If I was the Study Abroad Director

Curitiba Travel Blog

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Let’s pretend that my name is Dr. Kirk Bowman and I need to plan a schedule for next year’s study abroad trip to Argentina and Brazil.  How would I plan it?  Would I keep everything the same as this year?  What would I change? 


Well first of all, I would try and get Dr. Felipe Arocena to come back and teach the students.  As a student, I have learned a lot from Felipe and he has made class very interesting for the students.  I would also bring back Jeff Casey as well.  The guest speakers, for the most part, have been on point and very informative.  In my opinion as a student, I have learned more from the guest speakers than I have from the reading packets, so guest speakers and professors like Felipe are necessary to make next year’s program a success.


Secondly, I would try and visit more places instead of staying in one place like Buenos Aires for an entire month.  I feel that the students would enjoy the trip more if they were able to stay in Floripa and Curitiba for a longer period of time than just 5-7 days.  Students get burnt out from all the traveling in Brazil during the second half of the trip and would rather have the majority of the travel done at the beginning of the trip, in my opinion. 


Thirdly, I would do away with reading entire books on the histories of Argentina and Brazil.  It is rather boring and the students learn more from speakers and videos.  As a student, I learn more visually than any other way and it helps to hear one talk about a subject rather than having to read an incredibly long narrative on what a country’s past history entails. 


I would keep the venues that have been sponsored by Coca Cola on this trip.  As a student, I thoroughly enjoyed attending soccer matches, tango and flamenco shows and even the opera.  They were rather enjoyable and if I were the director I would have more programs like that next year. 


Lastly, if the schedule wasn’t so prone to change, it would be more beneficial for the students.  I would try and set a schedule that I could stick to and make arrangements beforehand to ensure that schedule was met.  Of course, the World Cup being this year threw everything off, so no blame is to be cast on anyone.


Overall, this program has been run rather well once everything is taken into account.  It is extremely hard to coordinate a study abroad program in two countries whose very existence revolves around the sport of soccer during a World Cup.  I commend Kirk Bowman for all the efforts he’s made to make our stay in these countries as enjoyable as possible.  He has been extremely helpful and lenient with me as well and for that I thank him.  The aforementioned suggestions are just a few things that, in my opinion, Kirk might want to look at for future reference.  This trip has been a lot of fun and an experience that I will never forget!

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