Iowa Students Headed to Brazil for Half-Year Study Abroad Program

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Five Iowa students and one faculty member selected to participate in Iowa-Midwest Brazil Exchange in Business and Agriculture

Students from Iowa will soon be conducting an educational “trading places” exercise with some South American counterparts.

During the first exchange year of the Iowa-Midwest Brazil Exchange in Business and Agriculture, five Iowa students will travel to Brazil for six months. Over the same period, eight students from the Brazilian partner schools will live and study in Iowa.

The five students going to Brazil are Dillon Bottorf (Indianola), a senior from the University of Northern Iowa; Sam Gronenboom (Oskaloosa) from Kirkwood Community College; Valandria Jefferson (Gary, Ind.) from UNI; Codie Johnson (Wellsburg), representing Hawkeye Community College; and Esther Stephen (Solon), a student from Kirkwood Community College. Students will be blogging about their experiences at .

Kirkwood Ag Science Instructor Rich Crow was selected for the first faculty project funding.

Each student will participate in a Portuguese language immersion program upon arriving in Brazil. Four of the students will have a full week practicum with either Pioneer Hi-Bred International or Malunga Organic Farms. One will have a four month practicum experience with the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture in their trade enhancement program.

The University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College and Kirkwood are the U.S. partner institutions. The institutions jointly received a nearly $230,000, four-year grant from the U.S.-Brazil Higher Education Consortia Program. Funds come from the U.S. Department of Education under its Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).

The two Brazilian universities involved are Universidade de Brasilia and Universidade Federal de Goias. Funding for the Brazilian students and faculty is provided by the Fundacao Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES), Brazilian Ministry of Education.

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Photo: Eastern Iowa students planning their Brazil learning trip later this year (from left): Dillon Bottorf, UNI; Esther Stephen (Kirkwood); Valandria Jefferson (UNI); Sam Gronenboom (Kirkwood); Codie Johnson (Hawkeye). Photo courtesy University of Northern Iowa.]

For information on how students and faculty can participate in the program: visit or contact Chris Schrage at the University of Northern Iowa, CBB 261.

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