Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Portuguese Language, Culture and Entrepreneurship

Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Portuguese Language, Culture and Entrepreneurship

At a Glance

What it is: Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Portuguese Language, Culture and Entrepreneurship - a Penn State Summer Abroad Program, a Faculty-Led Program, organized and led by a Penn State faculty members, with courses taken with Penn State students only, focusing on a single theme or academic discipline
Status: approved by Penn State's Office of Global Programs
Where: In Belo Horizonte, Brazil
When: 5/15/17 to 6/23/17 (6 weeks)
Pre-Requisites: The program is open to all majors since the entrepreneurship class and the culture and elementary Portuguese classes have no prerequisites.
Courses Offered: Students will take two of the three listed below:.
- IST 299 (Advanced Topics in Digital Entrepreneurship, taught in English)
- One Portuguese course from the list: PORT 199 (elementary Portuguese) or PORT 299 (Portuguese Conversation and Composition)
- PORT 499 - Brazilian Culture (taught in English)
Why Belo Horizonte? Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in English) is a young and vibrant city known for its strong economy, industry and sports. It has a dynamic software startup scene hosting a group of 50+ tech start-ups in the nicknamed San Pedro Valley, located at walking distance from where the classes will be.
Why Brazil? Besides being known for Samba and Soccer, Brazil also has a growing economy (seventh largest economy by nominal GDP in the world), vibrant culture, and cutting edge research.
What's unique about the program? Opportunities for students to do what Penn State calls engaged scholarship. Part of the program is a two-week volunteer opportunity with the local government departments and with San Pedro Valley start-ups.
Faculty: Fred Fonseca fredfonseca@ist.psu.edu, Associate Professor - IST
Dayse Bede daysebede@psu.edu, Lecturer in Portuguese - the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese - Liberal Arts.
More about Belo Horizonte:
- CNN - 6 reasons to visit Minas Gerais, Brazil
- Techcrunch Tech in Brazil is Booming
- The Economist: Start-ups in Brazil - Samba in the valley
- The New York Times : 36 Hours in Belo Horizonte
- Lucire: Found horizon: the hidden gems of Belo Horizonte
- The New York Times: Ronaldinho played in Belo Horizonte in 2013/2104
- Belo Horizonte will host a few olympic soccer games as part of the Rio 2016 Olympics. Rio, not included in the program, is 250 miles away from Belo Horizonte.
- US Diplomatic Representative to Minas Gerais, Brian Bauer talks about Belo Horizonte.
- Astronaut, Sam Cristoforetti shows Belo Horizonte from the space.
How to Apply If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking Apply Now.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
- Education Abroad Questionnaire
- One academic recommendation
- Signature Documents
Visit the How to Apply section of PSU Global Programs website for more information.
Application deadline: February 1, 2017

The Program

Introduction

Besides being known for Samba and Soccer, Brazil also has a growing economy, vibrant culture, and cutting edge research. Brazil is also among the top priorities of Penn State’s recent initiative, GEN, Global Engagement Network. The program is going to be another step in supporting Penn State’s “commitment to solving the world's most pressing challenges through a multi-layered engagement of research, faculty, and student collaboration.” The Portuguese language course (basic, intermediate or advanced) is required to ensure that students will have a meaningful cultural experience during their stay. There is also an important link with the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI). The IST 299 course can substitute for one of the required courses in the Digital Entrepreneurship & Innovation cluster.

The Program

The program will take place in Belo Horizonte, the 3rd. largest metropolitan region in Brazil with a population of 2.5 million people. Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon in English) is a young and vibrant city known for its strong economy, industry and sports. Its University system, UFMG, is ranked 2nd in Brazil by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Students will take an IST Entrepreneurship class and one Portuguese language class according to their level (beginning, intermediate or advanced) or two Portuguese classes. The program will profit from the dynamic software startup scene in Belo Horizonte. The city hosts the nicknamed San Pedro Valley, a group of 50+ tech start-ups located in the São Pedro region. Both the local government, which has a department dedicated to support and encourage startups and the local Software foundation (FUMSOFT) are interested in the program and will provide opportunities for our students to do what Penn State calls engaged scholarship. Part of the program is a 2-week volunteer work opportunity with the local government departments and with San Pedro Valley startups.

In order to help Penn State students engage in the day-to-day life of the city, students will also have opportunity to mingle with their assigned local peers. The peers are college students from UNA, a local private university and supporter of the program. UNA is a vibrant and innovative institution of higher education and is considered one of the best private universities in the state of Minas Gerais. This peer system is already in use and successful with another program hosted by ICBEU. Northeastern University has been taking students to Belo Horizonte for 3 years now.

Classes will be held at ICBEU - the Cultural Institute Brazil-United States, a traditional foundation in Belo Horizonte created 60 years ago to enhance the relationship between Brazil and the U.S. Students will be staying in shared rooms in local hotel, centrally located within walking distance from classes and close to the many cultural points that the city has.

Academics

The required courses will include cultural components, with visits and presentations that highlight the local culture and support the class materials. The courses will also include a number of hours of engaged scholarship, doing volunteer activities with the local government and local startup companies supervised by Penn State faculty. Students will engage in these opportunities after completing 4 weeks of Portuguese course work. The program will find opportunities for the students according to their level of proficiency.

Choose

- one IST course and one Portuguese course
or
- two Portuguese courses

IST 199 - Digital Entrepreneurship - 3 credits

The course will examine the local scene of Internet software and security start-up companies. It will use case studies to teach students how to create, develop and maintain technology start-up companies. Successes and failures will be studied by using also local developers as invited presentations. The course will be taught by Penn State faculty with support from a local faculty, Walter Marinho, an entrepreneur himself, currently a teacher at PUC-Minas, the second most important local university. Walter is a former president of the state software association, FUMSOFT.

There will be 4 classes a week of 90 minutes each. The engaged scholarship part of the course will run for 2 more weeks with 16 hours each week. The total credit hours for IST 299 will be 56 hours.

Port 001 – Elementary Portuguese I – 4 credits
Port 299 – Conversation and Composition - Advanced Portuguese – 3 credits
PORT 499 - Brazilian Culture - 3 credits

The language courses will be taught by Penn State faculty with local support of ICBEU, the Cultural Institute Brazil-United States. Besides regular class activities, there will be also short trips and visits to local attractions, and presentations from invited speakers. The opportunity for a full immersion course will be used to give students a real experience with the language and culture of Brazil.

Students that complete the Portuguese courses will be able to take advanced level Portuguese classes after they return to Penn State. Because of the intensive Portuguese Language practice, students might be able to pass a test to see if they attained a third-level proficiency in Portuguese after they return.

There will be 4 classes a week of 120 minutes each. The engaged scholarship part of the course will run for 2 more weeks with 16 hours each week being supervised by Penn State faculty. The total credit hours for each Portuguese class will be 64 hours plus 32 hours of supervised practice.

Local Support

The faculty leading this program have met and discussed the program with the institutions and persons below. All of them strongly encouraged the submission of this proposal and willing to support the program if it is approved.

ICBEU - The Cultural Institute Brazil United States (ICBEU) is a well-known institution in Belo Horizonte that was created in 1949 to support the exchange of ideas and culture between Brazil and the U.S. It is centrally located and has classrooms, a library and a theater that will be used by the program. ICBEU also will provide the local support for the program.

Belo Horizonte Local Government – PBH Belo Horizonte is interested in supporting this program offering students opportunities for engaged scholarship. The Office of International Relations will be the central point for the organization of student activities and volunteer work.

Dr. Walter Marinho - an entrepreneur himself, currently a teacher at PUC-Minas, the second most important local university. Walter is a former president of the state software association, FUMSOFT.

Updates - November 2015

Scholarships available on a competitive basis for students with intermediate or advanced Portuguese skills.
- Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

Changes in the required courses: The IST 237 course is not required anymore. Students that are more interested in Portuguese language and Brazilian culture can take 2 Portuguese courses instead of one IST course and one Portuguese course.