Minutes after polishing off a full plate of fish, rice and salad, Victor Prata had a big smile on his face.
"I love it here," the Lakeland College newcomer said. "I prefer cold weather over hot weather, and the food here is very, very good."
Prata, 21, is one of 13 students from Brazil who arrived on Lakeland's campus late last week. The group represents a new initiative by the Brazilian government, which pays for its best and brightest students to study in the U.S.
As part of Brazil's "Science without Borders" program, these students will sharpen their English skills through the English Language Institute at Lakeland. After that, they will study high-level science and technology for one year, either at Lakeland or at another U.S. college or university. Prata, like many of the newcomers, plans to stay at Lakeland for the full year-and-a-half. He is extremely interested in Wisconsin's dairy industry, and hopes to tour some of the many area farms.
"I am very nervous and excited," said Prata, a veterinary medicine student from Belo Horizonte.
After flying in to Milwaukee, the Brazilian students arrived on Lakeland's campus and, along with a Vietnamese newcomer, spent the following day learning about the school and life as a U.S. college student. They were given a tour of the campus by student leaders.
While Lakeland has welcomed individual students from Brazil in the past, this new program brings the most students ever from that country at any one time.
"These Brazilian students come to us with great enthusiasm and excitement," said Jennifer Alig, Lakeland's director of international recruitment. "We are thrilled to have this new relationship, which brings a new dynamic to the ELI and to Lakeland College."