ASU’s first three BSMP students, Talita Bessegatto, Amanda Caroline Faustino de Queiroz and Jessica Lopes de Paula, arrived last fall. Photo by Danny Meyer
Angelo State’s student body has added a bit of Brazilian spice to the mix.
Through a new Brazilian government initiative, the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP), students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields began arriving at ASU from Brazil last fall. Meghan Pace, assistant director and coordinator for international students and scholar services, learned of the program while at an Institute of International Education (IIE) college fair in São Paulo, Brazil, last spring.
“The Brazilian government decided it wanted more of the country’s students to get educated in the STEM fields. If the students need English as second language (ESL) training, the government pays for that.”
“I was just sitting there thinking, ‘Gosh, ASU really needs to capitalize on this,’” Pace said. “These students would be coming to ASU, fully funded. All we have to do is sign up and be approved, and they will send students to ASU. So I talked to the IIE representative, and she sent me some information. We filled out the online application, and within two weeks we got an e-mail inquiring if we could accommodate some students in the fall.”
BSMP students must complete one year of college in Brazil to become eligible, and then complete a competitive application process. Once they are accepted into the program, they are sent to partner schools in North America or Europe for an academic year of college that is paid for by the Brazilian government. After they complete their year abroad, they have the option of staying at their host school, but without any further government funding.
The program is a joint effort between Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Education; and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology.
“The Brazilian government decided it wanted more of the country’s students to get educated in the STEM fields,” Pace said. “If the students need English as second language (ESL) training, the government pays for that. Once they complete their ESL training, they get to attend for at least one semester of study in their chosen STEM field. After that, it is hoped the students will have internship opportunities before returning home. It’s a great program for the Brazilian students because it doesn’t cost them anything.”
“In past years, ASU has had few Brazilian students studying on our campus, and they were primarily graduate students,” she added. “So we are really looking forward to our new partnership, and we hope that it will bring a steady and increasing number of Brazilian undergraduate students to ASU.”
ASU’s first three BSMP students, Talita Bessegatto, Amanda Caroline Faustino de Queiroz and Jessica Lopes de Paula, arrived last fall to begin ESL training through ASU’s English Language Learners’ Institute, a component of the Center for International Studies (CIS). They will move into regular undergraduate biology and chemistry classes this spring, and CIS staff is in the process of setting up their summer internship opportunities.
“So they will be here until the end of the summer,” Pace said, “and then they will go back to Brazil to continue their education at their home institution. Also, BSMP has already contacted us about sending more students for the spring semester.”
“Because of ASU’s flexibility and the way we can accommodate these students,” she continued, “I think this is going to be a very successful program, and we are going to get more and more students through it. Many larger schools can’t accommodate their special circumstances, but we can. We are very excited about this program.”