Matthew Smiley is studying Accounting with a minor in Global Business and he traveled to Fortaleza, Brazil.
Tell us a little bit about how you decided to join the global cohort. I decided to join the Brazil Global Cohort Summer 2016 to gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience through learning the culture background of Brazilian business and their social culture aspects. In addition, I thought spending my first semester class in Eller College of Management (which many students say Eller first semester is the hardest semester) in another country would be awesome experience rather than having it in the dry desert of Tucson.
What was a typical day like for you in Brazil? During school days, which were 4 to 5 days a week, the Cohort would get up for breakfast and take a coach bus together to University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR) for class. Depending on the day, we would get out of class around 1pm or 3pm and go back to our hotel near the beach. The rest of the day, we would have many options of activities, such as studying for classes, going to a beach, go to restaurants/bars, go to the massive Iguatemi mall, go to the flea market at night, and/or hang out with locals around town.
What was your favorite part of the experience? Some of my favorite Brazil Global Cohort experiences was hanging out on beautiful beaches, ATV on the sand dunes, fishing for piranha on the Amazon, seeing the Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue up close, and going to the top of the Surgarloaf Mountain to see the beautiful view of Rio.
What are a few things you learned? I learned a lot about the Brazilian culture and its social norms. The Brazilian culture is more of a laid back feel focus on life experiences while spending less, rather than spending more for having a high quality of living. I learned a lot about how business is conducted in Brazil by taking a Brazilian business class and visited three Brazilian manufacturing businesses. I learned a lot of Portuguese in 2 months such as “Boa Dia” for “good morning” and “Ola, Tudo Bem” for “hello, is everything good.”
What advice you have for other students looking for a similar experience? For any student planning to go on the next Brazil Global Cohort, I suggest visiting everything you can and hang out with as many local Brazilians as you can to understand their great culture. The Brazil Global Cohort is a lot of fun, but just be aware there will be a lot of late nights studying or working on team project during the week days to get you prepared for the case competition and tests.