U.S.- Brazil Sustainability and Sustainable Development Education Initiative

Project overview

One of our greatest challenges today is to learn to live with each other on this planet in a sustainable manner. We are facing the grave consequences of climate change and growing inequalities between the rich and the poor. The key to overcoming our many environmental challenges is to educate for sustainability. Sustainability is closely related to the concept of sustainable development, which means meeting the needs of the present generation without compromizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The convergence of a number of events in recent years suggests that a unique opportunity to advance sustainability and sustainable development education has arrived. This trend is fostering interdisciplinary linkages among the natural and social sciences. Higher education institutions in both the U.S. and Brazil have an important role to play in creating a sustainable future.

The U.S.-Brazil Sustainability and Sustainable Development Education Initiative will contribute by helping to prepare our students for a fast-paced world of rapid scientific, social, technological, workforce, and demographic changes. The project will help students to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge to make informed decisions for their own benefit and others, now and in the future, and to act upon these decisions. Through this project, we will engage students as effective agents for change in the sustainability challenges we face together as societies. Students will understand that their daily decisions affect the quality of life of people around the globe now and in the future.

Expected project outcome

The project will result into the following five outcomes:

  • Forty-eight (24 U.S. Americans and 24 Brazilians) will participate in education abroad experiences over the four-year period of the project.
  • A matrix of aligned courses will be available for proper transfer of credit and a system in place to recognize academic credit from each other's institution.
  • Participating students will demonstrate increased understanding of Portuguese and English languages, U.S. and Brazilian cultures, and cross-cultural issues related to sustainability and sustainable development.
  • A minimum of 28 faculty members (14 U.S. Americans and 14 Brazilians) will participate in exchange experiences during the four-year period of the project.
  • The project will generate additional research and teaching efforts toward sustainable development which will help students from respective institutions to understand sustainable development issues from interdisciplinary and global perspectives.

Project Directors

Project DirectorPhoto of Director

Appalachian State University

Project Director: Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa

Title: Associate Vice Chancellor for International Education and Development

Mailing Address:
Office of International Educaiton and Development
ASU Box 32083
Boone, NC 28608-2083


Office Phone: 828-262-2046

Office Fax: 828-262-4037


Appalachian State University

Co-Project Director: Dr. Martin Meznar

Title: Assistant Dean for International Programs

Mailing Address
Walker College of Business
Raley Hall
ASU Box 320347
Boone, NC 28608-2037 


Office Phone: 828-262-6232

Office Fax: 828-262-8069

Martin Meznar 

Florida A&M University (FAMU)

Project Director: Mr. Joseph Jones

Title: Interim Assistant Vice President for Internaitonal Education and Development

Mailing Address
Office of International Education and Development
Tallahassee, FL 32307


Office Phone: 850-599-3295

Office Fax: 850-561-2587

Joseph Jones 

Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambyco (UFRPE)

Project Director: Dr. Leucio Camara Alves

Title: Associate Professor

Mailing Address
Departamento de Medicina Veterinária
Área de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva
Av Dom Manoel de Medeiros S/N
Dois Irmaos, Recife PE
Brazil 52171-900

E-mail: leucioalves@gmail.com or  leucioalves@hotmail.com

Office Phone: +81-33-021-422

Dr. Leuciio Camara Alves 

Universidade de Fortaliza (Unifor)

Project Director: Dr. Cleber Jose Cunha Dutra


Dr. Cleber Jose Cunha Dutra

Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA)

Project Director: Profa. Dra. Elisabete Brocki

Title: Professor

Mailing Address
Universidade do Estado do Amazonas
Pro-Reitora of Teaching and Graduation
Av. Djalma Batista, 3578 - Flores
CEP: 69050-030
Manaus, AM - Brazil 


Office Phone: +55-92-3646-1225

Office Fax: +55-92-3214-5773


Partner institutions

U.S. institutions

Appalachian State University
Founded in 1899 as Watauga Academy, Appalachian State University has evolved into a comprehensive university fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), offering a broad range of undergraduate programs and select graduate programs. Undergraduates receive a well-rounded liberal education and the opportunity to pursue a special field of inquiry in preparation for advanced study or a specific career. Graduate students engage in advanced study and research while developing and extending their academic or professional specializations. Although the campus is largely residential in character and its students are predominantly of traditional college age, the university seeks to serve a diverse student body. Total enrollment is approximately 17,00 with 1,670 of these being graduate students. The university offers 200 undergraduate majors and concentrations, 150 graduate majors and concentrations, and a number of graduate certificate programs.

Appalachian is a wonderful institution to host international students. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, Appalachian has built a national reputation for offering outstanding academic programs. It is a medium-size university with the culture and atmosphere of a small university. With a student/faculty ratio of 17:1, faculty members at Appalachian are able to take a personal interest in student progress, often becoming mentors, advisers, and friends. Appalachian's reputation is recognized nationally:

  • The U.S. News & World Report's 2007 America's Best Colleges Guide placed Appalachian fifth among the South's top public universities and 12th among public and private universities in the South. Appalachian has ranked in the top 15 among southern universities since the rankings first appeared in 1986.
  • Appalachian is one of 186 colleges in the nation considered a best value for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The listing appears in the 2008 edition of "America's Best Values in Colleges."
  • Appalachian has been included in Consumers Digest magazine's listing of the top 50 best values for public colleges and universities. In the article "2007 College Road Map — Making the Right Choices," the magazine ranks Appalachian 21st based on cost, quality of education offered, academic excellence of freshman enrollment, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates and the number of faculty members holding a Ph.D. or highest terminal degree in their field. These factors were weighed against out-of-state tuition.
  • Appalachian is included in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's "100 Best Values in Public Colleges." In the February 2007 listing, Appalachian ranks 31st in terms of in-state costs.
  • Appalachian is the first place among the 17-campus University of North Carolina system in implementing sustainable, environmentally friendly practices across the campus. Appalachian students have voluntarily chosen to charge themselves a $5 per semester fee to fund environmentally friendly practices (such as the use of renewable energy sources) on campus.

Many academic departments across the Appalachian campus are moving quickly to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum in programs ranging from renewable energy production, to energy efficiency in building sciences, to sustainable development. Appalachian has established the Institute for Research in Energy, Environment, and Economics and a new Environmental Sciences Program to meet the increasing need and demand from students for sustainability focused courses. The University also appointed its first Director of Sustainability in July 2009. Appalachian also has a very strong academic Department of Sustainable Development.

Appalachian's Energy Center conducts energy research and applied program activities in a multi-disciplinary environment. The Center, working through faculty, staff and students, has programs and nationally recognized expertise in diverse areas, including research in environmental economics, biology, wind technology, public policy, construction technology and engineering. It has also established new curriculum areas that include sustainable development, appropriate technology, and environmental policy and planning. Early in 2009, Appalachian received a research and outreach grant from the Environmental Protection Agency's Landfill Methane Outreach Program/Methane to Markets Partnership to investigate the potential for landfill gas (LFG) utilization in Brazil.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Brazilian institutions

Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco

Universidade de Fortaleza

Universidade do Estadual do Amazonas

Resources for Appalachian students

Application procedures

Selection criteria

  • Students in the following disciplines are welcome to apply Environmental Sciences, Anthropology, Business, Economics, Geography and Planning, Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Sciences, Appropriate Technology, Building Sciences, Global Studies, Political Sciences and Public Administration, Women Studies, Sustainable Development, History, Social Work, Sociology, Communications, Psychology, Music, Theatre, Dance, Art, Math, Education, Foreign Languages, Health Sciences, and others;
  • Students should preferably be enrolled as sophomores or juniors at Appalachian, as long as they have enough background to take classes in Portuguese in Brazil;
  • Senior students that will need at least one additional semester of studies for graduation at Appalachian after studying in Brazil;
  • Graduate students also qualify to participate in this program;
  • Departmental GPA should be 3.0 or higher;
  • Students with interest in learning Portuguese as an additional language, since most classes in Brazil will be taught in Portuguese;
  • Student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. residents to receive mobility stipends.

Portuguese language requirement
A good working knowledge of Portuguese is needed to attend classes in Brazil. Appalachian students should have at least two semesters of Portuguese. Students who are proficient in Spanish should take at least one semester of Portuguese. The intensive Portuguese course is offered at UFREP in Recife or at UNFOR in Fortaleza or UEA in Manaus before classes start at the host university in Brazil. Students are strongly encouraged to travel to Brazil at least four weeks before the start of the semester to participate in the intensive Portuguese classes. A stipend of $1000 will be provided to students who study Portuguese for at least four weeks before the start of the regular semester.

Academic Credit
Students will receive full credit (12-15 credit hours per semester) for successfully completed course work at one of the partner universities in Brazil. Prior to traveling to Brazil, a student must obtain his/her academic advisor's approval for the courses that will be taken in Brazil to ensure transfer of credits that will meet his or her degree requirements at Appalachian. Click here to see a list of proposed courses that would count toward FIPSE Exchange Program.

Application through Studio Abroad

Mobility stipends (student funding)

Students pay Appalachian tuition and fees for 12 - 15 hours. Students will receive $2,000 for the semester session, which will cover air fare and living expenses. An additional $1,000 will be given to students who complete the intensive language program before the start of the semester. A student must be a U.S. citizen to receive mobility stipends.

Exchange curriculum

Internships and service learning


Brazilian consulate - visas

Students participating in this program do need to obtain a Brazilian student visa (VITEM IV) prior to traveling to the Brazil. Students are advised to start the visa process very early, especially obtaining the necessary documentation that is required to be submitted together with the application form. Please note that North Carolina is served by the Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta, GA. Student visa holders are not allowed to work in Brazil. Refer also to the Atlanta consular website for up-to-date information.

Documents required (the Consular Officer processing the visa may ask for additional documents when deemed necessary):

  • Two receipt pages from visa application form per applicant, properly and completely filled in and signed by the applicant;
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months prior to its expiration date, and with at least one blank page available for the visa stamp;
  • Two recent 2" x 2" passport-type photos, either in color or black and white, front view, full face, with a light background (snapshots are not accepted);
  • Travel Itinerary with confirmed round trip booking. If traveling by land: Proof of financial capacity to pay for ones stay in Brazil;
  • Visa fee, payable in US Postal Money Order only, as applicable; a non-refundable handling fee of US$20.00 per visa applies to visa applications submitted by mail or by any individual other than the applicant or an immediate member of his or her family;
  • Proof of enrollment at a Brazilian educational organization;
  • Proof of residence within the consular jurisdiction for the past 12 months;
  • Proof of financial ability to pay for ones stay in Brazil;
  • Good conduct record issued by the local (i.e., applicant's place of residence) police department/authority;
  • International Certificate of Yellow Fever Immunization is required if the applicant has traveled, within the last 90 days, to any of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bissau Guinea, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Camerun, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guiana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenia, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Surinam, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda or Venezuela.
  • International Certificate of Yellow Fever Immunization is advisable if applicants destination in Brazil includes any of the following States: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Federal District, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and/or Tocantins.


Upon acceptance into the program, students should contact the M.S. Shook Student Health Service for a free travel consultation as soon as possible. The Student Health Service administers needed immunizations for a fee.

The following immunizations are highly suggested by the Center for Diease Control (CDC) for travelers to Brazil:

  • Adult Polio update if needed
  • Tetanus-diphtheria booster if last vaccine was over 5 years ago
  • Measles (MMR) if your records do not show 2 MMR vaccines
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Yellow Fever (see Brazilian visa requirement)

More information is available on the CDC website.

Host Brazilian cities

Fortaleza, Ceará
Fortaleza, the capital city of the state of Ceará, is located in the northeastern corner of Brazil. With more than 3 million people, Fortaleza is the fifth largest metropolitan area in Brazil. Fortaleza has been for decades one of the most popular destinations of Brazilian tourists. In recent years, the fame of Fortaleza has been gaining the world, and the number of Europeans, North and South Americans travelers coming to Cearás has grown fast.

What attracts so many Brazilian and foreigners to Fortaleza? Rather than pointing out one single reason, it is safer to say that visitors are attracted by a combination of the sunny beaches, the busy and safe nightlife, the delicious culinary, the rich Brazilian culture, the very peaceful and friendly people. On top of that, it is worthy mentioning that Brazil is free from natural disasters, and is a country with low cost of living.

Temperature ranges from a minimum of 26°C and 28°C (or between 79°F and 82°F).

The graph shows that there are two well defined seasons in Fortaleza: a dry season and a wet season.

The wet season goes from February to June, when it is Summer and Autumn in Brazil (notice that people from Fortaleza erroneously refer to the season as "inverno", of Winter). The increase in precipitation causes a slight decrease in average temperature.

The dry seasons goes from July to January. During this period, Fortaleza becomes one of the driest cities in Brazil; not uncommonly, several months go by without one single showering day.

Even during the wet season, rains come in showers, rather than storms (which do happen, occasionally). Also, because precipitation in Fortaleza is caused by evaporation/condensation, rather than by the collision of cold and warm fronts, it is very uncommon to see lightinings and thunders in Fortaleza.

Manaus, Amazonas
Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, is situated at the confluence of the Negro River's dark water and Solimões River's muddy brown water that come together to form the Amazonas River. With more than 2 million people, Manaus is the most populous city of Amazonas, the second largest metropolitan area in the Northern Brazil, and the twelfth in Brazil.

Recife, Pernambuco
Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco, is located where the Beberibe River meets the Capibariber River flow to into the Atlantic Ocean. It is a major port on the Atlantic Ocean. The name Recife means "reef" in Portuguese, in allusion to the coral reefs that are present by the city's shores. The many rivers, small islands, and over 50 bridges found in Recife city center characterize its geography and gives it the moniker of the "Brazilian Venice." With a population of more than 3.7 million people, Recife is the forth largest Metropolitan area in Brazil and the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions.


Resources for Brazilian students

Application procedures

Once selected to participate in the exchange program, Brazilian students need to complete the Appalachian specific application materials. Information on Exchange Student Program

Students are also strongly encouraged to download and read the International Student Pre-Arrival Handbook (PDF, 5.9MB).

English Language Requirement

In order to participate in the FIPSE/CAPES Exchange Program and be eligible for the mobility stipend, Brazilian students must score at least 550 (paper) or 213 (computer-based) on the TOEFL examination or acceptable equivalent English language proficiency tests. After the Brazilian students arrive at Appalachian, they will also enroll in the English language courses for international students. The curriculum established for the English for International Students Program at Appalachian provides an opportunity for students to improve their use of the English language and academic success strategies while enhancing their understanding of the American culture. The curriculum examines the essential values of the U.S. and facets of the language and culture which reflect these values. Primarily through the use of case studies, the students engage in self-directed learning and research. Case studies are complemented by multimedia resources including videos, TV and CD´s; journaling; direct contact with native speakers.

Mobility stipends (student funding)

Brazilian students pay applicable tuition and fees at their home institutions for 12 - 15 hours. Students will receive $0,000 for the semester session, which will cover air fare and living expenses. An additional $0,000 will be given to students who complete the intensive English language program before the start of the semester. Students must be Brazilian citizen to receive mobility stipends.

Exchange curriculum

Housing at Appalachian

U.S. Visa process

Brazilian students participating in this program will apply for the Exchange Visitors Visa (J-1) visa by presenting a valid DS-2019 form. Once Brazilian students are selected for participation in the exchange program at Appalachian, they will be issued the DS-2019 forms. These forms will be sent to the Project Director at their respective universities. If the visa is granted, there is an extra fee of $40.

Please note tha the application process for U.S. visas changed as of April 5, 2010. Appointments now REQUIRE that a visa applicant complete the new DS-160, and upload his/her photo electronically. Visa applicants may access and fill out the new form found at this link: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv

The Consulate will only accept the new DS-160 form. Visa applicants who do not present the DS-160 form will NOT be interviewed and MUST reschedule their appointments for the next available date. The DS-160 application must be completed no less than 2 days prior to your appointment date.

Please be aware the United States Department of Homeland Security regulations state that holders of J-1 non-immigrant visas will not be admitted to the United Sates more than thirty days prior to the beginning of their program date, or start date, as given on the DS-2019 form. Please consider that date carefully when making travel plans to the United States. For example, if your program start date is August 23, the student may only travel to the United States on or after July 24.

Please note that persons applying for J-1 visas with DS-2019 forms must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for their visas. In most cases, the SEVIS fee is a one-time fee for persons applying for F, J or M visas and covers the costs of administering the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and related enforcement efforts. Persons who subsequently participate in a different program will have to pay another SEVIS fee pertaining to the new program, as applicable. Effective October 27th, 2008 the SEVIS fee has been set as US$200.00. The SEVIS fee can be paid at the website: http://www.fmjfee.com

Students are strongly encouraged to consult the U.S. Consulates in their cities on the following websites:

Boone, North Carolina

Nestled at the base of Howard Knob Mountain, Appalachian is located in downtown Boone, North Carolina with a year-round population of 15,000. Boone is a small town which thrives as one of the Southeast's premier tourism and outdoor recreation destinations. In 2005, Boone was recognized by Adventure Sports Magazine as the ultimate outdoor adventure destination in the Southeast, even in North America. The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest provide a beautiful natural setting with unlimited possibilities for outdoor adventure, including hiking, running, biking, and fishing. Many American and international students have found this to be one of the attractive features of studying at Appalachian.