They say hindsight is 20/20, but I wish it was more (robot vision?) because I never want to forget a single moment of the epic Chazen Brazil Summer Study Tour 2017.
As we’ve all settled back into out New York routines – exercise, class, not eating cheese bread all the time, it’s easy to have the memories of an amazing week and a half fade away. Thankfully we are at CBS, so we get to see each other all the time (and still can’t get enough of this crew!). Everyone at school is super jealous of our strong Brazilian friendships and awesome Instagrams.
Reflecting on the trip, we did learn quite a bit, in both the business and cultural realms:
On the business side, we had a truly well-rounded and complete view into Brazil. Each meeting complemented the other and seemed carefully curated to show views from multiple industries on similar topics. Overall, the takeaway is that Brazil seems to have bottomed out from its recession and barring any major political upheavals, is on track for a strong recovery. Business activity, both from domestic players and foreign investors, seems to be supporting that. Our access to the C-suite at the companies (pronounced “coompanies”) was unparalleled, and for any of us that end up doing business in Latin America, I’m sure our new contacts will be helpful.
Culturally, I think it’s safe to say we are all a bit more Brazilian now. Our capacity to drink caipirinhas, the national Brazilian drink, has increased immeasurably. I’ve heard some students are still ordering cachacas at the bars of New York. We were fortunate to experience two of the world’s great cities in Sao Paulo and Rio. As Paulistas for a few days, we got a taste of what life could be like in a “lifestyle” city that is as much defined by its people and culture as anything else. Often disregarded as a concrete jungle, our amazing hosts showed us the vibrant side of Sao Paulo. As Cariocas, we were blessed with amazing weather that allowed us to experience the beach and outdoor culture the city is known for. We played beach volleyball with locals, watched the sunset from amazing vantage points, ran along Ipanema, soaked up as much sun as we could. Each outing in Rio was better than the last, and no one was ready to leave when it was finally time to go. Yours truly even improved his Portuguese to the point of being conversational about animals.
The point of a Chazen trip is to have fellow students show you a side of their country you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. For the Chazen Brazil Summer Study Tour 2017, that was accomplished and more. We love you Chazen! GO LIONS!
This is your correspondent signing off for the final time. Tchau!