FIPSE-CAPES Engineering Student Exchange Program

U.S.-Brazil Engineering Education Consortium on Renewable Energy

FIPSE - Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education of the US Department of Education

CAPES - Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior of the Brazilian Ministry of Education

September 2010

Project Summary and Objectives

Project Title:  U.S.-Brazil Engineering Education Consortium on Renewable Energy


Electrical Engineering Technology Students

Electrical Engineering Students

Mechanical Engineering Students


The U.S.-Brazil Engineering Education Consortium on Renewable Energy creates opportunities for students from both U.S. and Brazil to study and to interact with faculty members in a foreign institution with emphasis on the renewable energy. The participating students will have the opportunity to familiarize with a foreign language and culture, which will better qualify them to work in bi-national engineering projects. The partner institutions of the consortium in the U.S. are North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, North Dakota, and Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, Michigan, and the partner institutions in Brazil are Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA) in Belém, State of Pará, and Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) in Campinas, State of São Paulo.

The objectives of the consortium are:

  1. To enable international exchange of students between each partner institution and the two foreign institutions;

  2. To provide students with the language, culture, technical, and business skills to work in engineering in a globalized business environment;

  3. To give the opportunity to the exchange students interested in renewable energy to take classes and to interact with faculty members pursuing research and development in that field. We expect these students to be qualified to work in projects in cooperation with both Brazilian and U.S. partners, which is often needed in multi-national companies that are present in the two countries.

  4. Since Brazil is recognized as the world's first sustainable biofuels economy and the biofuel industry leader, which has significantly contributed to making that country energy self-sufficient, this program is also aimed at providing to our students the opportunity to interact with the Brazilian faculty and graduate students that are pursuing research and development in biofuels.

The students that are going to participate in this exchanged will have the opportunity to experience a different culture and learn a different language. Moreover, the engineering students will have access to classrooms and laboratories in a foreign country, and will have an opportunity to learn about similarities and differences on how engineering is taught elsewhere. The students will also have the opportunity to be involved in one or more research projects that are being carried out in several research laboratories at UFPA and Unicamp on renewable sources of energy. This experience is expected to have a positive impact in the professional careers of the students, and will also give them a better understanding, appreciation, and respect for the diversity of values that exists in different cultures.

Participant Institutions and Project Directors

Michigan Tech University — Houghton, MI, USA (Partner Institution)

Dr. Aurenice M. Oliveira (Project director)
Electrical Engineering Technology
411 EERC
1400 Towsend Drive
Houghton, Michigan 49931-1295 United States
Phone: +1 906-487-3657
Fax: +1 906-487-2593

Federal University of Pará — Belém, PA, Brazil (Lead Institution)

Dr. João Costa (CAPES PI and Project director)
Faculdade de Engenharia Elétrica e de Computação
Centro Tecnológico, DEEC
Av. Augusto Corrêa, s/n, Bairo Guamá
Belem, 66075-900 Brazil
Phone: +55 91-3201-7740
Fax: +55 91-3201-7740

State University of Campinas — Campinas, SP, Brazil (Partner Institution)

       Dr. Hugo Figueroa (Project director)
         Universidade Estadual de Campinas
         Faculdade de Engenharia Elétrica e de Computação
         Av. Albert Einstein, 400
         Campinas, 13083-970 Brazil
         Phone: +55 19-3521-3735
         Fax: +55 19-3289-1395

North Dakota State University — Fargo, ND, USA (Lead Institution)

Dr. Ivan T. Lima Jr (FIPSE PI and Project director)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
ECE 101E 1411 Centennial Blvd.
Fargo, North Dakota 58105-5285 United States
Phone: +1 701-231-6728
Fax: +1 701-231-8677

Student Funding

Self-supported exchange students

Student Selection

Credit Transfer

Possible Student Projects

Language Requirements

How to apply

Student Testimony

Student 1: Rebecca Rama - ECE Major

" My name is Rebecca Rama (Spring 2009), when I read about this exchange, I thought this would a great way to learn a new language and still graduate on-time!  Considering I didn’t know anything in Portuguese, I felt a little apprehensive at first like some of you might be feeling.  Let me tell you... you learn a language much faster when you are immersed in the culture.  Within six weeks of being here in Brazil and having Portuguese classes every weekday, I went from not speaking anything to actually forming sentences!!!  Now, I can actually carry a conversation with someone!  
My experience has been an amazing so far!  I having been taking 3 Electrical Engineering courses here at UFPA in Belém, Brazil for a month now, and have not had any problems! The Professors and Students here are very welcoming and like to get to know you better, a great environment to learn! If you are at all interested in this, I would at least try!  Who knows when you will have another opportunity like this!  Enjoy and take a little time to think about it!"   

Student 2: Joe Webb - EET Major

"I participated in the FIPSE exchange program from January 2009 to July 2009 at UFPA in Belém, Brazil. My experience in the FIPSE exchange program was full of learning and life-changing adventures. I will never forget all of the wonderful people I met and places I went in Brazil!
When I decided to apply for the program, I didn't know any Portuguese at all, but since I really wanted to study abroad and I saw that this was such a great opportunity, I went for it. Once I got to Brazil though, all worries about the language were set aside. Within a few weeks of daily language classes and living and talking with Brazilians, I was able to speak well enough to get around just fine. After a few months I was very comfortable with and confident in my ability to speak Portuguese.
My on-campus experience at UFPA was great. Six weeks of daily language classes were followed by a semester of engineering classes. The professors and classmates were very helpful, so if I ever had any trouble in my classes, I could always ask and everyone was happy to explain things to me. It was really a great experience seeing how campus life is in Brazil.
Besides life at campus, there is so much to experience in Belém and the surrounding areas. I went to many beautiful beaches and islands nearby. In the city there was always something to do, whether it is going to a concert or movie, visiting a zoo or museum, or just hanging out at the mall. I even got the chance to visit other major cities, São Luis and Forteleza. There is always something new and interesting to see and do and I honestly cannot wait to go back to Brazil!"


Information about State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas-SP, Brazil

Information about Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Belém-PA, Brazil

Articles and important links about the project

  1. US-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program

  2. Michigan Tech, Tech Today, January 8th 2008, "New Exchange Program Spans Cultural Divide",

  3. North Dakota State University, It's Happening at State, November 14th 2007, "NDSU receives international engineering education grant",

Presentations about the project

  1. “Opportunities for exchange program in USA: Consortium NDSU-MTU-UFPA-UNICAMP”, Dr. Aurenice Oliveira (Michigan Tech), Dr. Ivan Lima Jr. (NDSU), Dr. Kerri Spiering (NDSU), Campinas, Brazil on May 20th; Belem, Brazil on May 21th, 2008.


Project Directors City of Campinas City of Belem
  1. FIPSE-CAPES Project Directors Annual Meeting, Nashville, USA, October 2007
  2. Visit to UNICAMP, Campinas, May 2008
  3. Visit to UFPA, Belem, May 2008

Additional Information

The Brazilian students from Universidade Federal do Pará and from Unicamp who will participate in the student exchange at NDSU and at MTU in fall 2008 were selected during spring 2008. Since NDSU and MTU will be recruiting the first group of students to participate in the student exchange in Brazil during fall 2008, we expect that our prospective students will have the opportunity to interact with the Brazilian students and ask questions about their universities and the local culture and costumes in Brazil. Moreover, the students from NDSU and from MTU are likely to have the Brazilian exchange students that come to US in a previous semester as their colleagues while they are participating in the student exchange in Brazil. The faculty members of NDSU and MTU who are coordinating this program will promote regular meetings among Brazilian students coming to NDSU and MTU and the American students selected to visit Brazil in the following semester.

Travel Information

To be added soon...


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