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Brazilian youth ambassadors visit the UW

This weekend the UW said a collective “bem-vindo” to our Brazilian neighbors.

Six Brazilian high school students visited the UW Jan. 19 as part of their 2008 Youth Ambassadors Program, a two-week educational exchange to the United States to strengthen ties between the two countries.

The Youth Ambassadors Program aims to give disadvantaged Brazilian high school students who demonstrate outstanding character, leadership, academic excellence and civic duty the opportunity to visit the United States and increase mutual understanding between the United States and Brazil, according to a World Affairs Council press release.

After visiting the University, Youth Ambassador Marina Rolim, 17, said she plans to apply to the UW.

“I like it so much,” Rolim said. “It doesn’t compare to Brazil. At the universities here, students have more opportunities and the resources are much better. In Brazil there’s one library for one university. It’s [a] big [library], but here it’s different because there are lots of libraries for each of the [schools].”

While in Seattle, the students are attending Roosevelt High School and participating in many after-school activities, including meeting with the Mayor’s Youth Council, Earth Corps and the Bahia Street non-profit organization.

The program offers the students, serving as ambassadors of their country, the chance to learn more about U.S. culture, society and education and to resolve any international misconceptions.

On Saturday the students went on a tour of the UW campus, discussed the international community at the University with representatives of the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS) and attended the UW men’s basketball game against Oregon State, said Matt Potter, the program officer for the International Visitor Program at the World Affairs Council.

The World Affairs Council had the students visit the UW “to get a look at college life in the U.S., to see how international students fit into the campus community and to get a sense of the role of the University in the greater Seattle community,” Potter wrote in an e-mail.

Seattle is one of six host cities to participate in the program, which is coordinated by Delphi International, the U.S. Embassy in Brazil and the World Affairs Council in Seattle.

“I hope that they [came] away from the afternoon with a sense of the collective pride that both UW students and Seattle residents have in the University, a belief that they possess the knowledge and abilities to attend a university like this and a greater understanding of the U.S. system of higher education,” Potter said.

[Reach reporter Sara Bruestle at news@thedaily.washington.edu.]

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