Student Studies at Wesleyan as Part of MISEN Partnership Program

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Spending time away from everything that is familiar to someone can give them a sense of independence and maturity.  For Carolina “Carol” Veríssimo, this sentiment rings very true, as she is a long way away from her home of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil.  However, she has found her niche at West Virginia Wesleyan College as part of the Methodist Institution Student Exchange Network (MISEN) program through her home university, Universidade Metodista de São Paulo.

The MISEN program aims to connect institutions in the Methodist tradition by allowing students to spend time studying abroad.  Veríssimo, a junior public relations major, came to Wesleyan as part of a one-semester program and is taking advantage of all the College has to offer.  She is involved in The Pharos, in which she has developed a column about international students at Wesleyan.  She also attends meetings of the International Student Organization.

“I feel like I have grown a lot academically,” stated Veríssimo.  “This semester has helped me develop skills that I will need for my profession, such as video production and graphic design, in a really short period of time.  The faculty is concerned about stimulating critical thinking, which is as important in my profession as having technical skills.”

Along with the academic lessons she is learning, Veríssimo is also gaining valuable life skills while at Wesleyan.

“It is incredible how the simple fact of having to take care of yourself in a country that is not your own and having to live and function according to an unknown set of norms can change a person in a matter of months,” reflected Veríssimo.  “Because of that, I had to learn to be a lot more flexible than usual in many different situations and open to every new experience.”

With all the positive experiences Veríssimo has had, she has met a few challenges along the way.

“Living in a dorm room on campus is a completely new experience for me,” stated Veríssimo.  “In Brazil, that is not so common.  I am an only child, so I had to learn how to respect my roommate’s boundaries and adapt to sharing a room.  I also come from a big city, so it was quite a personal growth experience to live in a smaller town among people from completely different backgrounds.  I have learned a lot about respecting and understanding people’s differences.”

As Veríssimo’s time at Wesleyan has been a fruitful experience for her, she encourages other students to take part in this partnership program and spend time at her home university in Brazil.  She now understands that an overseas experience can make a huge difference in an academic experience.

“We learn a lot more from people who are different from us,” commented Veríssimo, “and that is a great way of seeing the world through the eyes of its own people.”

For more information on the MISEN program, please visit http://www.gbhem.org/education/methodist-international-student-exchange-network and http://www.metodista.br/english.