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Recruiting Intelligence

Brazilian Students Look Abroad. Will You Get a Slice?

The Brazilian president announced a program in July of 2011 known as Ciência sem Fronteiras. This multi-year initiative, financed by the Brazilian government, intends to send 75,000 fully-funded Brazilian students abroad for training in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, with an additional 25,000 scholarships expected to be funded by the private sector. We are impressed by the Brazilian government's announcement and its quick implementation of a broad-based scholarship program. The focus on STEM and the strong integration with internships is a promising model for Brazil. Other countries should be tracking the success of this program.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the administrator for students sponsored to study in the U.S. In late October, IIE published a report: "Brazil Scientific Mobility Undergraduate Program in the United States".

We want to highlight a few facts and encourage everyone to think beyond the government-sponsored scholarships:

  • U.S. universities account for 27% of the awarded scholarships (see Figure 1 above), which is a good position as part of a government funded program. The program is expected to grow to 2,500 students per year coming to the U.S..
  • The number of Brazilian students in the U.S. should show an increase in the coming years from the 8,777 in 2010/11. At the same time, there will be a substitution effect of private education investment. A certain number of students who would have chosen study in the U.S. using private funds will be funded by government scholarships instead.

These new developments prompt a few thoughts on our part:

  • From a marketing point of view: How do we expand university branding opportunities in Brazil? How do we leverage this initial boost of Brazilian students into a much larger pool of students with private funding? Can we use the increased flow of Brazilian students to encourage rising high school students and undergraduates to choose the U.S. for their continued studies? Social media and Orkut come to mind.
  • From a policy and process point of view: Can we establish joint programs, credit recognition and international student internships and ongoing employment opportunities between the U.S. and Brazil? International employers seeking specific skills and cross-cultural capacity should be eager to create such a network.

According to the report, IIE is actively working with U.S. host campuses and corporate partners to identify more internship opportunities and match more students with businesses and organizations that are interested in providing a quality internship experience. A new on-line interface, to be launched by IIE in November 2012, will facilitate this process for both students and participating companies. See IIE graph below for a breakdown of Brazilian students' areas of interest.

We welcome such a broad-based initiative to attract and educate employers on the ability to hire international student interns. The attractiveness of our universities will be further enhanced by such offers.

Breakdown of the Science without Frontier Scholarship Awards by Major Fields of Study
Topics: Insights