Campus.ie takes a look at Brazillian students adapting to life in University of Limerick, with 148 of them attending this year...
Brazilian exchange programme Science Without Borders generated €3.4 million for the University of Limerick last year.
With 148 students currently on campus, the University of Limerick (UL) received the highest number of Brazilian students out of all universities and institutes of technology in the country for the academic year 2014/2015.
According to Elaine Mullane, Study Abroad Senior Administrator at the University of Limerick International Office, already 116 students are confirmed to arrive for the coming academic year 2015/2016 which will mark the 3rd year of the programme.
This places UL in 3rd place after DIT and UCD which means that the University will be the highest-receiving institution in the country outside of Dublin.
"We are delighted with it [the programme]. Calling Brazil one of our top-sending markets at this stage is something we are very proud of. We are excited to continue to grow our relationships with Brazil and are excited to see what the future brings for Science Without Borders," Ms Mullane said.
The students will sit final exams in May and most will then take up summer internships in UL which are sourced by the University or participate in Summer School programmes on campus.
Science Without Borders is a programme fully funded by the Brazilian Government available to students of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject areas only.
The full income received from the programme by the Univeristy of Limerick covered tuition fees, accommodation, health insurance, Summer School placement following Spring Semester exams, as well as Pre-sessional English Language classes for some students.
Ms Mullane said she is impressed with the standards of students applying to UL.
"The students are very enthusiastic from the outset, and come to UL with a very positive outlook. They are very eager to learn; they are committed students and they have incredibly warm personalities,"
"They bring a fantastic vibrancy to the campus; it is infectious really!," she added.
The benefits of the programme are evident for both the University and the students.
"The students have been very helpful in terms of promoting UL as a destination university that Brazilian students love. They are great ambassadors for both the university and our lovely city. We are very fond of them and hope to continue receiving students through this programme for years to come," Ms Mullane said.
Carol Garcia, a student of environmental engineering at the University of São Paulo (Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos), said that she chose to come to Limerick because of the University and the courses on offer.
"I thought that the city would be bigger and better but I chose the University of Limerick because my course, environmental engineering is quite new, and it is not available in all universities. Even though a course in environmental engineering doesn't exist in UL there are modules which are similar to the ones I take in Brazil," she said.
"I also chose this University to be able to take some modules in economics because I found out that the Department of Economics in UL was very strong," she added.
The good news about UL is spreading all around the world as Carol heard about it from her friend who studied here last year as part of the programme and really enjoyed it.
Augusto Ponso Alves, a student of engineering at the Mauá Institute of Technology (Instituto Mauá de Tecnologia) in São Caetano do Sul, also in the state of São Paulo, said that even though Dublin was a tempting option, he decided to go for Limerick.
"When I arrived in Limerick the city turned out to be better than I thought it would be, with lots of attractions and it is nice to live in so it surpassed my expectations, just like the university. I had already known that the university would be excellent but at the end it is even better," he said.
Regarding the classes and differences to their home universities, Augusto praised the Limerick way of life.
"The life that we have here is very good, all the classes are of a very high standard, I don't regret anything about my choice," he said.
Carol added that the Irish education system is different from the Brazilian as it focuses more on individual study outside of the classroom.
"The education system is here different, in Brazil everything is given ready to us, pre-prepared, here it's different, you have to do it all yourself, in Brazil we have more hours of class, here we have less hours but we need to study more outside of the classroom," she said.