Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences on the Brazil Travel Course. Our entry for Friday, 1/20 comes from Kim Bowman.
On our last morning in San Paulo, we woke before sunrise to board a bus for our drive to Rio de Janeiro and a corporate visit at BASF. After a 3-hour drive, we arrived at the BASF facility in Guaratingueta, which was approximately half way between Sao Paulo and Rio. BASF, a chemical company headquartered in Germany, produces chemicals used in 8,000 different products ranging from bio-diesel, paints, textiles, paper, plastics, and agricultural products. Willi Ness, Vice President of BASF, spoke to us about the company and its operations in South America. The presentation emphasized the company’s focus on innovation driven by sustainability. The future strategy for BASF identified “megatrends” in the macro-environment, and how chemistry could be used as an enabler for materials and solutions.
After the presentation, we hopped back in the bus for a tour of the expansive facility. It is the largest of its kind in South America. Once our visit was over, we were back on our journey to Rio, driving through beautiful green land with rolling hills in the background. When we finally reached Rio after another 4 to 5 hours of driving, the scenery suddenly changed.
Rio was different than Sao Paulo and the rest of Brazil. Seeing the beach for the first time was very exciting, and when we stopped at our hotel right in front of Leblon Beach, we all knew Rio was going to be a memorable part of our trip.