A new study abroad program partnered with Brazilian Experience and the Federal University of Parana will allow established Spanish teachers with credentials to earn their license in Portugese in three-weeks. Credit: Courtesy of Taisse Torres-Lorenzo

An Ohio State collaboration with a Brazilian travel agency resulted in new study abroad programs for Ohio State students and foreign language educators across the country. 

Ohio State Hispanic linguistics professors Terrell Morgan and Scott Schwenter traveled to Curitiba, Brazil, to meet with Rafaela Rolim, director and founder of travel agency Brazilian Experience, in August to develop new study abroad opportunities for Ohio State students and K-12 teachers interested in studying Portuguese.

“We are certainly growing our Portuguese program, and we have cool ideas on what to do over the next few years,” Morgan said. “We pledged to create a licensure for Portuguese at the K-12 level in the state of Ohio.”

Morgan said the three-week program — created in collaboration with Brazilian Experience and the Federal University of Parana — will allow credentialed Spanish teachers to earn their license in Portuguese by sending them to Curitiba to learn the language.

Brazilian Experience offers programs for non-Brazilians such as internship placement, volunteer opportunities and customized itineraries for groups and individuals based on their interests.

Ohio State’s relationship with the travel agency began three years ago when Morgan traveled to Curitiba to set up a program for undergraduate students to learn Portuguese. Although the current program is fairly new, Morgan said Ohio State already had a relationship with the city because Curitiba is one of Columbus’ sister cities.

Ohio State also uses Brazilian Experience as a third-party entity in a program through which students study Portuguese and other subjects at the Federal University of Parana over a semester-and-a-half-long program.

Taisse Torres-Lorenzo, a third-year in psychology and Portuguese, participated in the program last semester, when she was able to take Portuguese courses as well as a human sexuality course. 

“It was amazing,” she said. “The mental health system there is so much different than the mental health system here, so I really like being able to see a different point of view on how they work things.” 

Rolim said that study abroad programs have showcased commonalities between cultures.

“I fell in love with culture exchange when I first heard the story about the purpose of going abroad, which is really to get to know different cultures onsight and make friendships and to understand that despite all the differences, we have so much in common,” Rolim said.