Learn it First hand from our Students

Priscilla Ambrosi's Testimony

Hometown: Rio De Janeiro
School in Brazil: Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul
Major: Biomedicine (Undergraduate), CWRU

How did you know about this program?
I'm always looking for opportunities to study abroad. I’ve learned about the program through online news. As soon as they announced the official opening of the program, I’ve applied for a scholarship.

What drove you to join this program?
My dad travelled a lot and always brought good stories back home. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to visit other countries and experience foreign cultures by myself, just like my father. Also, I am very passionate about life sciences research, and I knew that being a part of this program would help me get closer to the scientist I am working really hard to become.

What is your first impression about CWRU or USA?
Everything is huge. And there are so many things I can do… CWRU offers a lot of resources to its students. Also, the campus is very organized and pretty. I would say that tuition fees are responsible for the main differences between CWRU and my home university – federal universities in Brazil are completely free.

Tell me about differences between schools/lives here and in Brazil.
The education system is very different. In Brazil, I’m used to enrolling to 30 credits per semester, which means a lot of time in the classroom and less homework. Here, we have less class time, but a lot of assignments. I guess that the final workload is the same, but I have to be more careful with my time management here. Also, my home university is bigger, and there are more undergraduate students than graduate students, which is the opposite from CWRU. And the food is better (and cheaper!) in Brazil! :)

Tell me about culture shock or any impact which you are not used to after coming to USA.
I still can’t understand how one can have sandwiches for lunch and potatoes for breakfast. USA eating habits are completely different from Brazilian ones. On the other hand, I appreciate the cultural diversity here, for I have the chance to meet people from all over the world.

Do you make friends here in USA?
I find it hard to connect with class colleagues, but fellow Science Without Borders students have become some of my best friends. Also, I’ve made friends in the lab, and with neighbors from The Village.

What is your most special, unforgettable experience during the past 6 months?
At the end of the Spring semester, my friends and I went to the football field next to The Village. We started running on the grass field with no shoes on. It was really relaxing. It was one of those moments when you forget about everything and just appreciate and enjoy life. “Freedom” is the best word to describe that moment. Also, I was really excited when I was invited to join the Biology Department softball team. I had a lot of fun learning to play a typical American sport!

Tell me about your internship.
It is a research internship. I am studying the embryonic development of fruit flies, trying to understand the basis of cell fate decisions. The whole project is very exciting and my confocal microscopy images are simply gorgeous.

Is there any suggestion that we can help you or other Brazilian students in the future?
All Brazilians were very confused with “rush” events. We do not have fraternities or sororities in Brazil and we didn’t know if we could join them here (or even why or how we should join them). In addition, maps with supermarkets and relevant bus information would be very welcomed. But overall, the orientation team did a great job!

Mario Fernandes's Testimony

Hometown: Lencois Paulista
School in Brazil: University of Sao Paulo
Major: Physics (Undergraduate), CWRU

How did you know about this program?
My Dad told me, and it seemed a good opportunity.

Why choose USA? Why choose CWRU?
We could not choose schools. Instead, we could just choose certain areas, fields that we are interested in. Then IIE, an intermediate organization will match us with specific schools. The only thing we can decide is to accept it or not.

What is your first impression about CWRU or USA?
I thought Americans arrogant, but surprisingly I realized that they actually are nice and friendly after coming here.

Tell me about differences between schools/lives here and in Brazil.
Everything is different, but it is not better or worse. For instance, in Brazil, we have bad professors in states school. They just want to get rid of class. In USA, professors give students attention and interact a lot. Homework here in USA is much heavier than in Brazil. Sometimes I think it is too much, because many theories need time to think and digest. Other than school and assignment, I can only have time to browse Facebook now. In addition, I am used to food here now but still I miss rice and beans which are main dishes in Brazil.

Tell me about culture shock or any impact which you are not used to after coming to USA.
In Brazil, it is common to kiss on someone’s chicks when meeting people or saying hi. But here it is not like that. People usually prefer to keep some distance. At first I thought my suitemate was pissed at me, but after talking to him I realized he just needs more private space.

Do you make friends here in USA?
Most of my new friends here are international students such as Korean. American students do not interact with me a lot. I hang out with other four Brazilian students most.

What is your most special, unforgettable experience during the past 6 months?
I went to Detroit for Roger Waters (previous Pink Floyd member)’s concert, the Wall. Although Detroit is an empty city, it made me feel like home. People there for the concert were full of passion. I talked to them five minutes as if I knew them entire life.

Tell me about your internship.
I am doing my internship with a new Physics professor for some electronic projects. I set direction for each object and monitor how it responds from the currency graph. I have learned a lot because it is new to me.

Is there any suggestion that we can help you or other Brazilian students in the future?
No, I cannot think of any. I just want to tell coming students to enjoy professors out here. They are really nice and patient.