"It has been important for us to gain experience of how to work in a team, and of how we can use our individual competence to develop new ideas together. We have learnt a lot about democratic decision-making," says Raul Quinzani.
By Benedicte Einarsen
Quinzani is one of 40 Brazilian students who have completed a five-week period of internship at Statoil in Norway. The internship period rounds off a year of studies at different institutions in Norway. SIU visited a happy group of students who had undergone practical training at Statoil Bergen.
"In Norway, there is not really a tradition of receiving students on internship. A few of us in Statoil have done our best to make this happen," says Liv-Inga Valenza, project manager at Statoil Bergen.
According to the students, they went through a difficult round of interviews to be accepted. At the same time, they are very satisfied with the experience they have gained from their internship at Statoil.
"We have gained a broad understanding of how a company works, an understanding that will be important in our future jobs," says Raul Quinzani.
Half the students underwent practical training at Statoil's office in Bergen. The 20 students were divided into three groups and each group was assigned a project to be presented on the final day of their internship. Because of their varied backgrounds in engineering and natural science subjects, the students have had much to learn from each other. One of the student projects was to develop the Statoil-internal auxiliary tools 'Wiki how', 'Wiki what' and 'Beyond Wiki'.
"The students have been assigned real tasks. Had they not done these tasks, we would have had to do the work ourselves," says Valenza. She hopes that Statoil will continue the scheme next year.
Motivated and able
Atle Svandal, who has been the students' supervisor, is delighted with the effort they have put in.
"They are very motivated and able students. We have almost run out of tasks for them," he says.
The students are now returning to Brazil after their year in Norway.
"It has been a great experience. The teaching at the university has been different from what we are used to in Brazil, particularly when it comes to evaluation. At home we attend more courses and take more exams per semester. At the University of Bergen we have had closer relationships with our lecturers,' says Laryssa Abdala.
The weather in Bergen is naturally mentioned as one of the challenges the students have faced – and dealt with.
"We have become used to the rain. We now use rain coats instead of umbrellas," says Raphaela Protasio smiling.
- Brazil is a highly prioritised cooperation partner for Norway, and cooperation on developing knowledge and skills forms a central part of the Norwegian Government’s Brazil strategy.
- The scholarship programme Science without Borders offers financial support to Brazilian students in the fields of natural science, technology and health for studies abroad. The programme aims to offer the students a period of internship in business and industry settings as part of their stay abroad.
- Norway joined the programme in 2013. The Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Education is the National coordination point for Science without Borders in Norway.