Brazilian BSMP Students Celebrate ESL Graduation
“The Best Teachers I Have Ever Had”
Quoting British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, the Brazilian student took the microphone and spoke enthusiastically about knowledge gained and the value of others’ help in attaining success. The mood was celebratory, the setting was a festive luncheon event in honor of the BSMP (Brazil Scientific Mobility Program) Level 5 graduates of the ESL Academy; the day was a perfect, blue-sky Colorado Friday on August 15.
“Two months ago, when I learned I had to write and present a fifteen-minute research presentation—completely in English—I thought ‘how can I ever do that?’ “ another student speaker explained to the audience of students, ESL Specialists, members of the Office of International Affairs and University of Colorado Denver leadership. “But Ms. Drew showed me my mistakes. And she and the other ESL teachers showed us the proper way to do research and gave us great advice.”
“The teachers are like true friends”, interjected another student. “They are always advising.” He turned to tease his fellow graduates, “They are especially patient with Victor and Rodrigo.” Laughter erupted, along with cheers, applause, and shouts of appreciation when the names of the ESL Specialists were mentioned.
The BSMP students had good reason to celebrate. Coming from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and diverse regions throughout Brazil, their outstanding academic records came to the attention of the Brazilian government, making them candidates for the respected Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. BSMP, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education initiative, is a scholarship program funded by the Brazilian government and administered by the Institute for International Education (IIE). It is a result of joint efforts from two sponsoring organizations: CAPES (Brazilian Ministry of Higher Education) and CNPq (Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology).
The BSMP students will spend from a year to a year and a half at the University of Colorado Denver, attending classes in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, architecture, and sciences with the hope of attaining an internship to round out their educational experience.
Keynote speaker Raul Cardenas, Jr., Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, welcomed the BSMP students as part of the larger University of Colorado Denver family. “We are so glad that you are here, that you are studying with us,” said Cardenas.
Marcel Bolintiam, Director of the ESL Academy, presented A Certificate of Graduation to each Level 5 student who had successfully completed the ESL program. George Kacenga, Director of International Enrollment Management, presented Letters of Admission to the University of Colorado Denver.
“Mr. Bolintiam became part of our journey even before we came to the United States,” a student explained. Bolintiam and his team of ESL Specialists get to know students through emails and Skype appointments well in advance of a student’s entry into the ESL Academy. International students from countries around the world – China, Korea, Austria, France, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, to name a few – go through a process that determines their English language level for proper placement and success at the ESL Academy and at CU Denver. According to several students, the ESL Academy “is set up for our support.”
Along with a rigorous academic schedule, students enjoyed a variety of learning and group activities conducted by members of the ESL Academy. Soccer games, picnics under Colorado’s sunny skies (Colorado is known for its 300 days of sunshine per year), Denver Nuggets basketball games, a trip to scenic Red Rocks mountain park, and activities outside of the school throughout the summer. The ESL Academy organized an all-school picnic at City Park complete with volleyball and soccer games; all activities add to the mix of the eight-week terms and to the ESL Academy Colorado experience..
The BSMP Summer Graduation Ceremony student speeches concluded with words of advice to future CU Denver ESL Academy students and fond remembrances:
“Study hard but have fun at the same time!”
“This is not a ‘good-by’. We will definitely keep track with people we met here for life.”
“Thank you, ESL Academy; we will never forget you.”
Graduate Student Speakers included: Diogo Furquim, Fernanda Koatz, Jorge Lira De Toleda Gazel, Vitor Leao Miranda, Anderson Marques, Arthur Almeida Freitas
About the ESL Academy, University of Colorado Denver
A modern, new educational space, the ESL Academy has state-of-the-art “smart” classrooms, two computer labs, a student resource library, large study rooms for students to complete their homework or practice conversations with native English speakers, and fun social areas for meeting and talking with other students.
There are five levels of instruction at the ESL Academy, from High Beginner to Advanced. English immersion provides intensive English Core Courses in Listening/Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Grammar. Students at all levels are required to take Core Courses. Electives and content-based instruction are also offered in multiple levels. You can complete each level in eight weeks.
ESL Academy: ESL.ucdenver.edu
International Admissions: internationaladmissions.ucdenver.edu
Brazil Scientific Mobility Program: http://www.iie.org/Programs/Brazil-Scientific-Mobility/About