Unfortunately, there are no fixed travel plans at the moment except going back to Rio in a couple of weeks for a friend’s birthday, (I know going back to to Rio is such a drag). Life is settling into a slow pace of going to bars, meeting new people, speaking too much English, having some classes and using my (extensive free time) to wander around, write articles for the student newspaper back in Southampton and dance.
So, I’ve decided to write about the university I attend here, UFMG, a Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, or in English the Federal University of Minas Gerais. It’s funded by the federal government, you also get universities funded by the state, as well as plenty of private universities. My university is free, a luxury unheard of by indebted British students.
The university itself has 50.000 students, and is one of the best in Brazil. For languages, it is the best, and the plethora of engineering degrees shows its speciality.
It is less technologically advanced than Southampton, but it makes up for that in character and lack of organisation.
Unlike any university I have been to in the UK, this university feels like it belongs to the students. The Wifi may crash regularly, air conditioning not work and the rooms are simple, but there is graffiti all over, and small courtyards with palm trees and benches.
Especially the social science, humanities and arts schools have the feel that students are allowed to make their mark. They are allowed to add colour to the walls, to protest, to argue with teachers in the middle of class. In the UK no student would be allowed to occupy the canteen because prices have risen, or maybe no student would try? I’m not sure.
Brazilian students face a myriad of problems that we don’t, there are less jobs here, even if you’re a doctor or engineer, but they have a freedom that we lack.