Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published October 29, 2015

Scholars from Brazil

Santos Freitas, Almeida Sartori spending year in Monmouth through BSMP
  • Matheus dos Santos Freitas and Izabel de Almeida Sartori are two Brazilian exchange students studying at Monmouth College as part of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program.
Matheus dos Santos Freitas, one of two exchange students studying at Monmouth College this year as part of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP), has only been on campus a short time, but he neatly captured the essence of Monmouth.
  “They try to help with my English and are really nice to me,” he said of the college community, adding that he appreciates the benefits of a smaller campus and surrounding town. “You really get to find yourself here, and it’s easier to study without a lot of commotion one would find at a large city university. This really is a good place to be.”   The student who joined Santos Freitas on campus, Izabel de Almeida Sartori, has ambitious dreams, and she plans to use her year in the U.S. to help her prepare for one of two careers that two of the most outstanding women to attend Monmouth experienced – Hall of Achievement inductees Betty Oberstar Weiss ’44 and Karen Bush Watts ’65.   “For now, I’m just going to study really hard,” said Almeida Sartori, who plans to begin a career in the cosmetics industry after finishing college. “L’Oreal is my biggest goal, because I love their makeup.”   That calls to mind Weiss, who had a distinguished career with Clairol.   “But if that does not work out, then I’d be interested in working for one of the larger pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson and Bayer,” she added.   That would put her on a path shared by this year’s Hall of Achievement inductee, Watts, whose resume included several years at Johnson & Johnson, one of three major companies for which she worked.   BSMP scholarships are awarded to students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. After completion of an academic year, including a summer internship, exchange students return to Brazil to complete their degrees. Students like Almeida Sartori and Santos Freitas also bring their new research power and knowledge to Brazil’s universities.   Administered by the Institute of International Education, the initiative is part of the Brazilian government’s larger effort to grant 100,000 scholarships to the best students from Brazil for study abroad at the world’s top universities. The program provides an exchange experience at a U.S. college or university to a diverse group of emerging Brazilian student leaders, widening the academic and research exchange between the U.S. and Brazil.   “They choose countries that have good university structures,” Almeida Sartori said, adding that the BSMP gives students applications to a variety of colleges and helps in selecting the right fit for each student.   “BSMP students go through a rigorous selection process in Brazil,” explained associate dean Bren Tooley, who directs the college’s international initiatives and recruitment. “Monmouth College is honored to have been selected as a host institution. We are fortunate to have Izabela and Matheus with us for this academic year. They have excelled in their undergraduate studies at their home universities and they are now seeking to combine continued growth in their chosen majors with study at a liberal arts college in the U.S. This choice requires courage, academic seriousness and a wonderful sense of adventure.”   Almeida Sartori, who is majoring in engineering and chemistry in Brazil, is taking biochemistry courses at Monmouth and says organic chemistry is her favorite. While acknowledging that it can be difficult attending a new school, she is glad the people she’s met at Monmouth are “very friendly.”   “Everyone here is really supportive,” she said. “The international students are also very helpful since they are in the same boat as me.” Many of them have become her friends, helping to ease the transition.   Santos Freitas, who also counts several international students among his friends, is a computer science major at Monmouth. He first became interested in the field when he took a technology course in high school.   “I really enjoy my programming language class because it pushes my mind,” he said, adding that after his year in Monmouth has passed, he plans to return to Brazil to obtain his master’s degree.   Santos Freitas is still adapting to his new environment but hopes to get involved with music or theatre before the end of the year. He is also willing to teach Portuguese if there are members of the campus community who want to learn.   “I am very happy that we are participating in the BSMP program this year,” concluded Tooley. “It’s been a pleasure to meet Izabela and Matheus, and their presence on campus makes a positive difference to us all, within their classes and beyond. I certainly hope to welcome more BSMP students to campus in future.”
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