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NOVA-Manassas hosting Brazilian students

Twenty-seven Brazilians are learning about the United States while studying at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. During orientation, they proudly wore their NOVA shirts.

Twenty-seven college students from Brazil are spending the academic year at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College, learning about life in the United States while pursuing programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The students arrived in mid-July for orientation and intensive English courses, and they will stay until the end of the 2014 spring semester. 

Some of the students shared their reasons for participating in the exchange program and their first impressions of the United States.

Octavio Ramos, 22, is from the state of Ceara in the northeastern part of Brazil where he attends the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceara. “I wanted to come to the United States to improve my English and to take engineering classes,” he said. “To be here is my childhood dream.” During his first visit to the United States, he hopes to travel to other states, enjoy Thanksgiving, experience snow and play football. “I am enjoying this program and I want to come back here when I finish my school in Brazil,” he said.

Priscila Oliveira de Lima, 24, lives in Divinopolis, Minas Gerais, and studies biochemistry at Federal University of Sao Joao Del-Rei. She wanted to come to the United States “to improve my English, get more knowledge about my course and know the American culture.” Since arriving she has been visiting “interesting places, such as museums and monuments in Washington, D.C.” She would also like to travel to Miami, New York and Las Vegas. In addition, she is hoping to get an internship in a biotechnology laboratory.  “I love to be here, it’s like a dream. I really want to enjoy this opportunity to improve my career,” she said. 

Ruan Lobato Guedes, 24, lives in Belem, Para, where he is studying engineering at the Federal Institute of Para. He wanted to participate in the exchange program “because I think the U.S. education is the best of the world.” This trip marks the first time he has been out of Brazil and he’s hoping to gain international experience and knowledge about United States culture. Since arriving, he has visited Washington, D.C., New York and Virginia Beach and he hopes to visit more cities and meet more people. “This exchange is a true dream for me,” he said.

Saulo Augusto Moreira attends Pontifical Catholic University of Parana for an engineering program. The 23-year-old from Curitiba, Parana, came to the United States “to improve my skills and to learn English.” He is hoping to gain knowledge and experience that will help him attain better jobs when he returns to Brazil. “I see this experience as an excellent way to discover that the world is so different in each country and this changes your way to see and understand many things,” he said.

Marcos Yoshikazu Nagao, 21, lives in Bastos, Sao Paulo. In Brazil he studies mechanization in precision agriculture at Fatec Pompeia. While in the United States, he hopes to learn about American culture, take a hockey class, watch a football game and make new friends. He also wants to improve his English and learn about new agricultural technology. “This program is a big chance that was given to me. My government pays my studies here and when I go back to my country I hope to progress in my field of agriculture,” he said. 

Rodrigo Martins Alves, 22, is from Minas Gerais. At home he studies computer engineering at the Federal University of Pampa. This is his first trip to the United States and, since arriving, he has been studying to improve his English. Before returning to Brazil he hopes to obtain an internship to conduct research in robotics and programming. 

Marah Mawyah teaches English as a second language at NOVA’s Manassas Campus and is serving as the coordinator for the exchange program. “I help the students negotiate the details of day-to-day life such as housing and transportation, give them advice about classes and help them register,” she said.

Mawyah is seeking internships to help the students gain experience in their fields of study. Organizations with intern opportunities may contact her at mmawyah@nvcc.edu.

The students are at NOVA through an innovative partnership with the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES) which offers one-year undergraduate scholarships for Brazilian students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at U.S. colleges. 

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.