A group of 14 students and one professor from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), England, arrived in Juiz de Fora on Sunday, July 16 (Photo: LJMU)

The Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) will host 14 students and one professor from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), England, for an immersion program lasting approximately one month, from July 16 to August 11.

The visit of the group marks the debut of the Program in Learning and Experience of Nature in the Tropics (Planet), created by UFJF and funded by the British government. One of the goals is to annually receive members from universities in the United Kingdom for a short period between July and August, during the summer vacation. The experience obtained from this first edition of Planet may encourage the expansion of the project to other partner institutions.

During the four weeks, the students will participate in the Global July program, another internationalization program at UFJF, which offers short-term courses taught in foreign languages. They will also visit cultural and tourist sites in Juiz de Fora, such as the Cine-Theatro Central, the Botanical Garden, and the Mariano Procópio Museum. On the weekends, they will travel to Ibitipoca, Brumadinho, and Tiradentes, cities located in the state of Minas Gerais. The group will also take part in art workshops, Brazilian dances, and capoeira. The itinerary and arrangements for the visits are being organized and executed by the junior company of the Tourism undergraduate program at UFJF, Inova Rumos.

“It will be novel, fascinating, and exciting,” anticipates Professor Will Swaney from LJMU, who will accompany the students during the first week of their stay. “In addition to contributing to UFJF’s international projection, the arrival of this group exposes our students to other ways of experiencing and understanding these activities through the eyes of a visitor,” explains Hugo Rocha, Manager of Cooperation Agreements and Incoming Mobility at UFJF International Office.

Among the students, there are 11 British, two Irish, and one Portuguese student, coming from ten different courses such as Architecture, Law, Physics, Psychology and Media and Publishing. In his first visit to Brazil, Finn Cusick, a student of Geographical and Environmental Studies, says that the country has always been a dream destination. “The vast contrast between the environment and surroundings of the UK and Brazil particularly gravitates me towards visiting Brazil.  In addition to exploring the rich culture Juiz de Fora and Brazil have to offer whilst meeting many new people along the way,” lists Cusick.

The visitors will also be accompanied by UFJF students selected by the Buddy Project, which has been helping integrate and assist international students with daily life issues for about 8 years in partnership with the International Office. It is an opportunity for both parties to exchange experiences, obtain recommendations, and practice languages. This aspect particularly interested Cusick for a better immersion in the local culture. “I also expect to thoroughly enjoy the Global July programme as it covers many diverse topics including biological and health sciences..”

“By hosting the 14 LJMU students for a short period at UFJF, we open up the possibility of more spots for our students in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, with the presence of this group at UFJF, we create an international atmosphere and promote intercultural dialogue on campus regardless of international travel,” emphasizes Hugo Rocha.

New agreements

Professor Swaney also aims to expand connections between the two institutions with this visit. For this purpose, a meeting will be held with UFJF faculty interested in cooperating with Liverpool John Moores University. The meeting, which does not require registration, will take place next Wednesday, July 19, at 2 p.m. in Auditorium 1 of the Sciences Center, on the campus. The meeting is open to any UFJF faculty member who wishes to learn about partnership opportunities.

“One of the biggest challenges of South-North cooperation agreements is keeping balance in mobility because we always have many Brazilian students interested in studying abroad in the Northern Hemisphere and few British students willing to spend time studying in Brazil, either due to lack of language proficiency or other reasons. In this context, the Global July program has proven to be the perfect tool to promote this balance. With Global July and Planet, we have the potential to bring the entire world to UFJF’s campus,” explains Hugo Rocha.


Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) is a private institution founded 200 years ago in 1823 as a mechanics school. It has approximately 25,000 undergraduate students in 330 courses, as well as 180 options for postgraduate studies, including MBAs, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Prominent alumni include former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and Olympic medalist in artistic gymnastics Beth Tweddle. In the 2024 QS World University Rankings, LJMU ranks between 751 and 760. UFJF ranks between 1,201 and 1,400, being the 100th in Latin America.

Beginning of the agreement

The partnership with LJMU arose from the contact between the International Office (DRI) and the former employee of the same department at the British university, Guro Buchanan. Throughout her career, Guro participated in various volunteer projects, studies, and work experiences abroad. One of her most memorable experiences was in Salinas, Northern Minas Gerais, Brazil which inspired her to contact UFJF in 2019 to provide a similar experience to LJMU students.

With the support of UFJF’s Offices of Graduate Studies and Research, Undergraduate Studies, Outreach, and Culture, the International Office drafted a four-week program of immersion in education, society, environment, and culture in the surroundings of Juiz de Fora, aligned with Guro’s expectations of exposing students with life in the Brazilian countryside.

The result of these discussions is the first edition of the Program Planet (Program in Learning and Experience of Nature in the Tropics), funded by the British government through the Turing Scheme, the British equivalent of the European Erasmus program.

Some of the highlights of the visit


For further information:

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