Grad student knows the rewards of studying abroad at WMU

Contact: Janine Adamski

KALAMAZOO, Mich.— For Francisco Viana de Sousa Santos, studying abroad is nothing new. Santos came to Western Michigan University from Lisbon, Portugal, during his undergraduate degree after experiencing life in the United States during a high school exchange program. Now, Santos is back at WMU to continue his networking and pursual of finance in his graduate studies at the Haworth College of Business. He has a passion for economic growth and societal change that pushes him to excel in his work.

In his first year of the Master of Science in finance program, Santos has found a world of possibilities at WMU Haworth. Having completed his undergraduate degree at the Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Santos says he wanted to take the rewarding risk of studying abroad in the U.S. 

“I chose WMU because I fell in love with it during my undergraduate exchange semester here in the fall of 2023. My experience has been amazing, and I truly understand the differences here in terms of opportunities. I really appreciate that WMU constantly hosts career fairs, allowing students to get the chance to meet and network locally. Investing in such things is just as important as doing well in your courses, so I am thankful that WMU has been providing me with a lot of technical skills in my area of study and the ability to practice my skills outside of finance as well,” he says.
Francisco Santos in a grey suit with a blue stripped tie

Since Santos began his graduate degree at WMU Haworth, the intricacies of his chosen field are starting to come together and form a solid, coherent skill set that he can use throughout his future career in finance.

“I am starting to understand how what we learn in the classroom can be applied to the real world. I can see myself applying the knowledge and skills gained from this finance program in various sectors of my future career. Ultimately, my goal is to apply the program to a workplace that not only aligns with my passion for finance, but also allows me to make a meaningful impact in the business world and beyond. WMU is doing a great job of preparing me for this,” he says.

While Santos is somewhat of an expert in living abroad, he says the experience is not without its challenges. However, the faculty and staff at Western have been there to support him throughout his endeavors.

“I’m thankful for Yumi Takahashi-Ede and Amyre Dennis for helping me in the early stages of my adventure here. I don’t think I would have been able to deal with all the requirements to study abroad without them. I would also like to acknowledge Paulo Zagalo-Melo and Nancy Bjorklund. They are always willing to lend a hand when I need guidance and have been influential during my time at WMU.”

With the goal of graduating in the summer of 2024, Santos is awaiting the finance world ahead of him with anticipation.

“As I approach the end of my studies, I understand that I need to put these degrees to use in order to succeed,” he says. “I intend to chase my career goals, which is equally as important as obtaining this degree. I am really thankful that WMU has been providing me with a lot of technical skills in my area of study to support me long after my graduation.” 

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.