By AARON YNCLAN, Staff Writer
Though the prospect of attending school in another country can be daunting, it can also prove to be incredibly fulfilling. This seemed the most consistent sentiment conveyed from a group of Brazilian students on studying at University of Michigan-Dearborn.
On Friday, March 21, 2014, a number of students were able to sit and speak with a member from the Michigan Journal on their personal experiences with studying abroad and how they hope to benefit from it. This group included Reinaldo Costa, Atilla da Silva, Paulo Neto, Caroline Maul, Erickson Mendes, Paulo Ribiero, and Danilo Ferreira from the Engineering Dept. (including Electrical, Industrial, Mechanical, and Computer), Raissa Mattos and Pedro Silva (Pharmacy), and Gabriel Tavares of the Computer Science field.
As members of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, they explained that there were a number of steps that went being selected. “The first step is GPA,” said Caroline Maul. “GPA is different, so you need a ‘seven,’ because it’s one through ten. And then they take us by GPA and then you need a placement test, but it is in English.” Maul, as well as a few others, also explained that the field of study/career application is taken into count when students are chosen, particularly those affiliated with technology.
It’s a common notion that the majority of businesses in today’s market require a basic understanding of a foreign language (some even desire employees with previous experience living and studying abroad), and the students were quick to reiterate this sentiment. “I came here because of the English, because English is kind of a world language,” Danilo Ferreira explained. “Like, all the technical magazines and articles are read in English, and all the meetings, for example, are in English, the biggest ones. So, it’s good for us to know English as a second language, and the companies appreciate [those] who know English, too, because they can send you to another country to study more or something like that. And it’s good for our resume if we get an internship or a research project, so it’s good for our studies.”
Their decision to study abroad wasn’t solely based on academics or professional growth, however; like anyone faced with this opportunity, the chance to travel abroad offered the chance to also grow themselves on a personal level. “We are young, so it’s a chance to grow as a person, a maturity,” said Maul. “We can have this opportunity to grow ourselves.”
Paulo Neto reiterated this sentiment. “My first goal here is ‘learn English.’ But the second one is so important, what Caroline said, about maturity. Because here you can have contact with many cultures, different cultures, and you can learn something new about your life. That is the reason I am here.”
Finally, when asked for their thoughts on the BSMP, they believed that it could ultimately benefit not only students looking to study overseas, but also those who attend schools locally (i.e., the students of UM-Dearborn). “Like Paulo [Neto] said, in many cultures you can learn many things from another person. Like me, [I] learn from Americans and Chinese, and they can learn from Brazilians too. Like if there’s a different way that’s used there, then I can teach [others] something I learned, and they can teach me something that they learned here. So we exchange this experience,” Maul explained.