Studying in Portugal: exciting lessons for FIU students.

First day of summer school, ISCTE
First day of summer school, ISCTE
First day of summer school, ISCTE

College of Business graduate students Isabel Rumberg and Sophie Mugomoka embarked on a study abroad program that took them to Portugal as part of their Masters of International Business. They studied at the Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE) in Lisbon for four weeks in June and July.

During the June session, Rumberg and Mugomoka took International Corporate Governance and Governance of International Organizations, obtaining the equivalent of three credits at FIU. Both will graduate in December 2016.

Lessons weren’t just about classwork, research and presentations; collaboration among students from different cultures was a key component of the program. Rumberg and Mugomoka agree that it was one of the most challenging.

“I definitely learned that coping with others of different backgrounds is difficult, but rewarding,” said Mugomoka.

In their own words, Rumberg and Mugomoka share insights from their College of Business study abroad program in Portugal.

From left to right: Willem van Beckhoven, Sophie Mugomoka, Victoria Schrijner, Ines Bom (works for ISCTE), Isabel Rumberg, and Marie Royer.
From left to right: Willem van Beckhoven, Sophie Mugomoka, Victoria Schrijner, Ines Bom (works for ISCTE), Isabel Rumberg, and Marie Royer.

Describe your classes and assignments.

Isabel: The International Corporate Governance class examined British mobile operator Vodafone’s acquisition of German firm Mannesmann in a hostile takeover worth billions. Working with four other students was tough because our different personalities sometimes clashed and we had to get used to working as a team.

Sophie: In Governance of International Organizations, we had to prepare a project about the International Atomic Bomb Agency, analyzing how effectively or ineffectively it performs. We examined the development of the European Union and the United Nations, including their governance and how they help other nations in comparison with different organizations.

Did you encounter many challenges?

Sophie: Team building and preparing presentations in groups were difficult, but also the best preparation for my upcoming international career. It opened my eyes to the fact that students’ different backgrounds can lead to the best outcomes.

What was the most important lesson for you?

Isabel: Learning to deal with people from different cultures, including the professors, in a short period. Many of my classmates didn’t speak English well and had different perspectives about teamwork. Trying to get along, understand each other and work together despite those differences was a learning experience. At the end, we were successful; we did very well in our presentation and our research project.

In class, was there something especially interesting or fun?

Isabel: Two or three days after we arrived in Portugal, before classes started, we had a team-building session to get to know our classmates and to break the ice. In one game, we had to throw a ball to one of the other students – before tossing; we had to say our name and the name of the person to whom we were throwing the ball. After that, I could remember almost everybody’s name.

Did you visit any businesses in Portugal?

Isabel: We only had one company visit, to Quinta da Bacalhoa, a wine making company, in Azeitao. We toured the winery, learned about the history of the company and tasted several wines: white, red and rose. Overall, it was a great experience to get to know more in depth one of the main industries in Portugal.

Sophie: The winery visit was great, especially since it was on my birthday, but I wish we had more company visits.


Outside the classroom, what did you enjoy in Portugal?

Isabel: Portugal celebrates many traditional festivities in summer, it was very special to share those with the local residents and eat their traditional dishes. A nice coincidence was that the Euro Cup was held during my stay, so I could watch many games in big screens around the city and in Praça do Comércio.

Sophie: In Lisbon, I was impressed by the architecture; the city is old but the beauty of its features makes it look clean and magnificent. I also visited other cities and saw how the architecture is very similar across the different regions, giving a sense of how unified the country is.

Will you return to Portugal?

Isabel and Sophie: Yes

For additional information on the College of Business study abroad programs and other international study opportunities, please visit: FIU Business Global Initiatives

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