The newest Ohio State Global Gateway office is poised to open in Brazil by early fall 2014 at a cost of about $250,000, pending the approval of the Board of Trustees in January.
The office is set to be about 270 square feet, located in a district of São Paulo called Moema, said William Brustein, the OSU vice provost for global strategies and international affairs.
The Global Gateway program aims to give OSU a presence in selected countries by providing students, alumni and faculty opportunities for networking, studying abroad and conducting research, according to its website. There are currently offices in Shanghai, China, and Mumbai, India.
The annual cost of running the Brazil Gateway is an estimated $250,000, and the majority of funds will come from the university, Brustein said. The office space will be made available to OSU free of charge as a gift from a university alumnus in Brazil.
“The principal expenses are paying the salary of the director and legal fees and fees for having a license to operate as a university in the country,” Brustein said. “A lot of the money has also gone to fund student and faculty travel and research in the Gateway countries by running grant competitions.”
The Brazil Gateway aims to focus more on recruiting international undergraduate students than the Gateway offices in India and China do, Brustein said.
“Among the Big Ten schools, we’re probably near the bottom when it comes to students from Brazil earning degrees on our campus,” Brustein said. “We’re trying to get a more diverse international student portfolio and South America, and Brazil in particular, is an area where we can do much better and an area that will be a key priority at the Gateway.”
According to the OSU statistical summary, there are more than 6,000 international students at the Columbus campus.
The Gateway offices return OSU’s investment by giving the university the chance to receive grants it otherwise wouldn’t – like the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative which aims to strengthen relationships between American and Indian higher education institutions and grants from the Center for American Culture in China – bringing attention to OSU for its Global Gateway program and providing students with more global internships and study abroad programs, Brustein said.
The Global Gateway office in China has also recently made efforts to aid international recruitment.
In June, the China Gateway office helped host pre-orientation programs to provide international students and their parents with personalized preparation before coming to OSU, said Maureen Miller, spokeswoman for the OSU Office of International Affairs.
Ryunosuke Matsui, a fourth-year in fine art, said it would have been helpful to have had university offices in his home city of Tokyo when he was deciding where to go to college in the U.S.
“If they can figure out how to make it easier for us international students to come here, then it will be beneficial for students and the university,” Matsui said.
Dana Buzzelli, a fourth-year in natural resources management, looked into OSU’s Gateway program when deciding where to study abroad. Buzzelli said the connections that were established through the Global Gateway program seemed beneficial, but the study abroad programs appeared to lack the immersion of her previous experiences as an exchange student.
“After doing some research, I decided I didn’t want to study through an Ohio State designed program because I wanted to have more freedom and explore the culture instead of just being in a classroom with other Ohio State students,” Buzzelli said.
Brustein said Ethiopia, Turkey and Poland are possible future Gateway office sites, but added that for now, the primary focus is for OSU to carry out what it has promised to do at the existing three sites.