Wednesday, July 21, 2010

US. & Brazil are strengthening ties through Education!

For the past three and half years partner universities in both countries have been promoting the exchange of students. The program is funded by FIPSE, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, in the U.S. Department of Education, and CAPES, in the Brazil's Ministry of Education.
West Valley College and San José State University students have the unique opportunity to spend one semester at Brazilian universities located in the States of Minas Gerais and Amazonas.
The California-Brazil Business & Education Consortium fosters the advancement of technical expertise and cultural understanding that will help to prepare students to work in an international context and contribute to their long-term involvement in trade between the U.S. and Brazil.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reflecting on the Brazil experience

After five months living in Brazil, WVC and SJSU students are preparing to return to California.
"Now that I have been in Brazil for approximately five months, it is hard to believe that I am leaving to go back home. For almost five months I have called Itajuba my home. I have enjoyed its people, food, parties, weather, and everything else. This experience has altered my life. It has left memories that I will hold beloved for the rest of my life. I still find myself fortunate and lucky to have been a part of this program. This experience has helped me understand more of what it means to be a global studies major. It has helped me understand my culture by comparing it to that of Brazil. My persona has forever been impacted through this experience. I am truly grateful to have been given the opportunity, among many others, to have been chosen to come to Itajuba." Sabina Diaz, SJSU

"My time here in Brazil has been everything and more; I never thought I would find a place that I would love equally as the U.S. if not more. I think the highlight of my time in Brazil, specifically Manaus, has not been the city itself, nor the beauty of the region, it has been the beauty of the people that live here. I’ve met so many people that have made my experience here more than enjoyable, and I hope the ties I have made here are long lasting. That being said I have to say my experience here in Brazil was not the easiest. Initially it was culture shock, then it was adapting, and when all was said and done and I finally felt comfortable and happy it seemed like each day was a countdown to something I was no longer looking forward to. I feel the most important thing that has happened to me is finally maturing finally growing up; which was my greatest personal goal. I hope that this program will continue so that others can enjoy Brazil as much as I have." Brian Ornelas, WVC

"Knowing how Brazilians live their lives for themselves and for each other has been the best experience by far. The first thing I noticed has been their welcoming and friendly nature. This was a surprising discovery in a good sense. In my personal experience, people have given me rides, helped me look for a home, rented library books for me, and shared their food and drink with me. At first I wondered if they were like this to me because I am from California or some weird idea like that. But I found that other foreigners felt the same as me. I enjoy the fact that people here enjoy a slower pace of life with more importance placed on social connection and family. I also still hold the possibility to come back here and start a business. I have seen opportunities where business can be improved here in Brazil that I could possibly make a living off of." Matt Garcia, WVC

"I have attended classes at UNIFEI and worked at an Internship. All have greatly added to my experience here. The Internship is located in the center of the downtown of Itajuba. They have a large business, called an “Incubadora” or Incubator, which houses around 20 smaller, start-up companies. The purpose of this Incubator is to help these smaller companies get on their feet and gives them a better chance of becoming successful. I think this opportunity to contribute and intern in a Brazilain business has done nothing but increase my knowledge of business as a whole. I got the opportunity to play an important role in a company and I can honestly say that my help made a difference. When I left the US and came here I didn't, and still don't, have an exact narrowed down career plan. I am taking business because it has always interested me and the things I learn I can use in everyday life. My ultimate goal would be to open up my own business but that goal is long term. Working at the Incubadora, however, has shown me that it is possible for people to take a good idea and turn it into a successful business without having a great deal of money." Greg Hedling, WVC

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

West Valley instructor & Manaus student reunion
Faculty & students from both sides have been in touch and eventually pay a visit to each other!
In the picture, WVC instructor Lance Shoemaker and FUCAPI student Andre Maues and his family share a meal in Manaus. Andre took Mr. Shoemaker's Introduction to Business class back in 2007 when he participated in the exchange program.
"One of the greatest things of being part of an exchange program is the people you know during that experience. More than just acquaintances, you can make great friends along the way. After more than two years since I returned from California, it was with special pleasure that I welcomed professor Lance Shoemaker, from WVC, during his trip to Manaus. It was fantastic to personally interact with him again and gave me the opportunity to show a little of my hometown to an old friend, who was so kind to me during my stay in the US." Andre Maues

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Exchange students join the soccer fever in Brazil

Exchange students are cheering for Brazil and U.S.A. teams. They talk about the unique experience of watching the games in the only country that has won the World Cup five times.

Sabina Diaz (second from left) celebrates Brazil's victory with her classmates at UNIFEI last Sunday. Brazil beat Ivory Coast 3-1.
"Watching the world cup in Brazil is exciting. Every time Brazil plays the entire city of Itajuba stops! Everyone is at home watching the game with friends. I especially love seeing the entire city and people with Brazilian flags". Sabina Diaz, SJSU student

"The streets and plazas are filled with people of all ages on the days Brazil plays in the world cup. I have really never seen anything like it before. You can't go outside without seeing a Brazilian flag flying off of a balcony, out a window, or strapped to car. Brazil really does stop for 1 hour and 30 minutes during Brazil's game. If a store IS open, because most are closed, they are watching the game in the store" Greg Hedling, WV student
Students Greg Hedling and Matt Garcia soccer playing-acting during a visit to Rio de Janeiro.
"No sporting event in the U.S. compares to a Brazilian national team soccer match. At first I found myself confused by the amount of emotion and passion Brazilian people have for the world cup, but when the second and third goal came I was jumping and screaming along with everyone else. Best of all was not the game itself, it was the celebration afterwards that lasted for hours. Everyone in the street dancing united to celebrate a victory of the Brazilian national team", Brian Ornelas, WV student

Monday, May 31, 2010

CA students visit companies in Minas Gerais

The State of Minas Gerais has a territory greater than France’s or Spain’s. The university network partners with several technology centers supported by the federation of industries training high level professionals to supply industry demands in all sectors.
The region known as the “Valley of Electronics” has 120 companies, generating seven thousand jobs, manufacturing over five thousand different products in Telecommunications, IT and Industry Automation Most professionals in the region are educated and trained at UNIFEI, Federal University of Itajuba and INATEL, National Institute of Telecommunications, where our exchange students are taking classes. In the last three months they have participated in a series of visits to local companies.

SJSU student Sabina Diaz and West Valley students Matt Garcia and Rashel Alexin in a visit to the Center for Technological and Social Development, and Teletronix, a telecom equipment manufacture.

In the picture, students Matt, Sabina and Rashel are accompanied by Danyela Macedo, from INATEl, and Jeferson Ferreira, Portuguese instructor.

Students also met with Roberto de Souza Pinto, President of SINDVEL, Association of Industries of Santa Rita do Sapucai. They had aconversation about the differences between doing business in Brazil and CA.

On the right, studens Sabina, Rashel and Matt with SINDVEL President Roberto de Souza Pinto. On the left, Jeferson Ferreira, Matt Garcia, Rashel Alexin, Roberto S. Pinto, Sabina Diaz, Dany Macedo and Paulo Waki.

Friday, April 30, 2010

West Valley college student Rashel Alexin is taking classes at INATEL, National Institute of Telecommunications in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Minas Gerais. She is also interning at the local business incubator."This certainly has been a life changing experience for me. I feel fortunate to have an internship of my interest. I am working at the "Incubadora De Empresas". Due to my interest of International Relations I have assisted them with translating information to English for easier export process. Furthermore, I have been given information about Importing and Exporting products to and from Brazil. I only hope that I will be able to help them further once I have returned".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brazilian student internship in Silicon Valley

Juliano Silva, from UNIFEI, Minas Gerais, is interning at WV Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy, assisting the department in various energy efficiency projects.
On the left, Juliano uses a segway to visit different buildings in the college
On the right, Juliano with David Esmaili, Director, WV ATTE
"The opportunity to do an academic training through ATTE was highly important for my personal growth because I was able to challenge myself into this new set of responsibilities and improve skills that were not taught in college. My position required project engineering, economic analysis, product research and be involved with all the energy efficiency projects at West Valley College, such as a wide campus Lighting retrofit and a fuel cell for the swimming pool. I also had contact with environmental clubs of the District to discuss some ideas of how the colleges could go green, by improving student commute and doing workshops to present some of the hot topics regarding renewable energy sources. Now, we are finishing the editing of webcasts for the development of a green curriculum and I am preparing myself to leave California and fill my suitcase up with all the knowledge I acquired here. I hope to keep in touch with all the people involved with this amazing program and I am super thankful for all the support I had during the best year of my life."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life in Brazil

Our exchange students are fully engaged in their classes, internships and life in Brazil.

"Itajubá is a wonderful city to live in. I am learning many new things and meeting a lot of people at school, and work. Life here is very relaxing and different from any place I have ever been too! Everyone here is very friendly and helpful." Sabina Diaz, SJSU student

"My schedule is busy but doable. I have 5 classes which include, Philosophy, Statistics, Entrepreneurship, Portuguese, and one online class that I'm taking at West Valley College. The classes are really difficult due to the language, but it is getting easier to understand everyday. Whenever I have any question or challenges, the students and teachers are very helpful. I feel really lucky with my internship. I was chosen to work at a video game startup called KeePlay, that makes educational games for children. So far they have had me doing translations and research. I am only working 12 hours a week but I enjoy working there." Matt Garcia, WVC student

Matt, on the right, at KeePlay with colleagues Ariel and Paula.

WVC student Brian Ornelas is attending classes at FUCAPI, in Manaus, Amazonas. He's been visiting local companies and participating in special activities such as a presentation about the exchange program and the study abroad experience. He was joined by FUCAPI staff along with Silvia Moreira dos Santos, who attended WVC last year.

From left, FUCAPI professor Euler Guimaraes, students Silvia M. dos Santos and Brian Ornelas and Ivna Braga, FUCAPI exchange program coordinator.
Brian visited a jewelry manufacture in Manaus that uses sustainable materials such as seeds, fish skin and natural fiber. Brian was hosted by manager Elizeu Souza and Rita Prossi, designer and owner (on the left).
On the photo on the right, Brian is at the laptop manufacture Positivo, where he was accompanied by professor Euler Guimaraes, Maria Leula Nogueira, Quality Control manager and Ivna Braga, FUCAPI coordinator.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Internship program

Our exchange students are participating in internships in parallel to their academic activities.
Greg Hedling, from West Valley College, is interning at MITS, Medical Information Technology Solutions, in Itajuba, Minas Gerais. He works with MITS general manager, Guilherme Fonseca, in the picture.
"Though I have no experience with the development of software or hardware I am doing my part and helping as best as I can. I help with translations on their website and I will also be trained on the devices and equipment they manufacture. My work here is not only a benefit to MITS, but a benefit to myself as well".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Students visit Brazilian enterprises

WV students Greg Hedling, Matt Garcia and SJSU student Sabina Diaz visit INCIT, the High Tech Business Incubator of Itajuba, Minas Gerais. They were accompanied by INCIT manager Mauricio Bittencourt and UNIFEI professor Paulo Waki.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Spring 2010 Placement

Greg Hedling, Matt Garcia and Sabina Diaz: UNIFEI, Itajuba', Minas Gerais
Brian Ornelas: FUCAPI, Manaus, Amazonas
Rashel Alexin: INATEL, Santa Rita do Sapucai, Minas Gerais