PUC Goiás is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in Brazil. Founded in 1959, the private, non-profit Pontificia Universidade Catolica is the oldest higher education institution in the state., and was created to train leading professionals in the expanding Midwestern region of Brazil in key sectors such as medicine, education and law. It is spread over five campuses, four in Goiania and one in Ipameri, which provide a range of facilities for its community of 30,000 students, including four research centers, two museums and a multi-sport complex.
According to the rector Prof. Wolmir Therezio Amado, PUC Goiás combines a strong local and regional identity with a global outlook. “We are taking steps to promote international integration,” he says. “One is the enhancement of student mobility, not just in terms of students going abroad but also students coming to study here. This is a wonderful oportunity to exchange learning and knowledge, and integrate different cultures and approaches. In Goiás, such exchange is only possible at PUC Goiás and the Federal University.”
The language school at PUC Goiás caters for about 800 students and offers Portuguese for foreigners and courses in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. “Internationalization has been a significant factor for us in terms of teaching, research and expansion,” says Prof. Amado. “We have students from 17 different countries studying here, as well as from all over Brazil.”
PUC Goiás is developing stronger links with American universities and provides free English courses for students going to study in the U.S. It also participates in various international integration schemes, such as the PMM (Mercosur Mobility Program), PLI (International Bachelor’s Degree Program), and Science Without Boundaries with the Ministry of Science and Technology. In addition, it is involved in literacy- building initiatives in rural areas, environmental protection research, and developing sustainable fish farming in the north.
Through its distance-learning department, CEAD, the university enables students from disadvantaged parts of Brazil to access higher education. “We want to educate in subject areas where Goiás and Brazil are lacking,” says the rector. “A good example is our undergraduate distance learning course in physics, which is offered for free via a partnership with the Federal Government and a consortium involving three universities: the State University, the Federal University and PUC Goiás .”