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Searching for bright minds

It is fairly common to find smiley and talkative young Brazilians in Vancouver, mixing English and Portuguese in the parks, clubs, bars, and busy sidewalks of the lower mainland. The city has notably been one of the most popular destinations for ESL (English as a second language) students but now, due to recently established partnerships between UBC, SFU, Kwantlen and Brazilian post-secondary institutions, top students will have the opportunity to come up north to experience British Columbia for an entire year.
On April 25th, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) sent nearly 30 presidents of post-secondary institutions to Brazil for a week. They joined Governor General David Johnston on a mission to position Canada as an attractive destination for students taking part in the recently announced Science Without Borders scholarship program.
“We must not be content to sit back, admiring the determination of our southern friends. Rather, this is the time to generate strong new partnerships with Brazil that will secure future opportunities for British Columbia, and Canada“, declared Stephen Toope, president of the University of British Columbia, during a speech in Brasi­lia, Brazil’s capital.
The institution will receive Brazilian students for summer internships, as well as for master’s and PhD fellowships through the Globalink Program developed by Mitacs, a national, non-profit research organization that encourages international academic exchange.
Johnston also met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to announce the creation of 12,000 spots for Brazilian students at Canadian universities over the next few years. The agreement was sealed through the Science Without Borders program and through CAPES, a Brazilian organization that facilitates post-secondary education nationally and internationally.
Professor Andrew Petter and Dr. John McKendry, presidents of Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University respectively, were also in AUCC’s Brazil mission and affirmed Vancouver’s position as a major recipient of exchange students from the South American nation. Kwantlen created a Horticultural Science Scholarship for undergraduates to spend one year at the institution. Similarly, Petter established a number of partnerships between SFU and its southern counterparts, including a partnership with Unicamp (University of Campinas), one of the leading Brazilian universities, and FAPESP (Sao Paulo Research Foundation).
The future of Brazilian-Canadian relations is promising. In the next years, Vancouverites can expect to meet even more young Brazilians who will play an important role in consolidating bilateral bonds.

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