An exchange in South America.

Antoine Diaz is a GEM student on exchange in Brazil at the University of Sao Paulo. He discusses withMark Thomas the differences between the two school systems, what he is studying there and the plans for the future.


Why did  you choose to come to Brazil?

Well I chose to come to Brazil because it’s an emerging country, I also feel closer to the Latin languages and cultures so I wanted to take advantage of that and see what it is like here. This is my time in Latin America.

What is different about studying here and studying in France?

Well there is a lot, about the course, they require a lot of lecture hours compared to GEM, while in GEM we have group work. Here they do it too, but here we are given more case studies to work on and the teaching method is different. Although studying abroad is always different to studying at home. Here its more about case discussion, where all the students work together and it’s a class discussion. It’s interesting to work though I like the way we work at GEM as well.

How many classes are you taking?

I’m taking 5 classes and the whole semester adds to 30 credits. The classes are 3 hours long so we have 2 terms, in the first term I took 3 classes and this term I have 2. I’m taking financial analysis and capital investment , global marketing in Latin America, global management practice, new technologies and social innovations and human capital in a global world (which is more HR orientated)

I’m more of a marketing guy so they’re the subjects I enjoy the most, as well as the Latin languages.

ad12Can you tell me about the classes? Like what is the student mix?  

I was pretty surprised to see that there weren’t many Brazilians in the classes. We are a group of 40 students per class and there is a maximum of 5 Brazilians per class with the rest are all on exchange. There are a lot of French and Germans here as well.

Does that go the same for the professors?

No, in fact they are actually mostly Brazilians; most of them have travelled around in different countries and are very global.

What do you like about Sao Paulo?

I’ve been told that it’s not a city to see but a city to live in. I love big cities so I like Sao Paulo as there are a lot of things to do but it’s not a city to visit for holidays or for highlights, for working or studying its really great but just not for holidays. I have been to Rio twice for the carnival, I’ve been to Argentina, now I plan to go to the north east to El Salvador in June to see a world cup game, and then the first match is going to be Brazil vs Croatia in Sao Paulo.

You are a big football fan, then?

I want to work in Sports as a marketing guy; I did internships in sports fields and marketing agencies. Since I am very interested in that it is also part of a reason behind why I chose to come here, I think a lot of things are going to happen here.

What do you think you’ve learnt here? Have you changed?

Oh yes, of course, we learn something every day and change along with it. This is doubly the case when you are living abroad and are always in the company of international students. I think that with this course and international atmosphere I learnt to adapt to other people and be able to manage and appreciate the differences between different people. I think that it helped for that and that I’m now more ready to hit the job market and be more international career in mind-set than If I just stayed at home in France.  Actually I also speak Portuguese as its close to Spanish

Do you know what you want to do after?

Well I’m not sure at the moment because it’s still too soon. I’m maybe going to find an internship here as I need to do one to graduate. Otherwise I will go back to France and see what happens there. You see we have visa problems here as it’s quite hard to get one now, so I will try to get an internship here but if not I’ll go back to France, and anyway I still have my thesis to write up so I’ll be kept busy. I don’t know really when I can start work, but I’m hoping to be able to from September or October onwards. I would like to find something for anything 6 months up to a few years.

What advice would you give a Grenoble student who is coming here?

First of all I would advise them to learn Portuguese or at least be prepared for it. I mean we have our classes in English, but to get along in daily life you really need to have at least the basics. Just be prepared and open minded, don’t come with assumptions of things, just keep your mind open to all experiences and then you will be ok. To be honest, I really just couldn’t imagine anyone not enjoying it.


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