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WVU foreign exchange seminar has legs in major Brazilian publications

Fundação Vanzolini led to the event, in which a group of 17 Brazilians visited WVU

Studying abroad is currently a hot topic in Brazil, one that is often in the news. Thus, it came of great interest recently that West Virginia University was mentioned in the newspaper Estadao, which has the third largest newspaper circulation in Brazil. The newspaper discussed the recent "Trends in Global Business" event in which Brazilian students from the Fundação Vanzolini took part.

A partnership between WVU’s College of Business and Economics and the Fundação Vanzolini led to the event, in which a group of 17 Brazilians visited WVU from January 11-17. The event was hosted by B&E’s Center for Executive Education, and the group included 14 engineers, one pharmacist, one chemist and one professor from the Fundação Vanzolini. Fundação Vanzolini is a private institution that provides graduate business education in Brazil. It was originally established by the faculty of the School of Engineering of the University of São Paulo.

Among these individuals to visit Morgantown was Davi Nakano, coordinator of the MBA executive program at Fundação Vanzolini. He told the Estadão, “All of the students really liked it – it was not only a conventional course they got to take, but also a chance to experience their field of study in a different perspective, in a different country.”

Nakano also spoke to the Estadão about the importance of the students having contact with other cultures and the positivity it brought to the group. “For some, it was the first trip out of Brazil. It improved the meshing of the class, since the students spent a week doing the activities together. The course at WVU ended with a dinner at (Dean Jose “Zito” Sartarelli’s) home with all of the guest lecturers,” Nakano told the Estadão.

B&E’s commitment to hosting study abroad students is right in line with current initiatives in Brazil; in July of 2014, it was announced that President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff extended Brazil’s study abroad program, the Brazil Scientific Mobility Undergraduate Program (formerly known as Science Without Borders) to provide 100,000 scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students for the next three years. The program is a large-scale initiative with the goal to promote the consolidation and expansion of science, technology and innovation in Brazil by means of international exchange and mobility.

Of the 43 countries that Brazil is sending university students to study abroad, the United States has currently hosted the most students of the program. In just the last year and a half, the College of B&E has hosted approximately 100 Brazilian students. 

“Not only are we now breaking new ground by expanding our global reach, by having the students come to study with us here and taking all of what they learned back home, but also now our initiatives are being picked up by major media in Brazil, which is in the eyes of more than 20 million people,” said Sartarelli. “It’s excellent that the media in Brazil is seeing the importance in our exchange with Fundação Vanzolini, and we look forward to seeing our name mentioned more often in the future.”

This year’s event was the first program partnership of its kind with a university in Brazil, and plans are being made for more to follow.