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14/06/2017 - 07:00hs

Brazil looks to draw Lebanese students into universities

The Brazilian embassy in Beirut’s educational office puts out information on seats in graduate and postgraduate courses in Brazil. Over 500 non-Brazilians are studying in the country via Education Ministry programs.

São Paulo – The embassy of Brazil in Beirut launched an initiative designed to draw Lebanese students into Brazilian universities. Since last April, the Brazil-Lebanon Cultural Center has an educational office whose job is to provide guidance to people interested in studying in Brazil.

“The ambassador [Jorge Kadri] decided that there was a need to enhance cooperation in education with Lebanon,” explains Thiago Oliveira, head of the culture and education department of the Brazilian embassy in Lebanon. Kadri is the ambassador of Brazil in Beirut.

According to Oliveira, the office puts the word out about available seats in graduate and postgraduate programs (Programa de Estudantes-Convênio de Graduação - PEC-G/Programa de Estudantes-Convênio de Pós-Graduação - PEC-PG), as well as professor and research exchange opportunities.

“Via these programs, seats are made available for foreigners in several courses,” the diplomat explains. “The Lebanese who join these courses build a lifelong connection with Brazil,” he says. Each year, 500 foreigners enter graduate and postgraduate courses in Brazilian universities.

The seats are offered to students from countries with which Brazil sustains educational agreements, such as Lebanon. Some private universities are also involved, and they offer slots to foreigners free of charge, including the Rio de Janeiro and Campinas chapters of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC).

While the courses are made available to non-Brazilian students who join the program at no charge, high-performing students or those from very poor countries can also get scholarships to cover other costs while in Brazil.

The Brazilian Ministry of Education keeps in touch with the government of Lebanon to find out what courses are most in-demand from Lebanese students. “Usually it’s Medicine and Health in general, as well as Engineering, Agriculture, Renewable Energies and Environmental Risk Management,” says Oliveira. “These are highly developed fields in Brazil,” the diplomat remarks.

According to Oliveira, cooperation project is in place among Brazilian and Lebanese universities for students in Lebanon to spent time studying in Brazil. The ambassador pointed out that over the past few days, agreements have been entered into by Lebanese universities and Grupo Coimbra de Universidades Brasileiras (GCUB), a group of Brazilian universities.

These agreements were reported on by ANBA. GCUB is a civil association focusing on academia, science and culture, comprising 77 higher education institutions in Brazil.

Oliveira adds that the cost of living in Brazil is cheaper than in Lebanon, another advantage for Lebanese students considering getting an education in Brazil. “When you factor in rent, food and transportation, the cost of living is cheaper in Brazil.”

The cost of an education in private institutions is also higher in the Arab country. “A Medicine course in Lebanon can cost as much as USD 150,000. This is also an opportunity for people looking to study at private universities in Brazil,” says Oliveira.

Good Portuguese-speaking skills are required in order to study at a Brazilian university. However, many universities offer Portuguese language courses for non-locals, and this allows non-fluent students to begin their courses nonetheless and then learn as they go.

Interested students can contact chancellery officer Samir Funchal Oliveira at the educational office of the Brazil-Lebanon Cultural Center from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm, or send an email to samir.funchal@itamaraty.gov.br.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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