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UVU Expands Study Abroad Options to Include Brazil, Russia

30 October 2009 No Comment

October 30, 2009
For Immediate Release

For more information: Grant Skabelund (801) 863-8709
University Marketing & Communications: Erin Spurgeon, (801) 863-6807
Written by: Alex Strickland (801) 863-6351

With an increasingly competitive job market in the modern global economy, Utah Valley University students now have a few more options to get a leg up on the competition and expand their education thanks to a pair of new study abroad opportunities. New programs in Russia and Brazil will take more than 20 students to two of the world’s biggest economic powers to improve their language skills and get a handle on the culture.

“We have faculty who want to give their students that international experience,” said Grant Skabelund, the director of UVU’s International Study Programs. “That’s the key with any program, to have faculty who are willing to put in the time to make that happen. That’s why we’re everywhere we are in the world.”

In all, UVU has about a dozen options for students to pursue during a portion of their summer break, ranging from art history in Italy to digital media in Namibia. And as student awareness and interest increases, Skabelund said the options are growing at a brisk pace. A Germany program launched in the summer of 2009 and for 2010, trips to Brazil and Russia will provide the first opportunities for UVU-sponsored learning in those countries.

Both the Russia and Brazil programs are language-based, and students on both of the four-week trips will take intensive language courses at universities in Moscow and Florianopolis, respectively. Students in both programs will also spend time taking in some of the cultural attractions of both countries and getting a feel for daily life abroad, if they haven’t already.

“Our community here at UVU has lots of students who have served an LDS mission in Brazil, so you served a mission there or know someone who did, so there’s a strong connection,” said UVU Portuguese professor Debora Ferreira. “We have a good mix of missionaries and people who have never been who are interested in the program.”

Ferreira said the Brazil program will also feature a service learning component, as UVU students will have the chance to help Brazilian college students with their conversational English while they’re in Florianopolis.

“They have Brazilian students who will work as English teachers or translating or interpreting and some of those students don’t have the opportunity to study in English-speaking countries,” she said. “To have someone there to help them is valuable, and it will help our students with Portuguese as well.”

In Russia, students will study at Moscow State University, which occupies a lofty perch above the country’s capital city. Students will focus on language skills in the mornings with cultural study filling the afternoons.

“Students have the great advantage of being taught by professors of Russian and Russian studies who specialize in teaching their native language as a second language,” said UVU Russian teacher Marina Panina. “Students gain competence more swiftly than they could imagine.”

The trips to Russia and Brazil will take place in May and June of 2010, and the early deadline for students to sign up and still receive a $300 discount is Dec. 18. For more information on both programs, visit www.uvu.edu/international/isp.

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