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Spring Break and Lifelong Lessons in Brazil

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013

For seven University of Evansville students, a spring break trip to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil, was equal parts business, fun, personal and professional development.

Katie Ciccarelli, director of program development for the Institute for Global Enterprise, says, "It is one thing for students to learn about the world's seventh largest economy in the classroom, and another when students make the world their classroom.”

They learn first-hand what challenges and opportunities companies are currently facing abroad while developing their global mindset as they become fascinated by the local customs, culture, and successful business practices. The course, “Contemporary Business Issues in Brazil,” included a mix of business and communications majors.

Senior Kate Schlarf, a global business and Spanish major, was able to meet with the very people she had been corresponding with through her commercial development internship at Berry Plastics. “The trip taught us to look at things from a different angle and to consider cultural influences when working with different countries,” she says.

The group also met with UE alumnus Julia Khokhlova, sales manager at Cummins Brasil, another Indiana-based company.

Senior Shawn Robey, a business management major, sat down with the president of Boeing Brasil. Robey says the program allowed him to experience opportunity outside of Evansville and gain confidence. “This program allowed me to see that there is so much adventure and so many new things to be discovered. I’ve had a few job interviews before,” he says. “But after meeting with the president of Boeing Brazil, I was able to be myself and not let nerves get me.”

Partly funded through UE’s Lilly Endowment, the Institute for Global Enterprises hopes to offer students the chance to become global citizens and connect to the world of business. “I would never have been able to grow as much as I have personally and professionally,” Robey says. “It was eye-opening.”

This program was made possible in part by the generous support of the Lilly Endowment.

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