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Above, Cristian Sanchez ’16, far left, and friends after a hike at Morro Dois Irmaos in Brazil. Below, riding a bike in Shanghai and at the Great Wall of China.

An International Education

09/16/15

C:\fakepath\Cristian China bike crop.jpgCristian Sanchez ’16 of Becket, Mass., got a great boost to his future career in international business as he spent his entire junior year abroad, studying in China and Brazil, at Shanghai University and the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Florianopolis.

“Many of the products in the United States are made in China,” Sanchez said. “So, I thought I’d go learn how the Chinese do business.”

In China for the 2014 fall semester, his first trip there happened just a few months earlier, over spring break with a travel course. “We stopped by the School of International Business Administration at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, so it made sense to study there.”

His choice for the second part of his junior year was Brazil.

In addition to being affordable, Brazil is an emerging country within the field of international business. What’s more, going to Brazil meant Sanchez could learn to speak Portuguese. Born in Bogota, Columbia, Sanchez is fluent in Spanish, making Portuguese is his fourth language.

While he is nearly fluent in Portuguese because of its similarity to Spanish, Sanchez learned how to hold a conversation and respond to basic questions in Chinese because of the need he had to use that language every day in downtown Shanghai.

 “I feel it’s most important to know how to speak a different language. If you can talk to someone in person, then you can make a difference,” Sanchez explained.

C:\fakepath\Cristian China great wall crop.jpgIn China, besides taking a language course in Chinese, he took classes in logistics, how to conduct international business in China, math as it relates to Asian banks, and also a course on Chinese law.

“You can learn all you want about a country from a course, but when you’re actually there, living and spending time in the downtown with the people and businesses, it pushes you. It’s nothing you can learn in a classroom,” Sanchez said.

In Brazil, he took a course in Portuguese, as well as classes in how to do business in Brazil, international economics and globalization, and another that focused on tourism.

“In every class you learn theory, but in my business class we had the opportunity to work with this huge international surfing and lifestyle company called Morr Maii. We had to propose an idea for an addition to their line of products and create a promotional event. We split the class into five groups and found out about manufacturers, logistics and all the things you need to know to propose an idea to a business,” Sanchez explained.

“We went to Morr Maii and made a presentation. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done,” he added. “Most everything you learn in college is theory, but this was reality.”

Sanchez said his dream job may include serving as an international negotiator for a company’s product or service. “They could send me anywhere in the world. It could be France. It could be China or Brazil.”

At MCLA, Sanchez has enjoyed the courses he’s taken. “They were very interesting and I learned a lot. Now that I’m back, I feel like I need to get all that I can out of the business administration courses.”

He added, “MCLA was very economical, compared to other schools. Honestly, it’s an excellent education. The professors really focus on their students’ education. That’s something I really enjoy.”