Coming into my Junior Year at the Carlson School has been a whirlwind of opportunities. I have officially declared a major and minor, finished my first professional internship, and most excitingly, I have gone abroad! This blog post comes at you internationally, via São Paulo, Brazil! I have spent the last four months studying Business and Culture at Fundação Getúlio Vargas or FGV-EAESP, South America's most acclaimed business school. In addition to studying, I have been learning Portuguese, living with a Brazilian family, and making trips up and around this beautiful country (pictures to follow!). In four months, I have seen Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, visited the culturally beautiful beaches of Bahia to the Northeast, experienced the colonial beauty of Minas Gerais, and felt the pure might and beauty of Foz do Iguaçu.
Above: Christ the Redeemer
Below: Sunset on Itacare, Bahia
And while this trip might seem too good to be true, there was a lot of work and effort involved to take this Minnesota girl to South America's biggest city. That's where the Carlson School comes into play. They have amazing resources set up to assist students with fulfilling their international experience requirement, and can help a nervous and clueless student (this girl!) navigate her way through the lengthy steps of the process.
First stop in the pre-study-abroad journey is a trip to the Carlson School Business Abroad Expo, held each semester. This Expo features Carlson students who have been abroad in different countries and are willing to share their experiences with younger students. Their stories inspire students year after year to explore new countries.
Below: Foz do Iguacu
Second step is talking to some of our amazing study-abroad experts in the Carlson Global Institute, or CGI. They have detailed information on every program offered by the Carlson School, whether your interest lies in a 2 week short term program, month long program, or full semester, like mine. This office also offers scholarships to help offset some of the costs of going abroad. Additionally, these wonderful professionals got me in touch with Bruna and Flavia, two Brazilian students studying abroad at UMN for the semester. I was able to have coffee with these wonderful Brasileras and they gave me the inside-scoop on what to expect during my time abroad.
Third step is speaking with your Academic Adviser. Since you have been with this Adviser since freshmen year, they have typically broached the subject with you, and they know where your interests lie. They help make the coursework part of the abroad experience fall into line, because yes, despite how much fun I'm having, I'm still studying for credit down here! They also keep in touch with you throughout your abroad experience, offering support and guidance as needed.
All of these amazing resources (and more!) are available to every Carlson student to help relieve the stress of studying abroad. As tough as it is to get everything planned, once you step off that plane and realize you'll spend the next months adventuring in a foreign land, everything becomes absolutely worth it!
Studying abroad offers a global perspective, not only in terms of business, but in regard to personal development. You will not believe the things you see, the challenges you overcome, the friends you make, and the memories that will stick with you for a lifetime. So go ahead, close your eyes and pick a place on the map. You won't regret it!
As we say in Brazil, Boa Viagem! (Have a great trip!)