By Sofia Alejandra Maradiaga
I never would have thought that my first time travelling to South America, specifically to Brazil, would come through the Laureate Ambassador Program. Amazingly, it did.
Anhembi Morumbi, one of Laureate International Universities’ top institutions in Brazil, was recently filming a commercial to advertise “Vestibular Top 50”; an exam where top 50 grades obtain a full scholarship from Anhembi Morumbi, with a new option of also studying a semester abroad in another of LIU’s universities.
In order to highlight the extensive cultural diversity within our network, Universidade Anhembi Morumbi included three Laureate Student Ambassadors from various countries for the different versions of their commercial. This is how I came to find myself suddenly boarding a plane heading to São Paulo on a random Tuesday morning from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
On my first morning in Brazil’s ginormous municipality city, I met with Víctor Álvarez (from Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain) and Frida Almqvist (from Think Education, Australia), the two ambassadors also participating in the commercial. Later that day we visited some of the sight-seeing spots São Paulo has to offer with Rebecca de Carli (Anhembi Morumbi’s Laureate Student Ambassador), who Frida and I had already met during last year’s World Business Forum in New York City.
The first place we visited was São Paulo’s iconic Avenida Paulista, the city’s most famous avenues which is home to São Paulo’s top financial and cultural institutions, such as Brazil’s Central Bank and the São Paulo Museum of Art. Its 2.8 kilometers of busy streets and skyscrapers flanked by luscious tropical vegetation made me understand why São Paulo is considered Latin America’s New York City. Among other places we explored were the Praça da Sé, Ibirapuera Park, MASP, and Libertade.
“Lights, Camera, Action”
Early the next day, we arrived at the set in Anhembi Morumbi’s Campus Centro. We were greeted by the sight of busy film crew members unloading and setting up equipment, of students and models sipping insouciantly on their cafezinhos, and of tents housing the make-up and wardrobe areas where we would get ready to promote the Vestibular Top 50. We were soon each given our respective lines and ushered to be meticulously prepped by both the makeup and costume teams to make us match the intended atmosphere of the advertisement.
Since Anhembi’s commercial would have three different versions, one with each of us featuring at the beginning in various locations around campus – ranging from sport and leisure areas to hallways – were chosen to record our segments. In my case I was required to film at a petite, quaint park located behind some classrooms. The camera crew began adjusting the lighting to fit the location, then the extras were chosen to be part of the background as we filmed.
Next we were instructed to hold the camera towards us (in order to simulate a self-recorded video) and once everything was correctly adjusted, the different takes of our videos were recorded until they were absolutely flawless. Our parts were edited in later separately to a video recorded on-campus by Marcelo Tas, a famous TV presenter in Brazil from the well-known show Custe o que custar, or CQC, with whom we had the pleasure of meeting personally after the recordings. When the filming was complete, we had a fascinating time interacting with the Laureate team in Anhembi Morumbi, filming testimonials for the Laureate Ambassador Program, and sharing our experiences in Brazil.
To be part of such an initiative was priceless for me. Not only was I able to experience the iconic Brazilian culture in full, I also got to witness the electrifying energy of the engrossing backstage work that goes into the production of advertisement. Furthermore, it enabled me to help promote internationality in Brazil. This whole trip led me to form new friendships, strengthen previous ones, and gain a better understanding of internationality.
An educational experience beyond my wildest dreams!