Business - Reflection 1:
Prior to even departing New Zealand, I realised how fortunate I really was to be embarking on this trip with YES and LATAMCAPE as I met the 7 incredible people I was about to spend the next week with. All seven of us were from different places and different backgrounds but we all had one thing in common - a passion for business. We had a few hours to spare at the airport in which we used the time to introduce ourselves. I was already amazed and inspired by my team mates and could not wait to learn from them and work beside them during the week ahead of us. Together we took on six company visits and a number of personal and group business challenges which introduced us to the world of business in Colombia. The activities, visits and challenges gave us invaluable exposure and insight into a variety of Colombian companies, introduced us to a range of business people and assisted us in developing a deeper understanding of business practice in Latin America as well as see the major differences in comparison to New Zealand business. Not only did I develop business knowledge, skills and understanding from being in Colombia, but I learnt more than I could have ever thought possible from my team mates and chaperones. My love for business was developed even further through spending a week listening to and growing beside my dynamic team mates - passionate, inspired, determined individuals my age who each happily shared their personal fresh perspective and love for enterprise and business over the 9 days we spent together.
Culture - Reflection 2:
Before setting foot in Colombia, I had no idea what to expect from the country. It is a country not a single one of my friends or family has ever travelled to, nor had anyone I discussed the trip with in the months leading up to our departure. I prepared for the trip and learnt about the countries history through watching the Netflix series, Narcos, which covered the past and Pablo Escobar, however, other than the negative stigma around drugs and danger, I knew very little about the place we were set to embark on. The first morning we stepped out of our hotel and into the daylight of Medellin, I was instantly enlightened with the city which was far beyond anything I ever expected. I was immediately infatuated with the city on day one as we experienced the local culture, cuisine and scenes. The cable car and walking tour in one of the districts opened my eyes to the way a lot of the people of Colombia live and how their city works. It was fascinating to see the differences in transport systems and learn about how Medellin had developed in recent years.
It seemed impossible that just twenty five years ago, the now beautiful landscape of Medellin, was considered one of the most dangerous cities on the planet. Every person we came across on the trip, was genuinely willing to share and contribute positively to our time in their city, through providing us with information, knowledge or simply a brief Spanish exchange in the hotel elevator. We learnt a lot about Colombian culture through our Colombian students, Miguel, Lina and Diego who provided us with the day to day slang of the Spanish language and a realistic insight into their daily lives in Medellin which we couldn’t have grasped through any other experience. The dynamic company visits also taught us a lot about the business culture and daily culture as well as the tours, markets and our time spent at EAFIT university.
Myself - Reflection 3:
I have returned home from Colombia, with new passion, determination and drive ready to start university and jump into studying international business and marketing. I have since decided I will study Spanish at university as opposed to Mandarin which I was originally intending to learn, which I am super excited about as I picked up a desire to continue to learn as I watched Lucy and her ability to communicate with everyone on the trip which was inspiring and also the Spanish classes we had at EAFIT which made me realise how interesting the language was and left me wanting more. I learnt a lot about myself and my ability to work successfully with a wide variety of people in a new place with a different culture. We did a number of personal and group challenges which pushed me out of my comfort zone and extended my knowledge about business and culture of Medellin and Colombia which I have taken interest to and am excited to continue to develop beyond this trip.