By Erin Degerman, Admissions Officer
Dr. Brad Fox, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Master of Engineering and Master of Engineering Management programs, and I travelled to South America September 2013 to promote the programs to South American students and universities.
We travelled with other university representatives to several stops along the EducationUSA Fair Circuit in South America. EducationUSA is a part of the U.S. Department of State. Its mission is to advise “international students with accurate, comprehensive, and current information about how to apply to U.S. colleges and universities”. As part of fulfilling that mission, they host educational institutions to join in recruiting fairs.
Dr. Fox and I were able to join in 5 cities on the EducationUSA circuit.
To start off with, Dr. Fox and I went to São Paulo, in southeast Brazil. While there, we were able to meet with representatives from University of São Paulo (USP). We were warmly welcomed by Guilherme Santos Grise Serviço de Relações Internacionais Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Prof. Dr. Marcio Lobo Netto Associate Professor Electronic Systems Engineering.
From Sao Paulo we travelled to Campinas to visit University of Campinas (UNICAMP) visit recap where one of their alumni, Renato Mourao, attended for his undergraduate studies. We were hosted by Dr. Laura Ward and Peter Schulz from the School of Applied Sciences at UNICAMP Limeria nearby.
In meeting with representatives, we were able to better understand the education system in Brazil as well as explain our programs that we offer at Duke and how graduate engineering education in the United States is structured. We discussed how things specifically at Duke University are structured within Engineering. Both universities were gracious in hosting meetings with us and showed off Brazilian hospitality to us as their guests.
With EducationUSA we were able to speak to Brazilian students exploring their options for studying in the United States. Pictured is Dr. Fox explaining some of our material to an eager student. The Education Fairs were set up similar to Career Fairs and interested potential students went and visited booths of those institutions and programs.
The second stop was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here we enjoyed meeting with the Fulbright commission in the city. The Fulbright Commission in Argentina explained to us about the opportunities that Argentine students have studying in the United States.
We met with interested students at the Education Fair. There was even a current Duke University undergraduate student studying abroad who volunteered at the Education Fair who introduced herself to us- Duke love everywhere you go!
Over the weekend we were fortunate to get to visit the Pink House and see the obelisk. It was great for us, since a tour is only offered on the weekend as the Pink House is still in use for governmental operations.
Then it was on to Lima, Peru. Unfortunately, it was a brief visit to such a beautiful and industrious country. We were hosted by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) and enjoyed speaking with interested students both there and at the fair itself. We even ran out of our brochures at the fair!
Peru has an abundance of unique fruits and vegetables; one of the unique drinks we were able to try was Chirimoya Cremolada and it was quite refreshing.
Our next stop was beautiful Santiago, Chile. Again, some of our current students offered help and advice to set up a university visit with Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. We met with Dr. Mauricio Lopez, and Dr. Jorge Vera Andreo. In talking with them we were better able to understand the process for engineering education in Chile.
At the fair we were able to meet several interested students and tell them about engineering opportunities at Duke University. One student, Serjio Hinojosa, won a roundtrip flight in a drawing at the fair. He was convinced we were part of his good luck in winning- he is pictured with Dr. Fox.
The EducationUSA staff took the school representatives out to a Chilean restaurant that featured traditional folk songs and dancing. The Easter Island dance was quite a contrast to the mainland ones! The natural beauty of the city was wonderful snow capped mountains, gorgeous sunsets and was a sharp contrast to the modern, sleek city.
Our last stop was in Quito, Ecuador. We met with Dr. Cesar Zambrano and undergraduate students at Universidad de San Francisco as well as the scholarship granting organization, Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (SENESCYT). This scholarship organization provides funding for Ecuadorian students who want to study at universities in the United States and other countries.
In Ecuador we were able to meet up with Duke Law alumna, Johanna Roldan, who gave an informative tour around Quito. My favorite view was from the top of the mountain overlooking the city. We were less than 100 km from the Equator but didn’t get the chance to visit the monument.
We often stress to our students about the power of networking, and this trip to South America is no different. EducationUSA staff, current students, alumni from the MEM program, Duke alumni, and many others all made this recruiting trip possible. We hope that many more South American students will come and study at Duke University and enrich us with their perspectives.