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UAlbany Teams Up with South American University to Learn about Brazilian Economy

UAlbany students learned about Brazilian business on a new summer study abroad trip.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 1, 2013) –  The University at Albany has teamed up with Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paolo, Brazil, to offer its students a new summer study abroad program. Fourteen UAlbany students and recent graduates recently returned to the region from the inaugural trip to South America, where they learned about Brazilian business and its economy.

“Through a creative and dynamic curriculum, our new summer program at Mackenzie University helps students to understand firsthand what Brazil’s economic strengths have been in the past and present, as well as where its greatest potential for further business development might lie in the future,” said Austin Powers, program coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Office of International Education.

For the UAlbany students, the inaugural trip was a hit, with students reporting a transformative experience that left them with a love of Brazilian people and culture.

Roely Castro, a senior communication major from Harlem, N.Y., recalls visiting the heart of Brazil’s financial district in São Paolo. Castro, who wants to work for the United Nations when she graduates, said the warmth of the Brazilian people shone through even though she spoke no Portuguese.

“My experience in Brazil was eye-opening both politically and socially,” said Castro, a Dominican Republic native. “Ever walk down a busy New York street and see everyone rushing with their eyes glued to their phones? The experience was the complete opposite throughout Brazil.”

According to Adebare Ogunleye, a recent economics and political science graduate who plans to practice international law or work as an attorney for a non-profit, “the whole four-and-a-half week experience was mind-blowing, from the course we took on the history of Brazil and the Portuguese language class, to the field trips we had to the favelas (shanty towns built into the hillside) and the local food market.”

Ogunleye, from Queens, N.Y., was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. While studying emerging markets at UAlbany, he learned of this opportunity to travel to Brazil’s financial district, the famous Avenida Paulista.

"Coming from Nigeria and visiting the Dominican Republic opened my eyes to how unequally wealth is distributed around the world, but the experience in Brazil showed me I need to explore the world more to experience new and interesting cultures," he said.

The group took classes just minutes from the Paulista, where they had access to the city’s finest restaurants, clubs and cafes. They also spent three days in Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, the group saw the Cantagalo favela as well as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, the 130-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) statue with its stunning views of the city.

“I loved São Paolo, but I left my heart in Rio and would definitely live there,” said Alisha Espinal, a senior communication major. The entire trip “was almost like MTV’s ‘real world’ experience.”

The University currently boasts 120 study abroad options in 40 countries across the globe.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.