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World Cup Fever

Viewing parties give ONU’s Brazilian students a reason to cheer

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil this month, many Ohio Northern University students are watching the matches with a sense of national pride, and not because Team USA advanced out of its group.

  • ONU International Student Services is hosting viewing parties for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Dicke Forum.
  • ONU has 42 Brazilian students enrolled this year through the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP).
  • In 2013-14, ONU had a total of 213 international students.

Students from Brazil comprise 20 percent of ONU’s international student population, and all of them are remaining in the United States this summer. But even though they are far away from home, they aren’t missing a minute of the action thanks to World Cup match-viewing parties in Dicke Forum sponsored by ONU’s International Student Services.

“Our Brazilian students are disappointed to be away during this exciting time in their country, so we have tried to bring a little of Brazil to them by giving them a common place to come together and watch the Opening Ceremony and the matches,” says international services coordinator Jamienne Scott. “We also want to share in the experience alongside them, so faculty, staff and other students are invited to join in on the fun.”

Evidently, ONU has World Cup fever, because Dicke Forum was near capacity for the first match between the host nation and Croatia. ONU’s largest international student population — students from Saudi Arabia — joined the Brazilians, as did college deans, faculty members and ONU staff. Brazil prevailed 3-1, but the best moment of the afternoon didn’t come from Brazilian striker Neymar. It came before the match, when the students stood and sang their national anthem with all the passion one might expect from Brazilian soccer fans.

Brazil is a historic soccer power. The five-time World Cup champion has dominated the sport for the better part of the last century. As the world’s biggest sporting event takes place back home, 42 Brazilian students are in Ada, Ohio, as part of the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP), embracing and celebrating their nation’s history while preparing for its future.

The BSMP offers students in STEM fields the opportunity to pursue study abroad in one-year, full-time academic programs with an academic training component. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Brazilian Ministry of Education, the Institute of International Education (IIE), and nearly 400 U.S. colleges and universities.

The students are often first admitted into English language programs, and they gradually fold in academic courses alongside their English courses until they’re taking full academic courses. Their periods of study can range from 12 to 18 months.

The BSMP began in 2011, but this is the first year ONU has enrolled such a large number of students from it. The Brazilian students have been a vibrant addition to ONU’s student population and have gotten involved on campus in numerous ways. At this spring’s Multicultural Fair, they had everyone doing the samba.

International Services has taken the lead in ensuring that all international students enjoy their ONU experience, especially during the summer when the campus and town are significantly slower-paced.

“We hope to stream several games throughout the tournament to give our students the opportunity to come together and cheer on their teams, and to participate in the unifying force that the World Cup is,” says Scott.

In addition to the World Cup viewing parties, the Office of International Student Services has a host of activities planned both on and off campus to engage the students socially. To learn about these activities and more, visit International Student Services.