International Walmart Employees from South America, Europe and Asia flew into the Northwest Arkansas Airport Sunday.
“We are a little tired, but when we arrived here…we start to cheer and sing our songs, and then everybody is happy and excited to attend this meeting,” Brazilian associate Gustavo Braatz said.
He was one of 60 associates to fly from Brazil early Sunday morning. Shareholders from Brazil and Chile flew most of the ten hours together.
Chilean associate Maria Maldonado said the plane ride was entertaining.
“We were here in the front and Brazil was in the back…we started chanting Chile and then they would say Brazil, and it was like a competition,” Maldonado said.
Walmart officials said they expect over 15,000 associates to come into Northwest Arkansas between Sunday and Monday.
“The most beautiful thing here is that it doesn’t matter the country where you are from… it’s the Walmart culture, and everybody knows the Walmart culture, and everybody knows the reason that we are here,” Braatz said
Banesa Morquera is a lawyer for Walmart in Argentina. She said she is excited to start meeting people from other countries.
“We want to know about different cultures and different people from Walmart and share about our experiences with Walmart,” Morquera said.
After every country landed at XNA, they stopped in the lobby and sang the Walmart song and chanted in their native language.
“It represents our union, and that everybody is here for the same purpose, to have fun and learn about or learn more about our company,” Braatz said.
The Walmart shareholders and associates stay at the University of Arkansas in the dorms. All of the events and meals take place on campus, with the biggest event being the 7 a.m. Friday shareholders meeting at Bud Walton Arena.