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UFOP welcomes faculty member from Universidad Antonio Nariño

In March, the UFOP International Relations Office - (Diretoria de Relações Internacionais - DRI) welcomed Professor Dany Andrey Latorre Méndez, from Universidad Antonio Nariño (UAN), Colombia, for a visit to UFOP and the cities of Ouro Preto and Mariana.

Responsible for teaching Spanish courses to UFOP students, Administrative Staff  and faculty members for almost 3 years, Professor Dany is a former UFOP partner. This time, the purpose of his visit was to develop, voluntarily, about 100 hours of academic activities in UFOP. Over 3 weeks (from March 13th to 31st), he taught short courses, applied proficiency tests, and participated in conferences and meetings, strengthening the partnership between UAN and UFOP.

Some of the students who attended the classes told us about their personal and academic experiences acquired during his visit.

Edilson Lopes, Food Science and Technology undergraduate student, reports that his experience was very positive. From his point of view, the course brought cultural, ethical and social values of the Spanish language in a dynamic and professional way. "This experience was wonderful. The exchange of knowledge and the coexistence with colleagues from other cultures... it's all part of human growth!"

It was quite fruitful even for those who already spoke Spanish. Eliane Gonçalves, Environmental Engineering graduate student, also agrees. According to her, she already had some contact with the language, but had not practiced it for a few years. "The two weeks of immersion were enough to improve my Spanish and learn new things. And it undoubtedly stimulated my desire to keep practicing!"

For those who are a little shy about speaking a foreign language, the course developed communication techniques with various group dynamics and activities that provided a greater familiarity with Spanish. Samara Moura, Health and Nutrition graduate student, reports some of her experience: "When I started the course I was hesitant and having a lot of trouble speaking a different language in public. However, over the days I felt more confident and interacted more in the activities proposed by the teacher. The didactics and the elements used such as cooking, dance and culture made teaching pleasurable and easier, being fundamental for my development." She adds that opportunities like this bring distinct learnings that can be applied in all areas of life, whether professional, personal, or academic.

The opportunity was also available to UFOP’s Faculty and Administrative Staff. Martinelly Martins, from the Center for Open and Distance Education (CEAD), tells how the course helped her in her contact with foreign public. "The Spanish course taught by Professor Dany came at a time when I was planning to do a vacation volunteering in Bolivia in Conservation and Restoration, which is my area of specialization. As I had to write letters and make international calls using Spanish, this course helped me a lot. In addition, I was able to meet UFOP students, both foreign and Brazilian, and this gave me another perception of the university, since I work at CEAD, in person contact with this public is very limited."

The undergraduate students in Civil Engineering, Paulo Mapa and Matheus Faria and the undergraduate student in Pedagogy, Joana Ferri, highlight the positive aspects of the course and thank the dedication of Professor Dany to teach the classes. Paulo points out that "the course as a whole was sensational, well structured, planned and organized. It was a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the language, which generated security to communicate and skills that only a native teacher could transmit!" Matheus agrees: "the presence of a native teacher [was an advantage]. With his help and direction, the learning process became natural and smooth." Joana also highlights the work done during the course. "Professor Dany is very patient and humane with his students and has taught us knowledge that goes far beyond the Spanish language. My sincere thanks to Professor and DRI for providing us with such enriching opportunities."

DRI thanks everyone, the students for their participation and dedication, and also Professor Dany for their availability, attention to the students and dedication when teaching the classes. We are very pleased with the results of this collaborative work , and we invite the entire UFOP community to participate in the language courses offered in partnership with foreign universities!