Andreza: Creating a US community in Brazil

Andreza Barbosa Rego is a Northwest Community College Initiative alumni who studied information technology at Edmonds Community College in 2010-2011. She is currently studying at Seneca College in Toronto on a Science Without Borders scholarship from the Brazilian government. She plans to return to her home institution, the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Rio Grande do Norte, in Brazil to complete her degree next year.

 Name: Andreza Barbosa Rego
Country: Brazil
Major: Information Technology
School: Edmonds Community College
Current institution: Seneca College, Toronto, Canada

Can you tell us a little bit more about what you are doing in Canada, and what you’ve done since you left NWCCI? Will you be finishing your degree in Brazil?

As I did in NWCCI, I am studying subjects related with my course in Brazil, systems analysis and development, and when I come back to Brazil I will finish my degree. Since I got back from NWCCI, I studied and got an internship using the skills that I learned in the USA. I did my internship at a company called RNNegócios, where I was responsible for the web development and web design.

How has NWCCI benefited you personally and professionally? Do you think you would have done Science Without Borders if you hadn’t had your first international experience through NWCCI?

After my NWCCI experience I become a better person – more responsible, and dedicated. With NWCCI, I learned skills that completed my previous knowledge and it was the reason that I got the internship, I learned leadership skills and the big differential is that I know more than a basic programmer because I know more about web design. I do not believe that I could be here in Canada without the NWCCI program, especially because my English would not be enough.

How are you using your experiences and education in the US now?

When I came back to Brazil my friends and I applied for the US State Department Small Grant Award and we won it. The goal of the proposed US Explorers project was to promote a wider worldview and better understanding of American culture and society within the educational community of (my home institution, the Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN). This was done via cultural activities and events organized and planned by a club of State Alumni. The State Alumni shared the cultural and linguistic knowledge they gained through their exchange experiences to help develop an English speaking community within IFRN and open dialogue about cross-cultural exploration and education. Through these events, classes, activities and subsequent discussion and reflection sessions, the State Alumni promoted a wider worldview, expose people to additional understandings of American culture and society, stimulate more open-minded Brazilian students and generally benefit others within their educational community.This project in my community just happened because my experiences and education gained in US. Now there is another group in the club doing the events and this group was inspired by us. They never lived in US but they studied and dedicate so much that today they are able to inspire and teach people of our community.

 What was one lesson you took back with you to your country?

The most important lesson was the “volunteer spirit”. It was so beautiful to see people donating their time to help others. The world needs more volunteers and I saw how US citizens do the job. When I came back to Brazil, my goal was bring this “volunteer spirit” to my community and I believe that with the US Explorers project I planted the first seeds.

What was one idea you had about the United States that changed as a result of the NWCCI program?

The NWCCI program showed me how international the US is. I never imagined I would meet so many people from other countries and even come to see those people as my own family. The world became small and I have brothers and sisters around world and I am so thankful for that.

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