Friday, June 9, 2017

Portugal International Learning 2017

Thank you for following our blog for the Portugal International Learning 2017 experience.  As you can see from our blog posts each day, we have filled up our time with educational and cultural experiences.  In between, there great conversation, much fun and laughter, and adventures in travel.  I am always amazed how much we are changed by international travel experiences.  We leave today with our minds and hearts changed from the experiences that we have gained over the past seven days.  

We have to also thank our followers for sharing your loved ones with us for the past week.  Not only have they have represented your family and circle of friends well, but they have been excellent representatives of the University of Louisville and the United States.  It has been a pleasure traveling together!

Dr. Margaret Pentecost and Dr. Ann Herd

We Say Goodbye to Portugal

Well it's the last day of the conference and after late night at the gala Thursday night the peaceful breakfast hall was bustling with a huge group of new hotel guests. This is a day that calls for an extra coffee and pastry. Boy o boy, will I miss these breakfasts!


The last day of the conference closes with some discussion of how Portugal views itself and its HRD challenges. One of my favorite parts of this trip has been getting to know the local people and it was really interesting to get some insight on how they see themselves within the workplace.


After a quick nap, it's time to get back out and walk the Avenue Liberdade. I love this grand boulevard filled with statues and shaded by palm trees. 



Portugal is a nation strongly connected to its Roman Catholic roots and it seems like a church is around almost every corner. Regardless of your faith it's worth going inside because behind the simplest of facades can be astounding beauty, this is the Church of St Anthony from the early 17th century.

You would hardly notice it in a city filled with beautiful architecture.


But go inside and look up!



On our way back from my staff ride at the Castle of St George we passed a lovely little cafe that I thought I would never find again. Well low and behold while walking around doing some shopping I recognized the stairs we came down and after about 5 flights up it was right there.


 A cozy little spot for a break from the heat. 

 This was a day when we all got to go out and explore, I like to walk around take it all in while others did some sight seeing and grabbed some snacks.


Time for me to take a coffee and to head back to the hotel for dinner but the sound of music and the smell of roasting meat distracted me. The festival of St. Anthony is next week and the celebrations are already starting. So perhaps a late lunch is in order.


Time flies and time to start the painful process of packing for home. At least I know that I have found a new country to explore further. The Portuguese people have opened my eyes to a new culture that is warm and welcoming with a vibrant history that is alive in everyday life. 

Chao and Obrigado my ride to the airport is here.

Charles Ames

Photo Gallery

Thursday - Conference Day

The day started with a comfortable temperature and blue skies. We, the students attending the first full day of the UFHRD conference in Lisbon, would not be dissuaded by the beautiful climate. We were fortunate that the morning commute to the university was uneventful. It was the first time this trip that we knew where we were going and we accomplished the transit like seasoned veterans of the Lisbon public transit system. With all of staff rides completed, we could focus on the attending the sessions provided by the researchers that worked diligently on their areas of research.

The morning keynote speech was presented by Dr. Gary McClean. He is one of the founders of the UFHRD conferences and is recognized by many of the attendees. His discussion was based on the importance of indigenous study in relation to overall ethnocentric hypotheses. We dispersed to the various sessions after the completion of the keynote speech.

My primary focus for the early morning sessions was studies entailing the organizational learning in small and medium enterprises. I sat in session with Sarah as we explored studies comparing organizational learning from companies in the U.K and Thailand.

Sadness pierced my heart as one of the sessions I looked forward to attending was conducted earlier than scheduled. Some stories, though, can have silver linings! I was able to meet with Dr. Daria Sarti from the University of Florence, Italy, during the mid-morning coffee break. An opportunity that would not had risen if I had attended my planned session. In classic Italian-style, we discussed her study (presented yesterday) of the relationship of workforce engagement and the role of seniority over an espresso. Unfortunately, in un-classic Italian-style, I had cut the conversation short to attend another session. How sad…

The next session I attended is near and dear to my heart, Expatriates in Hostile Environments. Leigh and I attended this session and the conceptual presentation related the stress in hostile environments to an expatriate’s responsive actions.

Some of the interesting topics the others found interesting were: Cathy: Affirmative Inquiry. Eric: positive psychology applied to conflict management. Alison: the comparison of coaching between the U.S. and Asian countries. Sarah: Graduate schools that include curriculums of first year networking vice immediate traditional studies. Charles: Moving the thought process from finding solutions to problems to finding the root causes while considering the cultural impact.

After the final sessions, it was time to attend the gala but we had just enough time to take a picture before the bus arrived. We found ourselves nearly in the same place that we started our Lisbon adventure, the Padrao dos Descombrimentos. Now the circle was complete.

At the gala, several awards and acknowledgments were given for the hard work in research. We met with the coordinator of the conference, Eduardo and presented him a gift from UofL. The event ended with a Portuguese fada, a significant genre to the Portuguese.

From beginning to end, this day of events included many cultural interactions between ourselves and the many international representatives presenting years upon years of research. Our Portuguese hosts, and their incredible hospitality, have truly created an environment where different cultures interact and share their hard work.