Brazilian Grad Students on Campus
MBA students from the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) in Lavras, Brazil, are spending nearly a month with Northern’s English Language Institute. Their visit runs through Aug. 8. It combines English-language classes, an academic service learning project, cultural activities and weekend field trips, a Marquette orientation tour and presentations by NMU faculty on business and marketing topics.
“As Brazil is increasing economically and starting more contact with foreign companies, it is more important to get skills in communication,” said student Helga Andrade, pictured far right during a session in Whitman Hall led by instructor Tiffany Comfort. “Even for the university research area, it is important to publish in English to improve universities and show more of what they do to the world. Many publish in Portuguese. They have to pay to translate papers. We are excited about having all of this information about business that this university brings to us and also to improve our English. This is the first international experience for most, except two of us. It opens the window to another view and culture.”
Director Jo Doran redesigned the former English as a Second Language program when she was hired last August and it morphed into Northern’s English Language Institute. NELI helps non-native speakers to acquire language proficiency that will make them admissible to NMU for credit-bearing courses. It also prepares students for three language matriculation tests (MELAB, IELTS and the Internet-based TOEFL).
The six-level NELI program focuses on academic components of reading/writing, listening/speaking and grammar/language applications. It offers team teaching and individual instruction. Other features include NMU volunteers and American students who serve as conversation mentors and language partners, respectively; trained speech pathology and audiology tutors to help with accent reduction; and seven-week blocks that allow students to begin their studies at five different times throughout the year.
“This is the first year we’ve offered a summer program like this,” said Doran. “NMU and UFLA have a long history of collaboration and Kevin Timlin (International Programs) worked with our partners there to develop this summer program. But we’ve been dealing directly with the students, with support from the International Programs staff, to design the program to fit their needs. They are very motivated students and we have a large program planned for them that revolves around an environmental/ecology theme. They’re doing a marketing study for the Noquemanon Trail Network as a service learning project. They will also canoe the Au Train River and see the Seney Wildlife Refuge and Porcupine Mountains while they’re here.”
The students will be at NMU through Aug. 8 and spend three days in Chicago before returning to Brazil.