Western's Global Initiatives Continue
September 26, 2013
MACOMB, IL – One of Western Illinois University's many initiatives includes enhancing international programs both on campus and abroad. This fall, the University welcomed 15 new students from Brazil as part of a cooperative agreement with a federal program and the Brazilian government.
The students enrolled at the Macomb campus to begin intensive English language courses and undergraduate classes during the fall and spring semesters, followed by a Summer 2014 internship experience. According to Rick Carter, executive director of WIU's School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, the University recently entered into an agreement with the Institute for International Education (IIE) to host the students from the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP). The IIE, which was founded in 1919 in New York and currently has 1,000 member institutions, administers the Fulbright Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.
"The partnership came about as a result of the visit President Jack Thomas and I made to the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. earlier this year," Carter noted. "We were fortunate to meet with the Brazilian ambassador to the United States and share what Western can provide students from his country."
According to Carter, the BSMP is an initiative of the president of Brazil to provide up to 100,000 scholarships abroad, funding scholarship recipients' tuition, living expenses and travel and providing J-1 visa sponsorship. The IIE matches students with host institutions by field of study (STEM emphasis) and other individual criteria. Major fields of study are mathematics, information technology, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, physics, civil engineering, computer engineering, biology, medicine and art and design. Illinois ranks fourth in the number of BSMP scholars at 122 students, Carter added.
"Plans are underway for a new group of BSMP students to arrive and begin a similar schedule in Spring 2014," Carter said. "Prior to the arrival of these students, Western has had only one or two Brazilian students in the WESL program. We are so pleased to be a part of this international initiative to provide a stellar undergraduate experience to these students."
The partnership is just one of many initiatives at Western to bolster international opportunities for WIU students abroad, as well as those international students who wish to obtain English language skills and a college degree at Western, Carter noted. Since Spring 2012, Carter has ventured to Botswana twice, and Carter, Thomas and Macomb Mayor Mike Inman visited with numerous embassies in Washington, D.C. on two separate occasions. Western has also hosted Her Excellency Ambassador Ms. Tebelelo Seretse of the Republic of Botswana and other dignitaries at the Macomb campus, and Carter participated in the 15-day State of Illinois-sponsored Higher Education Trade Mission to China. The University also welcomed members of the Royal Thai Embassy to campus, which culminated in 10 high-achieving students from Thailand enrolling at WIU in Spring 2013.
More than 370 students from approximately 50 countries call Western and Macomb home.
For more information on international studies and study abroad at WIU, visit wiu.edu/international_studies.