Earlier this semester, West Virginia University canceled 14 study abroad programs to ensure the safety of students, and faculty and staff, during the spread of the coronavirus and closed campus shortly after.
Instead of continuing their education abroad – Chile, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Brazil, Estonia, India, Italy and Taiwan – students proceeded with online learning for the rest of the semester and met their classmates through popular web-conferencing tools, such as Zoom.
However, thanks to our John Chambers College of Business and Economics Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dr. Laurel Cook, students were able to learn the business and culture of Brazil from the comfort of their own homes last Friday, April 24.
Cook said she was motivated to create this virtual experience after she saw how disappointed this year’s group of students were after the trip was (understandably) canceled.
“Since we’ve become so reliant on technology these days, I wondered if there was an opportunity to connect our students with their counterparts in Brazil,” said Dr. Cook. “As a result, I reached out to a number of people I know in Brazil. One of our partners, Via Mundo, agreed to help and began setting the stage for students and businesses in Brazil to participate.”
Students were able to see Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and hear from Brazilian students, companies, and cultural educators, including Itaqui Port Director, Raul Lamarca.
Both faculty and staff, and students, expressed how this virtual visit to Brazil was not only unique, but was also a highlight of their week. Some even took to social media to share their thoughts, such as digital marketing senior, Sean Griffin.
“It turned out to be a perfect opportunity for those of us in the U.S. to see and hear about the wonders of this beautiful country,” said Dr. Cook. “It was also heartwarming to see the delight the Brazilians had in discussing their home country. We could see the pride they felt as they discussed their favorite places to visit and things to do.
It was an incredible experience and I am extremely grateful to Via Mundo for helping me make the virtual study abroad trip a reality!”
This virtual event builds the foundation for future Chambers College students to explore the world from their fingertips.
To learn more about our Chambers College Marketing Department, visit business.wvu.edu/marketing.