Business students get up close look at Rio de Janeiro.

While the rest of the world was watching the London Summer Olympics, Olivia Braidot and 12 other business students from Florida International University (FIU) were exploring Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the site of the 2016 Olympics and the 2014 World Soccer Cup.

“Rio’s beauty and culture were impressive and we packed a lot into two weeks,” said Braidot, who participated in this two-week FIU study abroad program, July 2012.

The program started with five days of classes at Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), Brazil’s number one business school.

The students with faculty member Ronaldo Parente, seated, at the St. Teresa staircase—or Selaron’s Staircase—which includes tiles from all over the world and which has been in process by Jorge Selaron for more than twenty years.

“There wasn’t a flip flop on campus,” said Braidot about the formal atmosphere. “The impassioned professors shared information on finance, taxes, trade and other important topics.”

Braidot plans to use her FIU degree to land a job with an international Miami-based company so she appreciated the global insight.

The education of the students, accompanied by FIU Business faculty member Ronaldo Parente, continued with company visits. The group toured and met with key personnel at the Coppe Research Center, Globo TV studios, the City of Rio Operations Center and the Electric Nacional Operations Center.

“The average traveler doesn’t get this inside look at businesses and industries in another country,” Braidot said. “It’s one of the reasons I chose to make this trip.”

Group explores Rio.

The full agenda included exploring a rain forest, Brazilian music and cuisine and other opportunities.

Braidot lists the famous Christ statue and the cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain among her favorite sight-seeing adventures. But even the sobering excursion to Santa Marta, a favela (shanty town) in Rio, was beneficial.

Group members at the Christ the Redeemer statue

“We learned how some programs are helping the residents,” Braidot said. “But I realized that in the United States, if you’re poor, you can get a job and have food in the kitchen in a fairly short time. In other countries, it takes a lifetime to step up from extreme poverty.”

FIU’s Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER) provides the organizational and logistical administration support for the College of Business’ study abroad programs.


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