadual Paulista, and Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
Andre Souza, a statistics major from Rio de Janeiro, sees his experience at UW–Platteville as a unique opportunity.
“Since I was a child I knew you have to be special,” he said. “You have to have something different on a resume.”
This is Andressa’s first visit to the United States, while Andre has visited as a tourist. “We are used to a big city,” said Andressa. “We are learning a new way of life.”
Andressa and Andre both recommend other Brazilian students study abroad. They are also hopeful that UW–Platteville students will be interested in Brazilian culture. “We have a lot of things to share,” said Andressa.
“BSMP students on the UW–Platteville campus have done an excellent job of adapting to the U.S. and Platteville cultures,” said Anderson. “They have performed well academically and integrated easily with U.S. as well as other international students. The students have been a tremendous asset to our community by helping to diversify our student body, enhancing international exposure and broadening cultural perspectives both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Upon graduation, Andre would like to work in a business office setting, while Andressa would like to work for EHS Management System in Brazil, a company where she completed an internship.
“We went from hosting two BSMP students during the 2012–13 academic year to hosting 33 students this fall, most of them participating in our English Language Program before starting their academic program on campus,” said Anderson.
“On June 25, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced that the BSMP will have a second stage, sending another 100,000 Brazilian STEM students and scholars abroad, starting in fall 2015. We anticipate that UW–Platteville will continue to receive Brazilian students through this initiative during this second phase as well.”