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USA: IIE to run STEM fairs in Latin America

The Institute of international Education (IIE) has launched a series of university fairs in Latin America to help science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students connect with US universities. The fairs will be held in America’s top student markets in Latin America: Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

The fairs will take place in Mexico, Brazil and Chile – the US's top Latin American markets

Some 41% of all foreign students in the US took STEM courses last year.

In a statement IIE said the fairs, run in partnership with EducationUSA, were “a unique venue” for US universities to connect directly with Latin American STEM students.

STEM fields represent the most sought after majors in the region

“As theme-specific fairs are not generally available in Latin America, they offer a rare window for universities and students to obtain specialised knowledge and information in these important fields,” it said.

Despite having offered scholarships and training in Latin America since the 1930’s, IIE has never run one of its university fairs in the region. A new focus on Mexico, Brazil and Chile is well timed, however— IIE predicts mobility to rise from all three.

In Mexico, the top source country in Latin America, IIE says initiatives from both the Mexican and US governments are pushing up enrolments at US universities. In 2012, 13,983 students from Mexico studied in America.

On the second biggest, Brazil, it cites the Brazil Scientific Mobility Programme (formerly Science Without Borders) – which enables Brazilians to study one-year sandwich courses in science abroad. “We anticipate that there will be increased interest in coming to the United States to study as the students return to Brazil and share their experiences with their friends and classmates,” it said.

“We anticipate that there will be increased interest in coming to the United States to study as the students return to Brazil”

Chile also “presents excellent opportunities for outreach”, due to the government-backed Becas Chile programme, launched in 2008. The scholarship scheme aims to send 30,000 students abroad by 2017 and the US is one of the leading destinations for the programme.

Overall, Chilean enrolments are climbing gradually, totalling 2,203 in 2012.

The fairs will augment broader US government efforts in the region, including President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, launched in 2011, which aims to get more US students to study in Latin America and the Caribbean. The fairs will be held in various cities between between April 21 and May 6.

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