Seven UF MBA students stand in a line for a photo in Brazil
Zakiya Smith-Dore (center) with her UF MBA classmates in Brazil.

Embracing Brazilian culture on Global Immersion Experience

UF MBA student does a Gator Chomp in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil

By Zakiya Smith-Dore, CVP (MBA ’20)

The University of Florida is known for its top ranked academic programs and its continuous commitment to “go greater.” As a Double Gator and employee of UF, I could not imagine pursuing my graduate degree anywhere else!

The UF MBA program facilitates the university’s mission to go greater in a variety of ways. Global Immersion Experience (GIE) trips go beyond the textbooks to allow for tangible application of international business studies. I attended this fall’s trip to Brazil where we spent four days in Rio de Janeiro and four days in São Paolo. This was my second trip to Brazil, and I was eager to see the country through a different lens. My first journey was on a mission trip to an impoverished area of northern Brazil. During the trip, we were not able to truly immerse in the culture due to safety concerns in the area. The GIE trip afforded me the opportunity to get another glimpse of the country.

We were privileged to have open dialogue with businesses including financial institutions, distribution centers and telecommunication sites. I was surprised by how transparent representatives were when sharing the impact they have on society. They also expressed their strategies to maintaining the richness of their culture while improving the economic and social aspects of their country. Understanding how Brazil is making improvements from the top down helped me connect the dots of why Brazil is identified as a “developing nation.”

I am a venue manager, so the aspect of embracing culture is extremely important to me. Our venues bring individuals of diverse backgrounds together to embrace meaningful moments. The GIE trip helped me understand the importance of creating lasting impressions during these interactions. The businesses we met with in Brazil went above and beyond to welcome us to the country, which made the learning experience that much more impactful. I am immensely grateful to have had the opportunity to immerse in Brazilian culture.

Want to immerse yourself in international business culture on a Global Immersion Experience? Request information about UF MBA today