Campus News

Portuguese program sending first class to Brazil in February

Twelve students seeking to internationalize their UGA education in Brazil will head south of the equator in February where they will spend a year immersed in language and cultural training.

Students participating in the inaugural class of the Portuguese Flagship Program will spend 2013 attending language and content courses at São Paulo State University and working with global trend-setting companies.

Students will spend the Brazil fall semester attending classes and spring participating in an internship and conducting research. Supporting the motto for flagship programs, “creating global professionals,” students will complete internships in line with their ­professional aspirations.

“This experience puts their career in an international context. All of these students are learning Portuguese for specific purposes so they can apply it to their professional careers,” said Robert Moser, program director and associate professor of Romance languages in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “Students will graduate from this program already having had this international experience with a high level of language proficiency and making that link explicit between what they are doing in school and their career.”

Students in the program declared majors in language, sociology, business, journalism and advertising. For these sectors, opportunities abound in Brazil.

“Brazil is the place to be right now for advertising and PR. They are the global hot spot,” said Tom Reichert, professor and head of the advertising and public relations department in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “This is where our students need to be.”

The Portuguese Flagship Program is part of UGA’s broader engagement with Brazilian institutions. Toward this end, a delegation from UGA, led by Kavita Pandit, associate provost for international education, recently went to Brazil to advance instructional and research collaborations. In addition to Moser and Reichert, the delegation included Noel Fallows, associate dean of Franklin College; Richard Gordon, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute; Laurie Williford, coordinator of the Portuguese Flagship Program; and Bryan Reber, Grady College assistant department head and associate professor of public relations.

The delegation met with Brazilian educational and professional leaders including administrators from the Universidade ­Estadual Paulista and toured the university’s campus in São José do Rio Preto where flagship students will be studying.
The group also visited Universidade de São Paulo to discuss ongoing collaborations between UGA’s Center for Complex Carbohydrate Research and the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory as well as opportunities for greater student exchanges and research collaboration between the two institutions.