At the start of 2019 Warwick was invited to nominate two students to attend the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)'s Summer School on Brazilian Studies. After a competitive selection process, the two successful students from Warwick's School of Modern Languages and Cultures were awarded scholarships co-funded by UFMG and Warwick.
Over the course of two weeks the Warwick students joined 60 peers from 15 countries and 22 world-renowned universities for an academic and cultural experience. Participants were challenged and inspired by some of UFMG's leading academics, who shared their knowledge in lectures covering the underpinnings of Brazilian politics, history, foreign relations, geography, law, economy, arts and culture. The classes were held concurrently with various cultural events such as the UFMG Winter Festival and the Cultural Turn of Belo Horizonte.
Warwick's student participation in UFMG's 2019 Summer School is a further expansion of our partnership which stems from a strong foundation of academic collaborations. Building on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two institutions in 2016, the partnership has gone from strength to strength. With over 40,000 students, UFMG is the largest federal university in Brazil, very highly ranked within the country and consistently top 20 in the Latin American QS rankings. Recent activities made possible through this partnership include welcoming two early career researchers through our Rutherford Strategic International Fellows scheme and seed funding a collaboration between Professor Nicolini in WBS and the Engineering Department at UFMG.
João Vicente Faustino, Portuguese Subject Lead in the Language Centre commented;
"This is an excellent opportunity for our students, particularly those studying a BA in Modern Languages, to spend time in a lusophone country in addition to their other study abroad placements. Students will be able to build on their language and intercultural skills in a very open and supportive environment.”
Lucia Evans has been keeping a blog of her experiences preparing for the summer school and her first impressions when she got off the plane:
"I am a third-year student and have had an amazing opportunity to take part in a two-week summer school course at UFMG in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais Brazil. So how did I come across this amazing summer school opportunity? It was actually through the university that I heard about it and I applied. The application was quite easy and my Portuguese teacher helped me a lot. It was in fact a scholarship and only 40 people were successful so I was very lucky to have been picked.This is so good for me to absorb the Brazilian culture and also master understanding of Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese sound SO DIFFERENT. My main aim is to become more fluent in Portuguese and I think I will definitely be able to achieve this goal by the end of the two weeks.
There were a lot of things to be done before leaving for Brazil. After receiving my acceptance letter I was told that I had to get a CPF also known as “Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas” - it is the Brazilian individual taxpayer registry. After I had done that it was time to get my vaccinations. For yellow fever and rabies I had three rounds of the vaccine to make sure I was covered - one day I had 4 different types of injections: two in one arm and then another on the other. I must say my arms hurt a lot that day!
A few days before departure I started to pack my things into my suitcase. It was actually really hard to decide what clothes to bring as I could only take a limited amount but I managed somehow to fit everything in - not forgetting my teddy and Walkers crisps!"
My journey to Brazil was very good - I loved it! I checked in my bags and then I said goodbye to my parents. That was the hardest thing I had to do as it will be a long time until I see them again. I flew out with TAP Air Portugal where I departed from London Heathrow to Lisbon Airport. From there I had a connection of 1hr and then flew to Tancredo Neves International Airport which is in Belo Horizonte.
I have finally landed in Brazil! I can’t believe that I am actually here, it is so exciting! My first impressions of Brazilian people is that they are all very nice - the taxi driver was super chatty, recommending different things to see in Belo Horizonte such as the Lagoa da Pampulha, the City Centre and many more.
The accommodation that I am in is very nice and cozy. I shall be sharing a bedroom with a girl from La Réunion - she is the most energetic and chattiest person I have ever met. It is a really nice little apartment and also there are security guards out 24/7 which makes me feel more at ease. So far so good, I cannot wait for this week!!!"