The Institute of International Education (IIE) has recently launched a five-year initiative called Generation Study Abroad aimed at doubling the number of Americans studying abroad. As the IIE President and CEO, Dr. Allan E. Goodman says, “International experience is one of the most important components of a 21st century resume.” Considering North and South America, the number of exchange students going from Latin America to the United States is much higher than that of Americans studying in Latin American countries. To change this situation, general interest in educational exchange between the US and Brazil is certainly at a historic high. At the government level, the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP) is granting 100,000 undergraduate and graduate scholarships to top Brazilian students, some 30% of whom are going to the US. President Obama’s 100,000 Strong initiative aims at a similar effort on the American side and, as regards Brazil, has played an important role not only in ensuring that many more Brazilians will study in the US, but also toward increasing the number of Americans who study in Brazil.
As a Binational Center, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s mission is to contribute to cultural and educational development in the DF and to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of Brazil and the US. Through its EducationUSA Advising Office (EAO), one of the comprehensive EducationUSA centers in Brazil, CTJ has been actively engaged in efforts to support and orient students, professionals, parents and the community at large about educational opportunities in the US. Through our fairs, workshops, advising activities, and general support of US-study initiatives, we have forged stronger relationships with local educational institutions and government organizations interested in expanding study-abroad opportunities for Americans in Brazil, as well as with US institutions and international education organizations.
In that context, and to the extent that the other side of the coin of Brazilian interest and participation in the world is the growing evidence of interest and participation of the world in Brazil, we feel the time is right to commit resources and our foreign language teaching expertise to also supporting the effort to increase the number of US students and professionals participating in study-abroad programs in Brazil and in Brasilia. CTJ has recently joined the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Study Abroad Generation Commitment, whereby US institutions of higher education and international partners like CTJ pledge to undertake combined efforts to double the number of US students participating in short-term study-abroad programs. The Brazilian Portuguese Program at CTJ is a result of that commitment. It is our objective to seek collaborations and partnerships with US higher education institutions interested in providing those within their student bodies (and communities in general) who have an interest in Brazil and the Portuguese language with an expertly designed and run short-term Portuguese language / Brazilian cultural immersion experience in Brasilia, DF, which is productive, fun, and safe.