The University of Iowa

Brazil Science Without Borders Program

April 17th, 2012

In January of 2012, approximately 650 of Brazil's top-notch undergraduate students traveled to the United States to study on U.S campuses as part of the Science without Borders program, sponsored by the Brazilian government. The University of Iowa has had the fortune of hosting four participants in this two semester academic scholarship program, and is expecting to host more Brazilian undergraduates in the fall. Below, the four undergraduates have shared some of their thoughts and reflections on life at the University of Iowa.

Antonio Carlos Gomes Rocha

“The University of Iowa is renowned for being among the best universities in the United States. It is located in Iowa City, and everything you want is located close to where you live. This is great because it doesn’t take long to get anywhere and gives me more time to study. Plus, walking is great for my health and the environment. The campus infrastructure is amazing. We really have everything we need to develop ourselves as students and citizens. The Engineering Department provides great support for students. The Seamans Center for Engineering Arts and Sciences is a complete department, with good classrooms, access to computer and machining laboratories, and more. There are several activities available within the department which are well-communicated to students and allow us to participate. The Professors are experienced and know how to pass that knowledge on to students. Students are all friendly, too! In addition to my studies, I am involved in Spanish and Portuguese free group conversation and Judo training classes.”

-Antonio Carlos Gomes Rocha, Automation and Control Engineering, University of Iowa

Karina Lopes Pereira

“I have been surprised by the high quality of education Americans have access to. The University of Iowa and the cinema department push students to achieve academic and personal excellence, and the University makes this known from the moment students arrive on campus. The cinema department has small classes which are well balanced between film theory and production. The department has an ambiance that makes you feel integrated and comfortable to participate in class discussions. Professors are very knowledgeable and willing to go out of their way to help students succeed. The students and locals are very friendly, approachable, and open to a variety of cultures, ideas, and beliefs. The campus is beautiful and diverse. The University of Iowa has great facilities and an inviting community which give students the opportunities of a large university but the experience of an intimate small college. There are countless ways to get involved in campus life, and I achieved this through student organizations. I participate in the University of Iowa Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and the English Conversation Group. My favorite spot on campus is the Bijou cinema, which is a non-profit, student-run cinema located at the Memorial Union.”

-Karina Lopes Pereira, Cinema, University of Iowa

“The University of Iowa offers you the freedom to choose several combinations of classes and majors, which makes it possible to have a very unique education. The Computer Science Department is very organized and helpful. I have never failed to obtain any help or guidance from anyone in the department. Also, there are colloquiums every Friday in which we can meet brilliant people from the field of Computer Science and learn about what they are doing. The colloquiums also help keep students spirits motivated by providing us more inspiration for prospective full-time creative employment by letting us know what opportunities are out there after we complete our studies. Overall, the city is clean and safe and people put a lot of effort into keeping it that way. Also, the city has a great concern about educating drivers and keeping drunk drivers off the road, which is great! The campus is well planned. The buildings are close and everything is within walking distance. The locals are respectful and courteous. The University also provides numerous extra-curricular activities. For example, I participate in the UI Breakers, a breakdancing group, gymnastics, and residence hall events like the sushi workshop. I am also trying out for the Hawkeye Dance Connection, which is a hip-hop group and looking into an entrepreneurship discussion group."

-Guilherme Baptista Prudent, Computer Science, University of Iowa

"I like the fact that Iowa City is completely centered on the University of Iowa…almost everyone in Iowa City is focused on the University in some way. Brazilian universities are made in a totally different system. There is no university life, sports leagues are not strong, and usually you go to a university in your own hometown and keep living with your parents.  That’s why being here is awesome: I am living on campus, totally focused on my academic commitments. I especially like the facilities; they are very well structured and totally support my needs. I am a medical student in Brazil, but here I am enrolled as an undergraduate student so I am taking classes in different departments. The professors seem to be very committed to classes and are very well trained. Taking classes in English has been the biggest problem. I can understand almost everything, but my thoughts work in a different language, so sometimes it is difficult to adapt in a way that people can understand. I enjoy going to recreation and wellness centers to train for all kinds of sports. In fact, I have just enrolled in the Brazilian jiu jitsu club. My favorite spot on campus is definitely the Hillcrest Market Place as it is comfortable, always playing nice music, and there is a beautiful view of campus."

-- Felipe Lobato da Silva Costa, Medicine, University of Iowa