Few students apply for Brazil semester

With a deadline for applications approaching, GW has received no student interest in a new study abroad program in Brazil.

GW created the program at the University of Brasilia last May in conjunction with the Center for Latin American Issues. Officials said it is based on the success of the GW Madrid center initiated in 1991.

“We saw a very positive impact that the program had academically, culturally and linguistically on the participants,” said Lynn Leonard,
director of GW’s study abroad office.

Leonard said it is not unusual that students wait until the last minute to apply to study abroad programs. The Oct. 31 deadline for the program is about a week away

The program is looking for 15 students who have a “rudimentary knowledge of a Romance language, preferably Portuguese,” said Jim Ferrer, director for the Center for Latin American Issues.

“At the end of the program, we hope to set up students with an internship with one of our many contacts,” he said.

The program curriculum will start with intensive Portuguese language and immersion courses, followed with a unique combination of classes.

“The curriculum does not just focus on Brazil,” Ferrer said. He added that the emphasis is on Latin America as a whole.

Classes such as economics, political science, sociology and international relations will be taught in Portuguese and an equal number of Brazilian students will be in the classes.

Because there is only a small amount of campus housing and much of the housing is not up to American standards, students will live with Brazilian families, Ferrer said.

“Living with families also advances the progression of understanding the Brazilian culture,” Ferrer said.

Leonard said planning began for the Brazil program four to five years ago.

“Developing a center is a deliberate process,” she said. “More programs will be explored in Latin America as Brazil’s popularity is sustained.”

GW and the University of Brasilia have many contacts within the Brazilian government, institutions and embassies, Ferrer said.

“We are excited for the students because there are excellent opportunities in Brazil,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said the layout of the University of Brasilia is similar to Georgetown’s arrangement.

“The city has grown around the university. Yet, there are 20,000 students and the school is surrounded by housing on both sides,” he said.
“The other two sides contain embassies and regulatory agencies for the government.”

Applications can be picked up at the new study abroad office at 812 20th St., near the 2000 Penn shopping center.

Leonard said she hopes many students will apply because “Latin America is where the future is.”

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