Dr. Ann Langlois, associate professor of business at Palm Beach Atlantic University, recently led a group of 25 students, faculty and alumni from the Rinker School of Business to Brazil for 10 days on the school’s eighth annual Global Business Trip.
The group traveled to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with both cultural and business experiences in each. The students spent the prior semester learning the culture, political and economic challenges of doing business in developing countries, specifically Brazil. This trip was first-hand experience in the realities of the social, business and economic environments of Brazil, Dr. Langlois said.
In Rio de Janeiro, the team visited Green My Favela, a non-governmental organization working in the Rocinha favela. Rocinha is the largest of the seven favelas, or shantytowns, in Rio. These favelas account for most of the poverty in Rio with typical incomes of $100 per week.
Green My Favela works with people in the Rocinha community to bring sustainable planting to the area. They convert small outdoor areas into gardens where fruits, vegetables and other greenery are planted that can then be sold at the market. This not only allows residents to create their own sources of food, but also of income. The students planted with residents and visited the favela’s children and after-school center to paint, teach English and play soccer.
“The businesses we visited were more impressive than I imagined,” said Angie Moreau, an undergraduate majoring in international business. “It was amazing to see how many companies have developed a global business perspective and are profitable. It made me picture working in Brazil.”
Moreau said that the group’s visit to My Green Favela in Rocinha was, for her, the most memorable part of the trip. “Seeing these beautiful children trying to lead a normal, happy life inspired me to perhaps return to volunteer. I honestly feel God is having a hand in calling me to Rio.”
Brazil is environmentally responsible and prides itself on its strong culture, as the group observed at Globo TV. Globo TV is the world’s largest producer of telenovelas (soap operas) and holds the majority of Brazil’s television stations.
There, students met with executives and toured the telenovela sound stages. Students learned the importance of environmental sustainability through a discussion on Globo TV’s self-producing power plant. This allows the company to produce its own electricity through a water plant located on the property.
“Twenty years from now I will still remember this trip and the knowledge and experiences it has instilled in me,” said Jesse Tibbetts, an international business major.
“The trip was worth much more than I actually paid for because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. What I learned will be put to good use, and it will aid me with my career. I am thankful that I was able to go."