Leading up to the trip I was super nervous about being exposed to a new country with people I didn’t know too well. My expectations of the first day where I met everyone in the airport was nowhere near reality. I found out that the students and chaperones were super awesome, and they made the trip so much fun and enjoyable.
I knew almost nothing about Colombia’s culture, business and lifestyle before going there. I watched a couple of documentaries about the history, but that probably wasn’t the brightest thing to do, because I got scared and had second thoughts about going to Colombia. As soon as we stepped foot on Medellin ground, I knew that this place was developing and prospering as a country. The people of Colombia were super friendly, and it was cool how you could just start a conversation with people on the streets. Medellin is located in a giant valley with many bricked buildings. The view from any place is amazing and commuting to far places feels like it takes 2 seconds because you are astonished by the view.
It was interesting to learn that Medellin is one of the most innovative cities on the planet. I love how cable cars are used every day to commute to places, and it was normal for the locals to use it as a source of transport. Here in New Zealand it is a tourist attraction in Rotorua. With the cable cars, you are able to see the beautiful city and it makes it so fun to live in Medellin because of the incredible view.
The business realm in Colombia is very interesting, the country is built around innovation and relationships. It was so interesting learning about different businesses in Colombia and the business called “Mani Bros”. Mani Bros is a New Zealand business that is set up in Colombia. Learning about the owners’ story about their journey of setting up in Colombia enabled me to feel confident about wanting to set up a business in Colombia or any Latin American country.
Throughout the trip I developed and picked up several key skills that will help me out in the business environment. My culture awareness and inclusion skills has definitely improved as I had to include and socialize with the local people of Colombia. I know that that this will definitely help me back home because in Auckland it is such a diverse place and many business environments requires you to work in teams.
By the end of the trip, I learned so much about Colombia and I feel really confident about moving or setting up a business in the country. Not only that, this wonderful experience has helped me learn and develop important skills that will help me succeed in the real world.
I miss the people, culture, food and good vibes. These awesome things make me want to go back to Colombia but for longer than 9 days.
See you soon Colombia!