I could sit in a class for a year straight, and only learn a fraction of what I experienced in Chile. The truth is, there is nothing that compares to the presentations and conversations which I was lucky enough to take part in. I was so excited to go on a trip to learn about international business and new languages and cultures, and needless to say, it did not disappoint. Visiting some of the most innovative companies of Chile, sightseeing around Santiago and Valparaíso, and meeting four incredible Chilean students, were just some of the highlights.
Two of my favourite business visits would have to have been NotCo and Rappi. They were both excellent examples of how technology and innovation can go hand in hand to solve a problem in today’s society. Learning about their business models and plans for expansion was incredibly fascinating and taught me entrepreneurial skills unlike anything I could learn in a business class.
Visiting Valparaíso was possibly one of the most awesome activities we did. The beautiful colours of the city and the various works of street art throughout the streets made for some incredible photo opportunities and a stunning outlook for the day. Another huge highlight for here was Winebox Valparaíso, and learning about the advantages and challenges of being a kiwi running a new business in a foreign country.
Spanish language lessons were also one of my favourite activities over the week. It was so awesome to be able to pick up so much in so little time, learning in a practical setting unlike anything possible in a New Zealand classroom. From this experience I will undoubtably continue learning Spanish in the future and hopefully one day return to Chile as a fluent Spanish speaker.
Finally, undeniably the best thing to have come out of this trip has been the four Chilean friends I now have. To have four students our age who we were able to relate to, who were able to teach us the local language and culture, as well as just become awesome, hopefully life-long friends, absolutely made the trip! We are already planning a reunion for them to come to New Zealand to see us!
Overall, this trip has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I honestly didn’t even realise just how much I’d learnt until putting it all into action during the business challenge aspect of the trip. I’d like to wholeheartedly thank Young Enterprise and the Latin America Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence for allowing me this opportunity, and to have these once-in-a-lifetime experiences. This trip has not only changed my perception of Chilean culture and the Latin American business market, but it has also had a huge impact on where my life will take me, into university and beyond. ¡Gracias y hasta la próxima, Chile!