Category Archives: Brazil

Overcoming Brazilian Stereotypes and Language Barriers

Alex Henley completed her practicum experience abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and was able to overcome her fear of the city’s stereotype as being unsafe, as well as her frustration with the local language, in order to enjoy Rio for the bright and vivacious city that it really is.

Before I left for Rio, everyone told me to be incredibly careful. I was very nervous about being mugged. I was told not to wear much jewelry, as people would come up and grab a necklace off of you. While I wore a watch to work during the day, I would only wear earrings out at night. I always kept my purse on me, with my hand holding the bag as well. That being said, I had no negative experiences in Rio and I was very cautious even when there were a lot of people around. I took the advice of not going anywhere alone and to take cabs instead of walk at night. During the day, I would go places alone, like to the store, pharmacy, shop, café, or an ATM. However, I also wish I did know more Portuguese. The language barrier was probably my biggest frustration. I know Spanish and English, but when I tried to explain this to the locals, they would just keep speaking in Portuguese. Fortunately, most restaurants have an English menu, so you kind of know what you are ordering.

image009

During the city tour, we saw Sugar Loaf, the Christ statue, the Cathedral, and the Santa Marta Favela. Taking a guided tour through the favela was life changing. Just like with Argentina, where I also partook in my practicum, the disparity between the rich and the poor in Rio is apparent. While walking through the favela, we were able to purchase art made by the locals in order to benefit the community. I would not recommend trying to navigate a favela alone. The Sugar Loaf was my favorite, as the views were absolutely incredible. We went on a rainy/cloudy day, but I still enjoyed every moment. We also went inside the Cathedral and the stained glass windows were absolutely beautiful, a site worth seeing for those that appreciate the timelessness of artwork.

image016

I probably had acai or a fresh juice once a day. The produce in Rio is so fresh, so I highly recommend that you take advantage of it while you are there. Rio is known for its steakhouses, known in Portuguese as churrascarias. I recommend you go to Churrascaria Palace. Although pretty expensive, the restaurant has exceptional service and side dishes. We also went to Pavao Azul and I ordered the bean stew, or feijoada, and was incredibly satisfied. It is a small, hole-in-the-wall type of place where the locals go, but it’s totally worth a try, even if there is a wait.image014

I also loved the beach in Rio, although it rained most of the time we were there. However, when you go to the beach, make sure you have cash, as everything you could possibly need you can find for sale at the beach. There are people carting around everything, from drinks to sunscreen, snacks to swim suits. Also, trying the street food is a must, even if you are not the biggest fan of fried foods!

image012

During the practicum, my patience was tested on many levels. Brazil, along with many other countries, is much slower paced than the United States. Nothing happens quickly, even in business. We spent a lot of time waiting for our client because they were behind schedule. I would say just be prepared to wait and don’t expect business transactions to happen overnight. I would also suggest checking in with your client and teammates regularly. I would say this is very important in order to stay on track and make sure that everyone understands what is expected of him or her. Also, because of the language barrier, we would sometimes misconstrue some of the things that the Brazilians said, because it wouldn’t translate into English in the intended way they wanted. Be comfortable with asking questions in order to clarify what is really meant.

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Action Learning Through Consulting Abroad

Each year MBA students have the opportunity to travel abroad to gain international consulting experience. The purpose of the consulting project is to further develop students’ leadership and team skills and to enhance their cultural awareness in an international setting. In addition, international organizations benefit from receiving consulting services. Many of the projects have a strong focus on socially inclusive business models or issues of sustainability. Below is a sampling of these projects.

Examples of International Practicums:

  • Project completed in January 2013 and 2014  – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

SECOVI-Rio is a government-sponsored organization that receives funding from condominium associations in Rio de Janeiro.  Management in SECOVI-Rio was interested in learning how to improve the environmental sustainability of both existing commercial housing units and future housing development projects.  After meeting with the clients and conducting research in this area, the student team presented a number of feasible “green” initiatives to the clients.  The clients were particularly impressed with one of these ideas—building a “model condominium” complex as a demonstration for developers, builders, and tradesmen to view in person.  The clients were so impressed with the presentation that they asked the student team to translate their entire presentation into Portuguese and return in the near future to present this to their Board of Directors.

student experience

“I attended the International Practicum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in January 2013. Beyond the amazing cultural experience I had and the overall expansion of my comfort zone, the practicum has given me so much more. Working with students from COPPEAD, I was able to hone my intercultural business skills. The company, SecoviRio, offered us a challenging project and real world practical experience. Finally, the professor provided essential consulting knowledge and advice, which added to the success of the project. Overall, I believe that the International Practicum experience provided by the University of San Diego should be a major requirement for the development of effective and knowledgeable MBA students, as I consider it to be one of the best professional experiences in my MBA career.” Daniel Shehan, IMBA

  • Practicum – January 2014 – La Romana & Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Edify, Inc.’s mission is to improve and expand sustainable, affordable, Christ-centered education in the developing world. They do this by providing capital to educational entrepreneurs to support facilities, curricula, and business and teacher training. Through a grant from Edify, Inc., USD consultants were able to travel to La Romana and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to investigate the feasibility of installing solar panels on the roofs of small Christian schools. Considering electricity is very intermittent and expensive in this country, this type of project was necessary. While in the Dominican Republic, the students built a survey instrument, traveled to school sites and interviewed principals, met with a solar panel installer and gave their final recommendations. Ultimately the students concluded that it is feasible for medium and high-end electricity users to afford loans for solar panel installation at competitive microfinance interest rates.

Dominican Republic practicum participant and Evening MBA student, Mario Orozco, commented:

“It is important that people come to business school with different goals. This kind of project and our exposure to it was an important reminder that we, as future business leaders, have a responsibility to society. It’s not all about making money for the company or organization. We need to make sure we’re using our resources to train and educate these small businesses that are trying to make a difference. If you can make a difference here, you’ll make a difference out there.”

MBA Student Mario Orozco with client in the Dominican Republic

MBA Student Mario Orozco with client in the Dominican Republic

What about you? What lessons did you learn while consulting abroad? Share your thoughts below.

Global Entrepreneurship and Social Change Course

MBA students traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil In January 2013 and 2014 for the course, Global Entrepreneurship for Social Change. The course is offered in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2015. The purpose of this course is to learn what is possible and how, by examining a myriad of diverse experiences that are making a difference all over the world. Through readings, case analysis, guest speakers, and experiential exercises students gained an understanding of the processes for translating good ideas and intentions into high-impact ventures. Students acquired knowledge, tools and skills that enhanced their capabilities for identifying and developing opportunities. The course called for an exploration of what students can do by developing financially viable ideas for on-going enterprises for which positive social and environmental impact is essential.

We live in a world filled with complex global challenges. It is also a time of opportunities for making a difference. In this context, the way we pursue and achieve social change must be “revolutionized” through fresh paradigms for solving the world’s diverse pool of problems: environmental degradation, increasing inequality gap in the United States and other industrialized societies, famine in an era of obesity, obesity in a world with extensive hunger, lack of access to potable water by a large majority, persistent illiteracy and isolation in the time of the Ipad and Facebook, among many others. Entrepreneurship for social change is about combining business and management skills, imagination, passion, and the courage of individuals to effectively tackle some of these issues. It can be found across sectors and takes different organizational forms and business models.

Student experiences follow:

“Human beings who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so”   ~ Douglas Adams; I believe that this quote encapsulates why going abroad to Rio de Janeiro was such a rewarding experience for me.  We were exposed to a variety of social ventures (Afro Reggae, Saude Criancia, Rio-Ro, Asta, etc.) and we were able to learn from their successes and pitfalls.  We were able to analyze business models that were successful and obtain a firm understanding of what a social enterprise truly is and the type of impact that it can make on the world.” – Christopher Franklin, Evening MBA

student experience

“The course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, opened up a whole new perspective on doing business. The visits to social businesses, meeting the social entrepreneurs as well as the classes by Professor Marquez were highly impressive and made me realize that doing business can be used to change the world. The beauty of the country and its people are the perfect setting to get inspired and be creative to develop your own social business ideas.” – Ann Sophie Loehde, Dual-degree IMBA with WHU

“In Rio de Janeiro we dove into a rich world of ideas and inspirations behind a variety of social enterprises – a socially responsible and high fashion sneaker company, a sports organization that fuels the desire for change from within for the homeless, and a drug company that valued patients more than its own bottom line.  Then we visited local favelas (Brazilian slums) where people had started their own businesses to make a change, and suddenly ideas that were flat on paper stood on their feet.  Some of then danced and sang, like in the case of AfroReggae; some of them dazzled and flashed, like in the case of Mulheres de Salguero… The stories we learned from these cases not only gave us frameworks to develop the seed of our own ideas, they also sparked a fire of motivation in our bellies.” – Tina D’Amore, IMBA

Students of Global Entrepreneurship for Social with Prof. Patricia Marquez

Students of Global Entrepreneurship for Social Change with Prof. Patricia Marquez

“The guided city tour on the weekend took us to the famed landmarks of Rio and enabled us to enjoy the charm of this former imperial capital of a once major European power.  That night we were treated to the Brazilian food and music culture, first with a decadent churrascaria dinner and then a visit to a Samba School. Putting this in perspective with the revelations of various social issues – from the tours we had to the Afro-Reggae movement in Rio’s favelas and the Mulheres de Salgueiro workshop – [the course] gave us a new insight into how two worlds can exist not just in one city, but within one person.” – Danidu Wijekoon, IMBA

What about you? Have you participated in a course abroad that inspired you to develop a business that will have a positive social and environmental impact in the world?

Explore The Best of Brazil

Brazil is not only one of the most colorful, happy, and spirited countries in the planet, it is also the place I am blessed to call my home (just as much as the United States). As a native Brazilian who left Brazil shortly after graduating from high school, and has never forgotten about the amazing food, the warm people, the wonderful music, and the beautiful landscape that this country has to offer, I am enthusiastic to share with you some tips to help you make the most out of your experience in Brazil.

First and foremost, if you are going to Brazil during intersession, you are in it for a trip of a lifetime! January is possibly THE BEST time to be in Brazil. It is summer time, most people are on vacation, many are relaxing at the beach, and sipping on a ‘caipirinha’ while listening to the numerous street players who walk around the beach playing samba from right to left. In fact, if you are going to Brazil this coming intersession I would GREATLY suggest that you arrive in Brazil before New Year’s Eve, and that you spend the last day of 2014 in Copacabana Beach with thousands (if not millions) of people who will be there, eager to celebrate.

New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest and most popular events, along with Carnival, in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro, the event gets even better. Here you will find millions of people (last year there were 2 million people at the beach on New Year’s Eve) wearing white clothes for good luck and for world peace in the coming year. Some in the crowd may wear a splash of color – red is for romance, yellow for success, green for health, etc. Whether you are wearing white or not, whether you believe in the color superstitions that Brazilian people believe in or not, you are in it for a celebration you will never forget. Fireworks at the beach, champagne, live music, ocean breeze, good energy from the crowd… it is bound to be a party you will remember for years to come.

New Year's Eve in Brazil - the beach was just starting to fill up

New Year’s Eve in Brazil – the beach was just starting to fill up.

So, what do you do when you wake up in Rio the next day? Well… here are some important things you will NOT want to miss:

  1. Beaches: Brazilians LOVE to hang out at the beach! In fact, most Brazilians like to go to the beach in the early morning and stay until the sun sets. You can buy food, drinks, accessories, and even clothes at the beach in Brazil. It is also a great place for people watching! Here, people gather to play beach volleyball, footvolley, surf, play music, dance… in Brazil, everything happens at the beach. This is where you are going to want to go while in Rio:
Copacabana Beach in Rio

Copacabana Beach in Rio, picture by Sure Mithas Travel

  1. Ipanema Beach: Where most locals hangout
  2. Copacabana Beach: More crowded and touristy but a lot of fun
  3. Barra da Tijuca: This is where you go if you want to surf (or watch people surfing 😉 )
  4. Buzios: Elected one of the 10 most beautiful areas in the world, Buzios is just about 2 hours from Rio by bus/car. Take a weekend to go there!

2. Sightseeing: even though these are the most “touristy” places in Rio, they are still well worth exploring.

Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

  1. Cristo (aka Corcovado): voted one of the seven wonders of the world, this site offers beautiful views of the city. Take the train to go up there.
  2. Sugar Loaf: also wonderful view of the city. Perfect place to take pictures.
  3. Arpoador: This is where you want to be for the sunset.
  4. Santa Teresa: Charming old neighborhood in Rio. Go to small bars or restaurants here and walk around the beautiful streets.

3. Nightlife: Brazilians really know how to party! If you are just looking for a bar to have a “gelada” (ice cold beer) you are going to want to go out at 8 pm, if you are looking to have dinner, probably 9 pm… now if you want to go to a nightclub, don’t arrive before 1 am.

  1. Bars at Lapa – A former run-down collection of 19th century mansions has now been rehabilitated. Here you will find many restaurants,  and cute bars with live music. Great place to go eat, dance and have a blast!
  2. Samba Practices happen from November until carnival (Feb or March) and they are extremely fun to watch!  I recommend watching the schools Beija Flor or Mangueira. Here you will find a schedule of their rehearsals.
  3. Nightclubs: parties start at 1 am and go until sunrise. There are plenty of nightlclubs to explore in Rio! Click here to know where to go.

4. The food!! Don’t come back to the States without trying:

The snack I miss the most!! Pão de queijo. Receipe here.

The snack I miss the most!! Pão de queijo. Recipe here.

  1. Açaí
  2. Pão de queijo
  3. Coxinha
  4. Pastel
  5. Rodízio de pizza
  6. Churrasco
  7. Feijoada
  8. Fresh juices

To finish off, let me just warn you that we Brazilians are extremely warm. We do not know what “personal space” is, we touch people when we are chatting with them, we hug, we greet people with multiple kisses… so be ready to hug and kiss back! Also, do not try speaking Spanish to Brazilians… they are unbelievably proud of their Portuguese!

I hope you have a wonderful time in Brazil! Please let me know what you enjoyed the most about my country by posting a comment below.

Boa viagem!!

~ Renata Berto, International Programs Associate

Student Recommendations in Latin America: What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Would Have Known Before Traveling on This International Program Abroad?

Every year, in our post-program surveys, we ask our students for feedback on things they wish they had known about a specific location prior to going there to study. On this blog post we compiled answers to this question from our graduate students who experienced life in Latin America as part of one of our programs. We hope that this information will help other students in the future!

Bogota, Colombia:

Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia

“The altitude might be an issue, which can be mitigated by arriving one day early with no need to take medication. Colombians are very humble, friendly and very helpful, so don’t worry too much about safety. Public transport, in particular the transmilenio, is fast and safe, even faster than taxis due to constant traffic in Bogota. You can have a real local experience using the transmilenio.”

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic:

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo by roughguide.com

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Photo by roughguide.com

“Internet access can be poor in many parts of the city (i.e. at coffee shops and the hotel).”

“When entering the DR one must pay a $10 fee. This fee is ONLY payable in U.S. dollar, not pesos. One must also be very careful with safety. It seems that in a country that is visited by so many tourists, one must be aware that you have to bargain for prices all the time. This may become tiring.”

 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“Research the subway transportation system prior to departure. Also, I felt quite safe while there.”

“How hot it would be so bring very light clothing. Also, sun tan lotion is extremely expensive in Brazil”

“The Portuguese language was very difficult. I would tell the students about the ‘onibus’ (bus) that runs to/from airport. It was a great value compared to the taxis.”

“The need to learn Portuguese. Socializing with locals is very hard otherwise.”

“English-speakers are uncommon in Rio”

“Research the social enterprises/organizations we visited beforehand to make the most of the experience.” (Social Change Class)

“International calling plans can be expensive but international data plans not so much so consider buying that before going abroad. WhatsApp is likely the only thing you’ll need to communicate with others during the practicum  (E.g. Verizon data plan gives you 100MB for $25). Especially if you’re going to a country where you can’t just buy a cheap SIM card off the street.”

“I wish I would have known there was very little free time during the day time.  I would have liked to do some more sightseeing.” (International Consulting Project Abroad in Rio)

“If possible, contact the client prior to traveling abroad. Some communication with the client could have helped develop a very loose framework and do some more targeted research prior to arriving.” (International Consulting Project Abroad in Rio)

“Do some team building prior to going abroad. Also, COPPEAD students were a BLAST as were the local business leaders.” (International Consulting Project Abroad in Rio)

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Have decent grasp of Spanish.  I knew very little and the language barrier was one of the most difficult of any non-English speaking”

“I wish I would have done more research into activities in the area prior to our trip.”

“Bring lots of US dollars to exchange, rather than withdraw from an ATM.  You get much better exchange rate that way.”

“It would have been nice to know the huge disparity in exchange rates on the blue dollar.  Many people brought cash and benefited greatly.”

“That laundry was not only available, but extremely convenient and affordably priced (I would not have packed half as much as I did).”

“I found two apps for my phone that were invaluable.  One was a free English/Spanish translator for Android that did not require wifi.  The other was a currency converter. Whatsapp was also instrumental.”

“You will be working a ton on your practicum, which doesn’t leave too much time to explore the city. Arrive early or stay late if you wish to do this!” (International Consulting Abroad)

“I wish I had learned more Spanish, had brought a detailed city street map, and had studied the area for restaurants and sites to see.”

“Buenos Aires is not as dangerous as people made it sound.”

“Read the material in advance! I wish I had been aware of how intense the course was going to be.” (Advanced International Negotiations Class with Professor Barkacs)

“The service at businesses and restaurants can be pretty bad.”

“I would have arrived a few days earlier and left a few days later in order to experience more of the culture and sights during the day when we didn’t have classes.”

What about you? Have you studied abroad? Do you have any other suggestions for people who are going abroad this Intersession? Post your comments below.

 

 

 

Rio Reflections told by an MBA Student: High Quality Opportunity for Learning Beyond the Classroom

By MBA Student Scott M. LaRocco; Edited by Renata Berto & Danielle Levanetz

The beauty of taking a class abroad is that besides being exposed to high quality lectures by USD’s most renown faculty members, one gains awareness of how people in a certain culture live their lives, and how they do business.   In this article, an MBA student shares what lessons he learned while exploring Rio on his free time, outside of the classroom.

I believe that in order to truly experience the most out of a visit to another country, one must be willing to forego many comforts that we are accustomed to, adapt to the culture by attempting to communicate with local residents in their vernacular language, and, most importantly, be willing to take risks. By utilizing my already natural high level of energy and enthusiasm, I believe that I was greatly successful in experiencing the most out of Brazil’s fascinating culture while spending almost a month in Rio de Janeiro taking two MBA classes.

In order to accomplish this, I generally gave up my standard routine of seven hours of sleep per night and three square meals per day. Despite the minor discomfort that these sacrifices may have caused, I can unequivocally say that I was able to experience Rio in a way that many of my fellow classmates did not. Below are a few of those adventures, which have forever changed my life.

Fabiano, Moises, and the Beach Chair Family

Getting a group together for something as simple as going to the beach in Brazil became the equivalent of a four hour root canal procedure. It seemed like every time I was ready to go several people were asking me to wait for them. Frustrated by my inability to have the group ready to go on my schedule, I developed a different strategy to go to the beach: I gave simple instructions as to where exactly I would be sitting on the beach so that anyone could join me.

The advantage to always being in the same beach location, oftentimes alone for several hours, was that I was able to become amicably acquainted with a local family, whose business was to rent out beach chairs, umbrellas and refreshments to beachgoers. The family consisted of three sons, whose ages ranged between 21 and 25 years, and their father who seemed to merely supervise the operation as he played dominoes under a canopy.

The three boys worked extremely hard, running back and forth from their canopy where they stored their chairs for the beach patrons, who need not move from their chairs in order to get a nice cold coconut water. Appreciative of this hard work, I made a concerted effort to not only tip these gentlemen whenever practical, but to do my best to show my appreciation of their service through trying to talk with them, shake their hands, and laugh with them when I could.  This appreciation did not go unnoticed, as they would smile and wave as they saw me approach every time I went to the beach. In addition to merely doing a great service for me and the other beach patrons, these kids also would do me personal favors like watch my bag while I went in the water, if I were alone, or run to their canopy to get me a specific refreshments that they did not carry in their coolers. On one occasion, Moises sat down next to me, looking exhausted, and simply asked to “bump fists”, a universal sign of respect across the globe.

On the last day of my trip I decided I wanted to leave these kids with a gift before I departed back to the United States, so on my last outing to the beach I brought with me a Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan jersey that I had taken with me from the States. Knowing that such jerseys are probably extremely difficult to find in Rio, I thought this would be a great “thank you” gift. Unbeknownst to me, the family had also planned to give me a small gift, so as I walked to Ipanema beach to say goodbye, I pulled out the jersey. At the same time, they had the jersey of their favorite local soccer team, Vasco da Gama, to give to me. I certainly appreciate the irony of how conscientious people, despite cultural differences, can think in the exact same manner. It is my sincere hope that next time I happen to be in Rio de Janeiro, I will walk up and find the same family in the same spot, wearing my Vasco jersey, as one of them wears my Chicago Bulls one.

The Siren’s Song of the Vidigal Favela

Undoubtedly the image from Rio de Janeiro that is forever scorched in my retinas is that of the Dois Irmaos peaks that jaggedly spring up from the west of Ipanema Beach. I had seen these mountains for years on postcards and in films, but was completely unprepared for the scope and natural beauty in them.

Vidigal favela seen from the beach. Picture by http://www.getyourguide.com

Dois Irmãos peaks and Vidigal favela seen from the beach. Picture by http://www.getyourguide.com

When I was able to get my first, in person, view of the peaks, I noticed what appeared to be a shantytown running up the side. “How could this be?” I thought to myself. This looked like some of the most prime real estate in all Rio de Janeiro, yet it had a favela (slum) occupying it. Desperate for more information on this perceived anomaly, I began researching the area and learned that it was indeed a favela called Vidigal. So, on my last day in Rio, I recognized it as my last opportunity to make the possible dangerous trip into the Vidigal favela. After convincing a classmate to go with me, we saw what appeared to be a small restaurant at the base of Vidigal. We decided this would be a good place to find out, once and for all, if it would be safe for us to head into the favela.

At the restaurant, which I viewed more like the base camp at Mount Everest, we were able to speak to a television reporter, who spoke perfect English, about our prospects of making it in and out of Vidigal safely. She assured us that we had nothing to worry about, and that the favela had been pacified, and there would be heavy police presence everywhere we went.  This was enough to convince us that we should take the risk and head in.

Rather, we occasionally saw a police car drive by as we winded our way up the main road, heading for the very top in search of a picturesque view of the City. Despite this, I believe that we had gone too far now to turn back, and so we forged ahead. Along the main street in Vidigal, I never felt threatened. Locals seemed to be going about their everyday business and paid us little attention at all.  As we approached the summit, I was saddened that, from the main street, there were buildings blocking what was certain to be an amazing view of Rio de Janeiro.

Unsatisfied, I pondered heading up one of the many small, winding concrete staircases that disappeared into the morass of corrugated steel shanty houses that packed the neighborhood. As I took my first initial steps up the staircase, and my classmate waited at the base, unwilling to head into what looked like an abyss, reality had a way of finding me again. A local woman shouted out her window and waved her finger to me. She had a look on her face not of someone who simply didn’t want me trespassing, but rather, that if I were to continue I might find myself in real danger. This was enough for me to turn back, and suggest to Tina that maybe we begin the long, winding trek down back to the base.

After deciding to turn back and start walking down, we were happy to find out that the walk down actually did give us periodic windows where we were able to marvel at the scenery. The blue ocean, sandy beaches, white buildings, and emerald peaks that Rio is known for looked as amazing as ever. Additionally, the look, smell, and overall feel of being in a favela is so unique, that I had to fight off the urge to whip out my camera and take pictures (the locals tell tourists that this can be seen as very disrespectful).

About half way down the main road, my classmate and I stopped for a drink at a local bar/restaurant. The owner, a kind old lady, not only was willing to take our pictures, as well as a picture of us with her, but also brought out rice and beans (traditional Brazilian fare) that we hadn’t asked for. Upon our departure, she wished us well and gave us both big hugs as we walked down the road.

I am certainly thrilled that I was able to at last explore the Vidigal favela, and experience both in beauty and charm as we meandered through its winding roads. Had I not taken this opportunity to do so, it would have undoubtedly been my biggest, and possibly only, regret of what was, in totality, and amazing trip.

MBA Students Exploring Rio's Most Iconic Symbol

MBA Students Exploring Rio’s Most Iconic Symbol