A visitor from Brazil

By Jose Stenio 

Each year, Seneca hosts over 30 exchange students from partner schools around the world. One of these partner schools is Instituto Federal de Educacao, Ciencia e Tecnologia (IFCE) found in the beautiful beach town of Fortaleza, Brazil. Seneca has been collaborating with IFCE since 2012, and students from our Hospitality and Tourism programs have the opportunity to complete their externships in IFCE while learning Portuguese. Below, a Fall 2018 exchange student from IFCE – Jose Stenio - recaps his semester studying at Seneca. Learn more about Seneca’s exchange program by contacting Hamza Syed.

Why did you choose Toronto as your exchange destination?

I have always dreamed about coming to Canada. Everywhere you look for information about the best countries in the world, Canada is always mentioned as one of them because of the life quality, the low rates of violence, good jobs, and because it’s a multicultural country.

It seemed so interesting to me. 

How is the education different between your school and Seneca?

My telecommunication degree is a five-year degree – here it’s three. Back at IFCE, we start by studying a lot of theory; we have two years of physics, calculus, electronics, electricity, etc. Here, it’s just the essentials, getting right to the more technical stuff, and there’s more hands-on experience. You’re more prepared to work in less time. 

What have you really liked about Toronto so far?

One of the things I really like about Toronto is the multicultural aspects. I’ve been to a Hispanic festival the second week I was here, and it’s really good to see how people interact. Some people go there to feel at home … other people go there to know more about the other culture. I’ve also been to a Ukrainian festival, which was something I had never heard about. ... There I had the chance to experience their food and learn about their history and have a general idea about their culture. 

How does Toronto differ from northeast Brazil?

The biggest difference I’ve found so far is not really about culture, it’s about safety in general. People in the streets walk with their cellphones. They’re not worried about violence, because they know that they’re safe. On a personal relationship level, in Brazil people are more likely to give you a hug, whereas here it’s more common to shake hands.

What do you hope to achieve while you are at Seneca?

Within the four months I want to learn about things I wouldn’t be able to experience [back in Brazil]. The hands-on experience has been great so far. I also want to improve my English, as I feel I still have a lot to learn about the language. I want to learn more about different cultures. I’ve made friends with people from the Philippines, from India, from different parts of the world. It gives you a different perspective – we don’t usually have this chance.

Would you recommend other students go on exchange?

I would definitely recommend this … I don’t even know how to describe the experience. It’s so enriching.