IIE Announces Latin America STEM University Fairs

The Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with EducationUSA is pleased to announce its first Latin America University Fairs series targeting students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

The fairs will commence on April 21, 2013 in Mexico and run through May 6, with university fairs and school visits in several cities in Mexico, Brazil, and Chile. The fairs will showcase opportunities from accredited U.S. colleges and universities for Latin American students to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The four STEM areas are currently a major focus in higher education in Latin America and are among the most sought after majors in the region.

The fairs will also serve to further international student exchanges with the region that are the centerpiece of President Obama’s “100,000 Strong in the Americas,” an initiative launched in 2011 to increase international study in Latin America and the Caribbean, and whose purpose is to “foster region-wide prosperity through greater international exchange of students, who are our future leaders and innovators.”  The initiative aims to build closer people-to-people ties among the people of the Western Hemisphere, to help address common challenges including citizen security, economic opportunity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.

The Latin America STEM University Fairs, conducted by IIE in partnership with EducationUSA, are a unique venue for U.S. universities to connect directly with Latin American students who are interested in STEM fields. They provide American colleges and universities an opportunity to expand and widen their presence in the region and for students in Latin America to learn about myriad opportunities to study in the United States. As theme-specific fairs are not generally available in Latin America, they offer a rare window for universities and students to obtain specialized knowledge and information in these important fields. IIE has been organizing successful university fairs since 1982 and is now pleased to help connect universities with students in these three countries in Latin America.

The region has seen a steady growth in the number of students choosing the U.S. for their undergraduate and graduate studies in recent years, presenting a valuable opportunity to expand and diversify the international student body in U.S. universities. According to IIE’s 2012 Open Doors report on international educational exchange, 41% of international students in the U.S. are studying STEM fields. Mexico and Brazil are among the top 15 countries of origin for international students enrolled in the U.S. In the 2011/12 academic year, 9,029 students from Brazil and 13,893 students from Mexico were studying in the United States. Mexico represents the ninth leading place of origin for students going to the United States, with Brazil close behind, in fourteenth place. Chile also presents excellent opportunities for outreach, with gradual increases in the number of students coming to the U.S. to study in recent years, with 2,203 students enrolled in U.S. universities in 2011/12.

Brazil, in particular, has seen an increase in interest and investment in students coming to the United States for STEM studies, with the Brazilian government’s Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. By the end of 2015 more than 100,000 Brazilians—half of them undergraduates, half doctoral students—will have spent a year or more abroad at the best universities around the world studying subjects such as biotechnology, ocean science and petroleum engineering which the government regards as essential for the nation’s future. These scholarships are specifically targeted to produce a workforce that is trained in STEM fields and has the language and cultural skills needed to succeed in the workplace. We anticipate that there will be increased interest in coming to the United States to study as the students return to Brazil and share their experiences with their friends and classmates.

At a time when Brazil’s economy is expanding rapidly, and Brazil and the United States are forging unprecedented ties in trade, energy and scientific development, the Institute of International Education is committed to the idea that our countries should seek much stronger cooperation in higher education as well.  The Latin America STEM University Fairs are an important step in increasing student mobility in the STEM fields between the U.S. and other countries in Latin America, beginning with Mexico and Chile.

Mexico is the Latin American country that sends the most international students to US colleges and universities. With strong initiatives from government of both countries, there are significant programs aiming to increase the number of students attending colleges in the United States. The three cities where the fairs will be held, Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara, have the largest number institutions interested in academic mobility and exchange.

Chile, an economically strong and stable country, has also been promoting human capital development by sending more students to study abroad in the United States. Through its Becas Chile government scholarship program, there are more opportunities than ever for Chilean students to receive full funding for their U.S. studies, particularly at the graduate level. This ambitious program was launched in 2008, and aims to send 30,000 Chileans to higher education institutions abroad by 2017. The program has already awarded over 5,000 scholarships, and the United States has been one of the leading destinations for Becas Chile scholarship recipients over the past four years.

Latin America University Fairs series:

April 21 (Sun) Mexico City, Mexico

April 23 (Tue) Monterrey, Mexico

April 24 (Wed) Guadalajara, Mexico

April 27 (Sat) Sao Paulo, Brazil

April 29 (Mon) Recife, Brazil

May 1 (Wed) FAUBAI Conference, Natal-Brazil *

May 4 (Sat) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

May 6 (Mon) Santiago, Chile


  • Fairs in Brazil and Chile are organized in partnership with EducationUSA
  • Fairs in Latin America include school visits

* The FAUBAI Conference in Natal, Brazil is an optional and independent event. FAUBAI will have its annual meeting on May 1st, 2013. The conference brings together more than 200 Brazilian university representatives from international offices to discuss student mobility to and from Brazil. This year, FAUBAI is planning to have an event where U.S. universities that come in IIE’s fair circuit will have tables to discuss how to foster cooperation among the two countries with Brazilian universities.

About the Institute of International Education

Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private nonprofit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. IIE remains one of the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations, and is committed to delivering program excellence to a diverse range of participants, sponsors, and donors. For over 80 years, IIE has been a leader in the area of scholarship and training programs for Latin America. In the early 1930s, the IIE established a separate Latin America Division in New York, and opened its current Latin America regional office in Mexico City in 1974. Among its key services, IIE /Latin America administers programs spanning a number of strategic areas in higher education, including Scholarship Management Programs, Youth Training and Outreach, Educational Advising, English Language Testing and Alumni Networks.

About EducationUSA

EducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. EducationUSA centers actively promote U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, unbiased, comprehensive, objective and timely information about educational institutions in the United States and guidance to qualified individuals on how best to access those opportunities. Millions of prospective students learn about U.S. study opportunities through EducationUSA centers each year. EducationUSA centers also support U.S. study abroad by advising U.S. colleges and universities about options for developing study programs in other countries.


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