South American trip opens doors, insights to business and culture in the region.

Rio de Janeiro. Buenos Aires. Santiago. While the itinerary may at first read like a grand vacation tour of South America, the professors traveling in May on this year’s 15th Annual Faculty Development in International Business Mercosur Program came home with more than souvenirs. They also gained valuable insight into the social, political, economic and business environments that exist in South America.

As always, the 10-day Mercosur trip was organized by the Florida International University (FIU) Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER). FIU-CIBER director Mary Ann Von Glinow and associate director Sonia Verdu planned the excursion through Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

According to Verdu, who went on the trip, 17 professors from universities and colleges across the United States participated. The group visited leading Latin American companies such as Disney Latin America, Globant and Petrobas and met with representatives of area business and agricultural organizations as well as local universities.

One of the presentations took place in the Buenos Aires offices of Globant, a software development company from Argentina, with clients such as Google, YouTube, Orbitz and Sun among others. Brice Dupoyet is in the back row.

Trip provides new learning experiences.

Brice Dupoyet, who teaches in the College of Business Administration’s Department of Finance and Real Estate, signed up for the Mercosur program on the recommendation of a colleague who went last year.

“We got great insight into the differences in economics, cultures and ways of doing business across these three countries,” he said. “It was a very enriching learning experience.”

What’s more, Dupoyet is bringing the experience back into the classroom.

“I feel I’ll be better able to advise my finance students who are originally from this region when it comes to career choices and decisions about whether to return to Latin America or not,” he said.

Itinerary allowed for some fun, too.

Cultural activities were part of the packed Mercosur agenda. The group made time for the beach in Brazil, spent a day in the Andes Mountains and enjoyed a tango dinner (and lessons) in Buenos Aires.

A portion of the group went on a horseback riding excursion in the Chilean Andes, while the others went hiking in the mountains.

“We were exposed to many facets of culture,” Dupoyet said. “I was taken in by the Chilean countryside. It’s gorgeous!”

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