The Preciosa Project of the European Commission is recruiting indigenous Latin American students to apply for 35 available scholarships to various European universities as part of a larger effort to establish joint diploma programs between Europe and Latin America. The European Commission is an administrative organization created by the European Union.
Indigenous students from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela are eligible for the project.
The selected students will be able to pursue either a Bachelor's Degree or Masters Degree programs in fields such as Agriculture, Architecture and Urban Planning, Business Administration, Education and professorial training, Geography, Geology, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Medicine, Mathematics, Information Science, Law, Engineering and Technology, Science of Communications and Information.
Elisa Zambon, Preciosa Project Manager and Director of International Relations at the University of Padua in Italy, explained that the origins of the name of the project and how it developed.
“PRECIOSA is an acronym and means ‘Program of Exchange and Cooperation for International Studies between Europe and South America’,” Zambon stated. “It is a word common to the Spanish and Portuguese languages, the two official languages of the Latin American countries involved. It is also a captivating word, easy to say, to learn and to remember! It means beautiful, gorgeous, or lovely but also precious, valuable, as the opportunity we would like to offer to PRECIOSA grantees.”
Zambon related that the project grew out of earlier collaborations between European and Latin American universities and other organizations. She also explained that the higher education network involved is called the Erasmus Mundi Consortia and one of the first similar programs came from the University of Padua.
She stated that the indigenous Latin American students were able to adjust more easily to the programs at Spanish universities because of the language but that the indigenous students at the University of Padua did well after adjusting to doing all of their work in Italian. Zambon added that of the prior group of indigenous students, one of them was Aymara from Bolivia, one was Chuco from Peru and another indigenous student was from Argentina.
The full list of universities include: the University of Granada and the University of Salamanca in Spain; in Italy the University of Padua and the University of Bologna; in France the University of Montpellier; in Portugal the University of Coimbra; in Austria the Karl Franz University; and Uppsala University in Sweden.
The scholarships also cover airfare and some living expenses for the students.