On 2 August, last Friday, the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) held a welcome session for 159 international students from 23 different countries. The event promoted by the Office of International Relations (SINTER) took place at the Rectorate Building Auditorium and included presentations of each country, of the Federal Police, of the Ampera Racing competition team, as well as a Capoeira demonstration.
Bilateral agreements and partnerships with associations and federal programs enabled the exchange of 145 students (of which four are from member universities of the Asociación de Universidades Grupo Montevideo – AUGM) who come to study at UFSC this semester. Six students are here to pursue their degrees through the Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students (PEC-G) and eight students will initiate their graduate studies in the University (four in the Master’s Program and four in the Doctoral Program).
Erwan Marolleau, 21 years old, and Valentine Gerfault, 19, come from La Rochelle (France) to study Foreign Languages at UFSC, with the intention to improve their Portuguese – which both can speak and understand well. For Valentine, one of the reasons for doing the exchange is “to attend different courses from the French ones, and learn about the Brazilian university and culture”; Erwan says that he wants to ”improve his translation competence”.
With a Peru flag on his backpack, José Antonio Ayquipa Rosas, 22 years old, traveled from Lima to Brazil for the first time, intending to learn, this semester, new things about Agriculture, his degree program. He says that the curriculum structure of the UFSC Program is very similar to the one of his University, thus, he will focus on courses which will enhance his curriculum, such as Soil Conservation and Tropical Fruit Culture. José will stay at a friend’s house, and he “hopes to make friends and improve his Portuguese”.
With the intention of “meeting different perspectives in International Relations”, Rebecca Harms, 23 years old, from Hamburg (Germany), applied for the exchange program at UFSC. She already came to Santa Catarina when she was in High School and stayed in Xanxerê for three months.
The event was presented by the Secretary for International Relations, Lincoln Fernandes, who welcomed the foreign students. He also said that the next group of international students to come to UFSC will do the “survival course in Brazilian Portuguese”, a course prepared by the Office of Distance Learning (Sead).
UFSC’s Vice-Rector, Alacoque Erdmann, was very pleased to welcome the international students into the University Community. She said “this is a unique opportunity to promote internationalization. Santa Catarina is a multicultural state that has the tradition of accepting people from other countries. We hope that everyone can exercise our planetary citizenship”.
Caetano Machado, Agecom/UFSC journalist.