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Brazilian students cheer on Bobcat basketball

In February, international students from Brazil brought their best cheers and contagious energy to Ohio basketball games. 

Each student was a part of the Latin American Institute of Business or LAIOB, the “official representative of OU in Latin America, (which) is part of the university’s hall of international partners.”

The institute consists of programs that focus on strategic marketing management, corporate finance, management and project management. LAIOB is also implemented in other Ohio colleges such as Miami and Akron. 

The program lasted for two weeks, teaching international students leadership skills and building their professional careers. Thiago Gomes, a graduate who participated in the executive management program, said his experience was an exciting prospect.

“It just seemed like a great opportunity to explore my academic horizons and also immerse myself in a diverse cultural environment (and) a different education system from Brazil,” said Gomes.  

Along with learning from the program, Gomes and other students from Brazil formed a cheering section at the basketball games. Matheus Dias, a graduate who participated in the executive business program, said the cheering group was formed. 

“We don’t have the university sports, like these college sports here in Brazil,” said Dias. “Our model of college is a little bit different. We usually don’t have athletes and universities … and we became really excited … to experience this experience and we all agreed to go to the game. When we arrived there it was like our moment, we were really happy.” 

Dias said the group incorporated their own cheers and songs from Brazil, showing their appreciation for the game and each player. Some of the specific chants used were “Clayton Clayton,” a common name in Brazil doubly inspired by Ohio forward AJ Clayton, and "é campeão,” which translates to “is champion,” in reference to the Bobcats’ win.

The atmosphere at each game is nothing short of exciting, however, the students from Brazil brought their own energy, gaining the attention of attendees. 

Matheus Oliveira, a graduate who participated in the project management program, discussed the support from the crowd and players as they continued cheering. 

“Some of the people started to understand what was going on and they were part of it and they supported us,” said Oliveira. “Especially some of the players in the end of the game, they came to cheer up with us so it was pretty fun.” 

Not only did the group attend basketball games together, but they also participated in other activities on campus. Dias recalled some of his favorite experiences at OU. 

“It was really great for us,” said Dias. “All the classes, we had amazing teachers … I think the food there, (was) completely different from what we are used to here, so having the experience of eating all those days in the cafeteria, it was good.”

Dias said the entire group of over 100 participants went ice skating and it was the first time for almost everyone. He also mentioned how he and other students found The Union bar to be one of their favorite spots for playing pool, and they even created their own t-shirts with The Union’s logo. 

Otacilio Nicacio, a graduate who participated in the management program, discussed how the cheering group sparked his new excitement for basketball.

Nicacio said he and his friends from the exchange enjoyed watching the basketball team from Brazil. 

“I really loved it,” said Nicacio. “I thought, ‘Oh my god I want to watch all the games.’”


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