Part of the Brazil’s Federal University system, the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF) and the Universidade de Brasília (UnB) are public research universities, funded by the Brazilian government and educating both undergraduate and graduate students. Admission to these universities is highly selective, and only a fraction of those who apply are admitted. In contrast to the American system of undergraduate education, in which students typically fulfill general education requirements in their first two years of study and select a major for their final two years, undergraduate students at the Brazilian universities apply and are admitted to study a single subject for their four years at university. These restrictions, however, do not apply to ACM students participating in the UFJF Liberal Arts & Sciences exchange program, who may elect courses in any field of study for which they have appropriate preparation. Students participating in the Environmental Studies exchange program will be able to choose courses from among those offered by the wide range of departments and faculties (equivalent to a college or school at an American research university) at these two universities.
In enrolling at a Brazilian university, ACM students will experience a learning environment that differs from that at a small liberal arts college, and is perhaps more akin to graduate-level education in the U.S. Like their fellow students at UFJF and UnB, ACM students will be expected to work independently outside of class, selecting and reading books and articles on their own and managing their time without the weekly “guideposts” of assigned readings, quizzes, and other assessments that typically are required in college courses in the U.S. This affords the student the opportunity to read widely on a particular topic of his or her choice, but also demands a certain amount of self-discipline.
Please note: The academic year in Brazil begins in March, with the first semester running from March through July, and the second semester from August through December. In reviewing course options, students should be aware of this distinction: a first-semester course in Biology, for example, will be offered during the ACM spring semester, while ACM fall semester participants will choose from second-semester course offerings.
Students in the Environmental Studies exchange program
The course and field experiences at each of these universities will enable ACM students to better understand how environmental outcomes vary across different natural, policy, and cultural settings. The exchange experience will give students an opportunity to refine their environmental understanding through exploration and application of new environmental issues. The experience will provide first-hand contact with host environmental field sites through coursework distinctive to these settings and through developing new relationships with faculty and students who are engaged in longer-term study of these settings at host institutions. Among other highlights, the program will provide special opportunities to explore the interaction among environmental resources, agriculture, and the push for bio-fuels and other alternative energy sources, a set of issues particularly pertinent to these two regions.