6 juin 2018
center floripa

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Summary of my expatriation report

Introduction

The third year at the IPAG Business School is a year of discovery and a cultural exchange. It is the opportunity to travel outside of Europe and to study among the several partner universities of our school.

I have chosen the Brazil to do my exchange and specifically the city of Florianopolis where is located the Santa Catarina State University. I have never been to South America before and it is a sort of dream to live 5 months there.

I am going to spend five months in Florianopolis where I am going to discover a country, a city, a culture and a new language. It is a good way for me to improve my adaptation capacities in a non-familiar environment and study in English which is not my language.

I am very excited to have this unique experience which I am sure is going to be unforgettable.

In this report I am going to introduce the Brazil as a country, but also Florianopolis where I am going to leave. Then I am going to present the UDESC and the courses that I have chosen. Finally, I am going to present a reflection on my professional and personal achievements during this semester abroad.

Part 1: Description of the country and the university

  1. Presentation of the country and the city.      
  • Geography

Brazil’s surface area is 8 515 770 km², in other words Brazil is 286 times the size of Belgium and almost 16 times the size of France. It is the bigger country of South America, in fact it covers the half of South America and represents about half of the South America’s population. It is adjacent with Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam and even the French Guyana. The country is the fifth bigger country of the world after the USA, China, Canada and Russia.

The capital is Brasilia, but the most famous Brazilian city is of course Sao Paulo.

In terms of landscapes, Brazil has many beaches, tropical forests and even the famous and huge jungle called Amazonia. Because of it’s size, the country has several climates: around five different ones!

  • Economy

As for the Brazilian economy, it is the 7th largest economy in the world, with a GDP in 2014 amounting to 2,347 billion US dollars. It is also one of the major emerging powers, it is a member of the UN, the Mercosul, the G20 and the BRICS. Brazil is one of the twenty major military powers behind the United States. He could one day become a superpower.

  • Culture

The official language of the country is Portuguese, it is the only legacy of Portugal on American soil.

Brazil is the largest country where the official language is Portuguese.
Despite its booming economy, social and economic inequalities persist and divide the population. About 206 million people live in the country. This population is characterized by great ethnic and cultural diversity.

  • Politic

As far as politics is concerned, Brazil is a presidential federal republic. This republic is composed of 26 states.
The current president is Michel Temer, elected for a four-year term et succeeded to Dilma Rousseff.

The city of Florianopolis

Florianopolis, also called “Floripa” is a city and the capital of the state of Santa Catarina situated on an island. The state of Santa Catarina is located in the south of the country and has a border with Argentina. The economy of the state depends on the agriculture and the industry such as metallurgy, textile and mechanical. Florianopolis is famous for the excellent quality of life, the high Human Development Index (HDI), the security and of course the several beaches, 42 in total. The island is also very famous for the abundant surf spots.

  1. Presentation of the university.

UDESC “Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina” (Santa Catarina State University) is a Brazilian and public university where the head office is in Florianopolis. This university is free and has 10 campuses in different cities, being more than 13 000 students in total. UDESC is one of the best university of Brazil.

  1. Presentation of material conditions.  

The following table shows the mains expenses during my semester in Florianopolis.

Type of expenditure

Amount for one month

For the semester                   (5 months)

Rent

250 euros

1250 euros

Food

200 euros

1000 euros

Pre-care medecine

X

60 euros

Visa

X

180 euros

Airline ticket (return trip)

X

1118 euros

Phone (sms + internet)

10 euros

50 euros

Daily transports

60 euros

300 euros

Extra (trip, restaurant, culture…)

200 euros

1000 euros

Total

720 euros

4958 euros

 

Part 2: Description and analysis of the university semester

  1. Course choices and teaching methods.                                        

I had to choose five courses among seven different courses offered in ESAG. Each course gives me four local credits which equates to six ECTS credits, so I have in total thirty ECTS credits for the semester. I have each class two times a week and a class runs for one hour and forty minutes. UDESC offers courses in English and in Portuguese but all my courses are in English taking my poor Portuguese level into account.

My first class is the “Management Information System” (MIS). The aim of this course it to manage the basic concepts of IT, to differentiate among the major types of corporate IS, to know how to use the BPM (Business Process Modeling and notation) and read and build a BPD (Business Process Diagrams), to acquire an overall notion of corporate ICT management and governance. My second class is “Scenarios in Business Logistics”. This class is about the basics concepts of business logistics, supply chain management, the distribution channels, the warehouse management and the transports systems. My third class is “Strategic Marketing Management and Creativity”. The objective of this class is to understand how does the marketing work in all fields of business activities and how to use these concepts to create value in organizations. My fourth class is called “Operational Research” which is a class in which we learn how to use excel to make decisions. This class is about math programming and modelling, linear programming. My fifth and last class is “International Business” which is probably my favourite class with my favourite teacher. The aim of this course is to present an overview of global economy focusing on the dynamics of trade and investment, including its effects on the development of nations and the performance of organizations especially the Brazilian companies. Regarding the teaching methods, everything is different here. First of all, the teachers want that we call them by their first names and are closer to their students than in France or even in Europe. For some classes we are with Brazilian students, in general they sit in class but don’t take notes, they just listen during one hour and forty minutes. All the teachers are Brazilian so their mother tongue is not the English, some of them speak a good English, and the others have  a big accent and a basic English which is sometimes hard to understand. Concerning the assessment system, each professor has his own.

  1. Presentation of the difficulties encountered and the results obtained.

One of the main difficulties was the timetable. We could not choose our timetable. For example, on Monday I start at 2 pm and I finish at 10:30 pm. Another difficulty is that our professors speak English but they are Brazilian so English is not their first language. Some of them have a very good English but some of them have a very basic English so it was not easy to communicate and understand everything.

Having class in English was not a problem because after my first semester un Fiji my English got better and my teachers in UDESC use a simple English. The only problem in this area was maybe the Brazilian accent of some of my teacher. But I got used to it after several classes A problem was to learn Portuguese because I am already learning English and Italian so it is hard and confusing to learn a third language. Lastly, the immigration process in Brazil for the foreigners is laborious

Part 3: Reflection on professional and personal achievements

  1. Professional achievements and language skills.

The first achievement that I would like to highlight is my level of English after these four months. One of the goal of this year abroad is to improve our English level in view of the current labour market that requires to everybody to have a fluent English. Spending almost one year abroad is the best way to improve my English. Having all my classes in English this semester was a good way as well.

Another professional and technical achievements is my capacity to have all my classes in English and to do the homework in this language comfortably.

  1. Link with the learnings at IPAG Business School.

I was quite nervous to have all my courses in English, but fortunately I improved my English during the first semester in Fiji. Moreover, in second year we are prepared to have class in English because a part of our courses is in this foreign language. The English classes were focus on writing, speaking and listening to be able to have class in a university abroad. We were well prepared for this year abroad.

A skill that helped me was my good and rapid ability to adapt myself to new surroundings. I got this capacity from the different internships that we did in first and second years. When you arrive in a new country, new university, it’s important to adapt oneself quickly.

  1. Personal achievements.

Once again, I realized that speaking English is essential nowadays and it’s something that I really enjoy. It’s a great tool to communicate around the world.

I learned how to relativize and be pleased with what I have, because I have the chance to travel and do studies that I like so much. Not everyone is so lucky.

I also feel more mature, indeed I had to deal with different issues and diverse situations during this semester in Brazil which had made me grow. I am also more open-minded, I met a lot of different persons from everywhere and all distinct from each other.

  1. The astonishment report.

During my stay of five months in Brazil, many things surprised me.

  • At school

The first thing that surprised me was the relationship with the teachers which is very different from France. Indeed, we call them by their name while in France we call our teachers by their surnames. They gave us their phone numbers and email addresses and told us to do not hesitate to join them if we have any problem during our stay in Brazil.

  • The city

The first thing is the large number of pharmacies in my neighbourhood named “Lagoa da Conceiçao”, maybe 6 or 7 next to each other which is a lot in this little neighbourhood of around 14 000 residents. There is also quite a lot of sports centres because Brazilian people take care of their appearance.

I was surprised when I arrived in Florianopolis because it seems like a European country with modern buildings and expensive cars.

  • The Brazilian lifestyle
I was so surprised that so few people do not speak English in Brazil, in the shops, the restaurants and even the public transports. After several weeks, I feel more comfortable in Portuguese so I can better understand and express myself a little bit.

Conclusion

This semester in a partner university was an amazing experience. I learned a lot of things, especially about myself. Study abroad is a good way to be more mature and also be more open-mind.

I left France last summer without any idea that I wanted to do in fourth year, which specialization I would like to do. Thanks to this year abroad, I finally know what I want to do next year and in which sector I want to work.

 It was very interesting to study in a foreign university, I realized that France has a good school system.

I’m now excited to do my master’s degree in France to be graduated and enter on the labour market.

 

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