The Office of International Affairs (RELINTER) at UFRGS is developing a new project aiming to facilitate the arrival and stay of international students here in Porto Alegre. The project, known as Brazilian Friend, is about finding a Brazilian student who is willing to assist students in various aspects of the exchange.
Student exchange is the best way for interaction between cultures, bringing mutual benefits to both parties. Foreign exchange students will benefit in many valuable ways, and this program creates an opportunity to facilitate integration into Brazilian Culture. By participating in the Brazilian Friend program, students will be able to begin networking to make new friends, practice Portuguese, and become more comfortable with the transition to living in a new country. Brazilian students will have the opportunity to practice a foreign language, have exposure to another culture, share experiences, make new friendships, and gain a wider perspective as well.
The Brazilian Friend activities are decided amongst the students, foreigner and Brazilian. Usually, Brazilian students establish contact with their foreign friends before their departure, giving them tips about the city of Porto Alegre (climate, prices, activities, etc), helping them to find a residence, and making plans for airport pickup. After the arrival of the student, his/her Brazilian friend can show them around the city, introduce them to their friends, take them to parties and include them in many activities of their everyday life. This all helps the foreign student feel comfortable and integrated into Brazilian culture, allowing them to explore the city and culture on their own.
I want to have a Brazilian Friend, what can I do? First of all, it’s important for foreign students to be aware of cultural and ideological differences that may occur between friends. Adopting an open-mind and accepting attitude towards these differences is essential. After making the decision to participate, students may start the application procedures for meeting a Brazilian friend. Upon receipt of the applications, the RELINTER team will provide contact between interested students who have similar profiles, according to the information provided on the form.
Students interested in receiving the list of Brazilian friends available should request it by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team at RELINTER is sure that this will be an invaluable experience for both parties, and we are available to answer any questions concerning this project.