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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian University Pays Big Bucks To Recruit Brazil's Best And Brightest

Founded in 2009, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is vying to become one of the world's top universities. It is trying hard to attract students from overseas, notably Brazil, by showering them with perks that are unheard

KAUST: an ultra-modern oasis in the Saudi desert (AT Service)
KAUST: an ultra-modern oasis in the Saudi desert (AT Service)

SÃO PAULO - How do a $1,700 monthly scholarship, a three-floor apartment, free medical assistance and return-home trips to Brazil sound? School never sounded so good! These are some of the selling points the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), is using to attract Brazilian students.

Located in Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil producer, KAUST aims to become one of the world's Top Ten technology universities by 2020.

Founded in 2009 by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with an initial investment of more than $20 billion, KAUST focuses on research and technology that applies to both local issues, such as oil dependence and lack of water, as well as global issues. Some of its partners include University of California and Cambridge University.

Fifteen Brazilian students have already graduated from the Master's and PhD programs at KAUST. "I enjoyed my experience, even though there are culture differences with Brazil," admits Rafael Coelho Lavrado, 25, who studied Electrical Engineering.

Before he left for Saudi Arabia, he was awarded a $1,200 monthly stipend *for a year* to buy books and supplies, as well as take trips to other countries to improve his English skills.

Oil engineer Guilherme Ribeiro, 26, did his Master's degree on Earth Sciences. He now lives in Saudi Arabia and works for state-owned Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company. "I was hired as soon as I had finished my studies, which is quite atypical, considering that the company usually retains people with over ten years of experience," says Ribeiro.

KAUST offers a $20,000 to $30,000 annual scholarship, depending on the candidate's CV. There are about 800 graduate students from around the world, with classes in English only. Course subjects range from Life Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences to Physical Sciences.

The Saudi university has a very international feel, starting with the school's dean: Shih Choon Fong, former dean of the National University of Singapore.

Read more from Folha. Original article by Venceslau Borlina Filho.

Photo - AT Service

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation.

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