My name is Joe Qiao. I am a second-year MBA student from Cluster G. I am very excited that my Brazil Global Immersion trip is coming up in 2 days. This is going to be my third time stepping on the mysterious continent within one year! I am just as excited as my first time visiting South America because I have heard so much about Brazil and the difference between Brazil and other Latin American countries. Most importantly, I am craving for an authentic Brazilian BBQ.
I would like to share a little about my previous experience in South America and traveling with Chazen and form some expectations for this upcoming trip. I previously went to Chile and Peru with business school friends. I went to India with Chazen. To people outside South America, it seems reasonable to generalize and classify South America as one culture. I do admit that there are many similarities between countries in South America and of course most countries speak Spanish. I also assure you that Ceviche tastes very different between Lima and Santiago. My experience in Peru is quite different from my experience in Chile. The Inca culture root and different climate made Peru a lot more “culturful” whereas Chile feels like more developed and westernized. Therefore, I would expect my experience in Brazil will be dramatically different from my experience in Peru and Chile due to its culture and history differences. I do expect (based on what I learned from class) that Brazilians will be very welcoming, laid back and cheerful as people from other Latin American countries.
I usually check a country’s macro-economic condition before visiting to form an expectation on cost of living, spending power, and business environment. It also helps me establish a pricing reference in case I need to bargain. Brazil is the 9th largest economy in the world and the GDP per capita (adjusted for PPP) is around $11K. This puts Brazil ahead of many developing countries that I have visited. We also learned in class that the cost of living in large cities in Brazil can be even higher than in America. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume a large gap between the rich and the poor. I am also curious to see if businesses in Brazil get too much negative impact due to the high cost of operating in large cities.
I will write a few more blogs when I land in Brazil and we can check if my expectations are correct. Stay tuned!