Students try on costumes at the samba school in Sao Paulo.Students try on costumes at the samba school in Sao Paulo.

Business students make valuable connections in Sao Paulo

A trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, was the experience of a lifetime for 10 students from the Odette School of Business and 10 students from Paulista School of Politics, Economics, and Business at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, known by its Portuguese acronym, UNIFESP.

Co-ordinated by Odette School of Business faculty member Francine Schlosser and UNIFESP professor Marcia Azevedo, the trip immersed students for eight days in Brazilian business and culture.

Places the students were able to visit in an action-packed week included the Samba School, the Canadian consulate, the B3 Stock Exchange, the Agricultural Institute of Campinas, Hospital Sao Paulo, iFood — the largest food delivery service in Brazil, and Porto de Santos, the largest port in Latin America.

Carol Adu-Bobie, a fourth-year business student, found the trip to be enlightening.

“Not only did we learn about many key sectors like health care, logistics, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship, but we also ventured outside of our North American bubble to witness progress and discrepancies in developing countries,” she says.

Some of the Odette students found a note of familiarity in their travels. Those who had immigrated to Canada as children from places like Lebanon, Ghana, Nepal, and Ethiopia, discovered similarities between Brazilian culture and their own home countries.

For fourth-year business major Neyat Tesfay, it was learning about the history of coffee in Brazil and its roots in Africa.

“On the Ethiopian side of my culture, we have a very heavy focus on coffee and there’s a very particular way in which we make our coffee,” Tesfay says. “I was happy to know that Ethiopia was a part of this industry and had a huge contribution.”

During the week, students from both institutions were responsible for delivering presentations to the group on various aspects of life in Canada and Brazil. Jack Schincariol, a fourth-year business student, presented about Canada’s economic structure.

“It was a wonderful cultural exchange and I really enjoyed learning about Brazilian culture and economics from the students,” he says.

Ashley Deslippe, a third-year business student specializing in human resources, reflected on the opportunity to deliver her export presentation at the Canadian consulate.

“It was an opportunity to learn more about exportation from Canada to Brazil and get live feedback on our project,” Deslippe says.

Read blog posts by the travellers recounting their experiences.

Students received scholarships from the University of Windsor’s Go Global STEPs program to participate in this opportunity. Go Global STEPs is a Global Skills Opportunity project that is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and jointly administered by Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada. The trip was also made possible thanks to a sponsorship from the Odette School of Business.

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