Among the good resolutions I took at the end of December 2009, and among those that remain alive after the traditional memory hole of January 1st, there was the one to apply to an MBA.
"Have you ever experienced culture shock?"
Over the identification work of the country and targeted campus, the revision of GMAT, the analysis of success statistics to the GMAT and after realizing that I was not born Chinese, I had to find the ressources to fill in the admission documents and risk to fall in the following introspection: “Have you ever experienced culture shock? What did it mean to you? (250 words approx.)” Okay. Honestly, I am not able to answer this question. Introspection. I remember the time I was a baby, in my bed, with my parents taking care and playing with me, in order to, to this extent, having as less shocks as possible in my life. Above all, each time I heard about culture shock, it was in fact he shock of a friend. I have called these friends, had some drinks, and I put in their heads that they had MBA profiles, then, by my side, I have begun to write the story of an adventure that would have happened in Brazil (probably because of Magellan's biography by Stefan Zweig that was remaining on my room desk - and that I had actually read only the author's biography).
Culture shock, testimonies
Of course, I began by looking for information on blogs, expats forums, Wikipédia, ...), and I finally find the testimony of a francophone expat who, I do not know why, found the way to speak about the culture shock he would have lived in Brazil. Obviously, it has not been easy. I was not pretending to find the culte answer, and I googled plenty of times until entering "I will tell you how was my culture shock."
The first Google answer is a real fail, leading me to psychologies.com and a famous article titled "My husband committed adultery with a prostitute." Thus, I decide to lead simplest researches: "Brésil", "Brazil", "Culture shock", "Choc culturel". Finally, the francophone's testimony was really scary, speaking about very hard drugs, bad bandits, favelas, visas hard to obtain and a lot of abbreviations without any conventional signification like CPF, RNE. Nothing really useful for my MBA.
The arrival in São Paulo
Around the period of beer party in 2010, I finally exchanged the idea to do an MBA with the one to work in a foreign country. After 5 years in the world of Finances, more or less at international scale, and more accurately in Paris, I wanted to grow. After having forgot China and India whose GMAT statistics were clearly intimidating, I imagined myself Brazilian, and I came back to blogs, spoke about it to my friends that already had experienced culture shocks in their lives and knew how to speak about it. I flew to Rio to live there, learned the language, watched once more time "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey, doubled my number of friends on Facebook, seduced in Portuguese, wrote hundreds of "kkkkk", "ahahahahah" and "rsrsrsrs" without really catching the meaning and then, I arrived in São Paulo. A city full of opportunities for entrepreneurs who have imagination, and for those that do not have a lot as well. Just let's imagine we are in the 70's in Europe, the national champions are drawn, there will not be any petrol nor cultural shock and Blade Runner is already available in 3D.
"French people love people who love them"
Finally, an helicopter told me that there was an air bridge between France and Brazil on which you win life points on your way. The pilot commented: "Probably because Brazilians love France and French people love people who love them." I would like to tell that the helicopter was right, but that the life points you win on the way, you lose them quite quickly (carnaval, carnaval, carnaval). And, to comment what the pilot said, it is an incredible chance to benefit from that positive image while we are immigrants. My piece of advise is the following: go, run to subscribe Portuguese courses, because (and this is my last secret), if you speak Brazilian Portuguese and that you are European, tudo bem, all the opportunities are opened to you!