Launched in 2017 by the International Relations Department (DRI) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), the Global July Program brings together students and teachers from all over the world in Juiz de Fora for free courses in all areas of knowledge – Exact Sciences, Life Sciences, Linguistics, Literature and Arts, Humanities, and Health Sciences. With the partnership of the Postgraduate and Research (Propp) and Undergraduate (Prograd) Pro-rectories, the program places UFJF as an interesting destination in Brazil for vacation courses, in addition to strengthening the internationalization of the University, attracting foreign students and teachers and enabling new partnerships.
The courses, taught in several languages, take place in the UFJF Science Center, a scientific outreach complex with a planetarium, an astronomical observatory, museums, and exhibitions. The building has more than three thousand square meters and capacity to receive over 700 people, bringing science closer to the community, expanding knowledge beyond the walls of the University. The place is one of the largest centers of scientific communication in the state of Minas Gerais and is also home to the largest didactic study center in Astronomy in Brazil. It applies state-of-the-art technology, state-of-the-art equipment and is open to both the academic community and the nation’s citizens.
“The project has grown beyond our expectations and has become UFJF’s largest internationalization program. With courses at undergraduate and graduate level, it is possible to count on the same number of foreign guests and teachers of the house”, says the director of the International Office, professor Barbara Daibert.Uruguayan professor Matias Rafael Navarrete taught the course “History of Economic Thought” in 2018 and sees the event as one of the few opportunities to meet professorsfrom different areas and countries. “In addition to the specific tasks that each professor performs during the event, this is an important opportunity to make contacts that may eventually end in future academic collaborations that transcend the specific goal of Global July. On the other hand, it is also an important opportunity to make and strengthen the bonds between universities. In the case of Uruguay and the Universidad de la República, agreements could be signed with several departmentsfrom the contact generated in the Global July”, he reported.
One of the offered courses is Portuguese for Foreigners, which introduces foreign students to the fundamentals of the Portuguese language, based on a variety of inputs so that they become familiar with the language while they experience the community inside and outside UFJF. The Portuguese for Foreigners course is offered to students of different nationalities since 1980 at the UFJF. In 2017, an expansion allowed the participation of more students from the university, as well as foreigners from the external community, implementing new ways of working and training new teachers to carry out these activities.
“Portuguese for Foreigners is the only place where the teacher speaks Portuguese and works as a meeting point for foreigners of different nationalities. Global July opens windows for the world to know the UFJF and the work developed here. The activities of the College of Liberal Arts leave the department and gain an institutional scope. Many students come to the course and decide to stay here. Others return to undergraduate or graduate courses”, says Professor Denise Weiss, coordinator of the area of Portuguese for Foreigners.
In order to welcome foreign participants, volunteer students developed, in partnership with DRI, the Buddy Project, which supports the demands of everyday life in the city and in the university, as an aid in the search for stay, as well as to promote meetings and cultural trips. The Argentine student Azul Borga studies Psychology at Universidade Nacional de Córdoba and considered the reception of the students a differential for those who come from other countries. “The college is wonderful! All the people who welcomed me were very friendly and very attentive to anything I needed. I learned the language through the lessons, but also with the peerswho always had a lot of patience, in the day-by-day living, while they spoke. I loved the activities outside the campus, which allowed me to make friends from all over the world. Coming to Brazil was my first trip alone and all the personal growth made Global July one of the best experiences of my life.”
Italian vising professor Elena Pagni is UFJF and taught for the first time in 2018. For her, interculturality and interdisciplinarity are the main pillars of Global July. “The event happens in a period of school recess which allows the meeting and the approach of all students and professors, Brazilian and foreign, creating an interculturality between people. Since courses are not mandatory, it is possible for students to become interested in other areas of knowledge. This interdisciplinarity is also interesting for professorswho can think about courses in a comprehensive way, spreading knowledge without limiting aspects”, she explains.
For Brazilian students, the event is a unique opportunity to learn from foreign teachers. “The lesson is taught in a different and challenging way, which has allowed me to learn a lot. For me, these events are very important because they bring discussions about everyday issues in a different, dynamic, interactive way, and especially in another language. It is great to be part of it, regardless the student’s proficiency in the language of the lecturer. In addition to the content, this is also an opportunity to practice and listen to a fluent person talking about the topic”, says the Journalism student, Julia Garcia. For the Pharmacy student, Giovana Gomes, this is also a chance to explore the interdisciplinarity of the event. “It’s an opportunity to learn a lot about your studying area, but also from many other areas, which takes you out of the routine and allows you to go further.”
Global July also offers Side Events, with the aim of providing an international experience that goes beyond regular classroom courses. Workshops, lectures and cultural activities related to internationalization are offered by local and foreign partners, enriching the international atmosphere of UFJF and providing a broaderexperience to all participants. More information about the event can be found at www.ufjf.br/globaljuly.