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