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More than 600 English courses offered by Brazilian HEIs

A new, first of its kind report has been released by the British Council mapping the spread of English as a Medium of Instruction across Brazilian higher education institutions.

More than two-thirds of the English language programmes in the survey are offered by public universities including the University of São Paulo. Photo: Flickr/Rodrigo Soldon.

89% of institutions reported to have on-campus security

Developed in collaboration with FAUBAI, the Brazilian Association for International Education, the report shows for the first time the number of English-taught courses in Brazil’s higher education system.

Based on responses from 45 private and public higher education institutions, the survey found more than 600 courses are available in English across the country. Out of these 671 courses taught in English, 418 were short term programmes and 78% were free of fees.

The southeast of the country, which incorporates São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, has the most (61%) programmes taught in English, according to the guide. Institutions in the south of the country, meanwhile, claim 30% of the courses taught in English.

“From the beginning we did not expect such a high number of classes taught in English”

The report includes a guide to the courses at each institution including academic programmes, short-term courses, Portuguese as a foreign language, doing business in Brazil and Brazilian culture for foreign students.

Renée Zicman, executive director of FAUBAI, said she was surprised by the number of English taught courses in the country.

“We knew that a lot of Brazilian higher education institutions were organising themselves and offering classes in English, but in fact if you asked me how many, where, who is doing this, we did not know,” she told The PIE News.

“From the beginning we did not expect such a high number of classes taught in English and this is very, very important to offer new opportunities for international students to come to Brazil to take classes in Brazil in English.”

Rebecca Hughes, director of education at the British Council, said the report aims to inform international officers and potential foreign partners about the opportunities available in English in Brazil.

“I think it will be more used by universities who are looking for partners who teach in the medium of English and I would encourage people to use it in that way so that there is a level of professionalism around it,” she said. “But it’ll also be mostly used by heads of international offices, heads of mobility, to have a resource to say ‘Have you ever thought about Brazil? let’s look at this together’.”

“Heads of international offices, heads of mobility … have a resource to say ‘Have you ever thought about Brazil? let’s look at this together’”

The responding HEIs enrolled over half a million undergraduate students – 573,147, as well as 52,173 graduate students and 9,884 international students.

The survey also polled institutions on the international student services available on campus. Eighty-nine percent of institutions reported having on-campus security and more than half (56%) have a buddy/angel programme for foreign students.

Individual institution profiles show the international student services it provides. The University of São Paulo, for example, hosts 3,237 international students annually (based on a three year average) and has an international studies’ centre on campus as well as dormitories, security and cafeterias.

“Welfare is something that is sometimes a barrier to mobility,” noted Hughes. “Will I be safe? Am I going to live on campus? Is there a way for me to get to a doctor if I’m ill? are quite practical things.

“I like the fact this guide has started to categorise institutions with opportunities around student welfare. It’s an important enabler as well.”

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