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UW-Eau Claire hosts Brazilian students studying in STEM fields as part of Brazilian government-funded program

November 1, 2013
Eduardo Nascimento, a student in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, is enrolled in the Intensive English program. His academic interest is in kinesiology with career goals of being a personal trainer.

EAU CLAIRE —The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is hosting Brazilian students studying in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields as part of the Brazilian government's new Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which provides scholarships to undergraduate students of junior or senior standing for one year of study at colleges and universities in the United States.

The Brazil Scientific Mobility Program is coordinated by UW-Eau Claire's Center for International Education (CIE) in collaboration with the Institute of International Education (IIE), a nonprofit international education and training organization, and is a part of the Brazilian government's initiative to grant 100,000 scholarships for students to study abroad. Candidates for the program must first be nominated by their Brazilian university and approved by two sponsoring organizations: CAPES, an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Education; and CNPq, an organization within the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. Students will return to Brazil at end of their year of study to complete their degrees at their home universities.

Dr. Karl Markgraf, director of the CIE, said UW-Eau Claire has seen a significant increase in Brazilian student enrollment since becoming a part of this program in 2012.

"We went from having seven Brazilian students enrolled at UW-Eau Claire in fall 2012 to 19 enrolled in fall 2013," Markgraf said. "Wisconsin is ranked fifth in the country for the number of students attending universities through this program."

Some students participate in the Intensive English Program to help them with their language skills before moving into their academic programs in the STEM fields, said Jodi Simek, international student adviser in the CIE.

"UW-Eau Claire is one of the universities that offers an Intensive English Program to students," Simek said. "Fifteen students with interests in physics, kinesiology, mechanical engineering, nutrition and biomedicine are currently enrolled in the program. Over the course of the semester, ESL staff works to connect students to professors and advisers in their field of study to help keep them involved in their specific areas of interest."

Eduardo Nascimento is one of the students participating in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program and enrolled in the Intensive English Program. His main area of study is kinesiology and he plans to become a personal trainer after he graduates from his university in Brazil.

"This is a great opportunity for me to study in a country known for being a leader in the field of kinesiology and athletic sport performance," Nascimento said. "I have wanted to come to the United States since I was 7 years old. I have had a very good experience at UW-Eau Claire. The university is well-prepared to receive international students."

Nascimento also said English fluency is important in Brazil and the opportunity to improve his language skills will help him in his future career.

UW-Eau Claire has a long-standing relationship with IIE and provides many other sponsored student programs for international students on campus, Markgraf said.

"UW-Eau Claire has a strong focus on internationalization on campus," Markgraf said. "We have 40 different countries represented in the 300 international students attending UW-Eau Claire. We try to give an international experience to our domestic students in two ways: faculty teachings in classrooms and through student life by providing opportunities to interact with the global community in dorms, classrooms and across campus. The Brazilian government is making an investment in higher education for its students and providing a great opportunity for them and for our campus."

For more information on the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, contact Dr. Karl Markgraf at or 715-836-4411, or Jodi Simek at or 715-836-5418.




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