Belo Horizonte, Brazil
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) - Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics Specialization)
"I participated in the International Youth Programs in the Young Professional/Young Worker category. I heard about this program when I asked my student adviser what work abroad programs where available to me. He suggested I contact the partner organization IAESTE to help me organizing this experience. Once I had completed the application process, I found out that I would be spending my work term in Brazil. Although this was not my first choice, the job description was a perfect match for the field I was hoping to work in (Mechanical Engineering) , and so I was very excited to begin my work term.
Upon arriving in Brazil, I was greeted at the airport by my host who started making me feel at home right away. We went to his family home for a delicious lunch (the main meal in Brazil). Although communicating was difficult at first, we soon found out that we had a lot in common and we quickly became very good friends. I lived with my host and three of his friends in a typical student house near the university where they all study. This was great because I was able to participate in campus life and meet many Brazilians.
I worked at a small company called Confitec Automação that specializes in industrial automation. The work experience that I have gained has exceeded my expectation and, like everywhere else, everyone at work was friendly and always happy to try and understand my broken Portuguese. I was able to acheive a lot professionally; I finished the installation of the first project in which I had some significant responsibility, the automation of an electric arc furnace at South America's biggest producer of refractory materials, Magnesita.
Aside from the people I have met through my host and through my work, I have also had the chance to meet other exchange students from around the world at the various IAESTE get-togethers that have been held in Brazil. For me this has been one of the many highlights of my stay here. I have met a huge variety of very diverse people who all have at least one thing in common, that we want to experience as much of the world as possible.
The picture attached is in Ouro Preto - a beautiful town near my place in Belo Horizonte."