The University of Santa Cruz do Sul (Unisc) is preparing to accept, in the coming weeks, a group of 26 Canadian students for a period of academic activities and cultural exchange. Initially, 15 students joining the “A Journey That Matters: Indigenous Knowledge Exchange Canada & Brazil” program will stay for two weeks in Santa Cruz do Sul, from May 21 to June 4 with funding from the Government of Canada. Between May 27 and June 4, 11 students will arrive for only one week at the university, which is part of the “International Short Term Programme”.
Both programs are the result of Unisc’s collaboration with Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE), with all students visiting the university. For families in Santa Cruz do Sul wishing to host Canadian students at home, it is necessary to fill out the registration form on the unisc.br website, in the Highlights section, click Exchange and then Host for foreigners. There is still the possibility of accommodation for the first program which will run from 21 May to 4 June.
To ensure true immersion in Brazilian culture, students need to be greeted by a family from Santa Cruz do Sul. Thus, the family must be willing to undergo this experience. According to Unisc International Office coordinator, Cristiana Verônica Mueller, anyone who welcomes one of the students, apart from cultural exchange, will come into contact with English as an aspect of enrichment experience. “University students will have the opportunity to learn about Unisc, our municipality and region, our local culture, perhaps having their first contact with Brazilians and the Portuguese language, making it a full learning experience for everyone involved. Everyone who will interact with the group of students will also have the opportunity to learn more about Canada and Canadian culture through the exchanges this kind of experience enables.”, he pointed out.
An enriching experience
Residents of Santa Cruz do Sul, Elisângela Cristina Reis and Celso Luis Reis, accepted exchange students from the Czech Republic earlier this year, between 25 February and 11 March. According to the couple, the experience was so positive for them and their children ages 5 and 13 that the family has signed up to host Canadian exchange students.
Although many people are afraid to accept someone they don’t know, there are all criteria that are analyzed by the university itself. When filling out the adherence questionnaire, families inform the routine and what they expect from the students they will receive, which is agreed beforehand and avoids many surprises. “There are very clear rules from the start, which avoid unpleasant situations and embarrassment, because we are talking about different cultures, so what for us in Brazil may be “normal”, for people from other countries may not and vice versa as well. it can happen,” explained the couple.
The first time they received exchange students, the family said that their routine had not changed much, because from the first day they had agreed with the visitors about the flow of activities, how they were organized with assignments, work, home, school and children. . “We propose, in our free time, to go with him, take a short walk and also take advantage of this exchange of other cultures and languages. This welcoming moment expands our knowledge, awakens us to a new culture, customs, language, and most importantly, widens our vision and perspective on the possibilities that lie ahead.”, they emphasized.
Earlier this year, the Colombian student Santiago Jaramillo López, 20, from Corporación Universitaria Empresarial Alexander Von Humboldt, from Colombia, had the experience of being welcomed to the region. In Santa Cruz do Sul, he stayed 15 days and found the experience fantastic. “I learned a lot about Brazilian culture and how it differs from Colombian culture. What I like most about this city is the atmosphere and the friendliness of the people, because I never felt like a foreigner, this city welcomed me very well from the start. The family I stayed with were amazing, they welcomed me in a very friendly way and made me feel part of the family.”, concluded this Software Engineering student.
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