Meet Luiz Zago…
IT Sligo International Office are delighted to announce Luiz Zago as the winner of our first Government of Ireland (GOI) Scholarship for a Brazilian student*. The 22-year-old has been awarded a fully funded place at the college for the academic year 2013/2014 to study on our Bachelor of Business (Hons) degree programme.
We put a few questions to Luiz about his life in Brazil and his aspirations and expectations for his year in Ireland.
Where do you come from in Brazil? Tell us about your hometown.
I come from two cities. I was born in Joaçaba, in the Santa Catarina State in the south of Brazil. I lived there until I was 18, when I got into UFSC and moved to Florianopolis. Joaçaba is very similar to Sligo, being the centre of its region. Floripa is the state’s capital and a very famous tourist destination. It is a paradisiacal island with more than 40 beaches, famous nightclubs, expensive high-rises but also home for great people and a very nice place to live. Both cities are wonderful in their own way. I have never lost contact with the first and still have created strong ties with the other.
What is the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC) like?
The Federal University of Santa Catarina is recognised as one of Brazil’s top universities. It is a public and very traditional university. It is in the middle of Florianopolis and has played a very important role in the creation of its technology-based economy.
Why did you choose to apply to IT Sligo?
I’m working with some other people on a Technological Innovation District in my hometown Joaçaba. Our aim is to renew the base of the local economy, create more opportunities for young people and inspire them to change the current rules of the game. I chose IT Sligo not just because it is a leading Irish institution and is located in a beautiful town, but also due to its links with technology and innovation, being one of the first IOTIs to house an Innovation Centre which works with similar areas of interest as those of my hometown; and the entrepreneurial spirit fostered there. I really expect to learn and contribute through this experience, connecting the two initiatives.
What are you most looking forward to about coming to Ireland?
I’m really looking forward to opening my mind. Here in Brazil we live in a very different reality to you in Europe, with you facing recently an economic crisis. I’m willing to learn more by getting to know Ireland and its people, contributing whatever I can and by making good friends. Also, I’m eager to experience a St. Patrick’s Day there, get to know some pubs and taste your famous beer. I want a complete cultural experience.
What do you think you will miss most about Brazil?
I think I’ll miss mostly my friends and family. But that’s how it works, and we still have the internet. Another thing that I will only know when the time comes is the weather! I’m a little worried about the cold, the first time I saw snow was on a trip to Chile. Surely that will help!
*The GOI scholarship scheme was proposed in the Programme for Government in 2011 as a way to develop ‘cultural and diplomatic links with emerging markets’ and promote Ireland as a destination for international students – a market worth more than €1 billion each year to the Irish economy.