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Jan 16, 2018

Hard to Believe its Over | Rebecca Collier | Student Blog

Travelling to Brazil was 41 hours in the air, 25 hours in transit, 14 new friends, 8 days away, 3 new countries and an experience that I will never forget.

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We always hear about trips that change people’s lives but never expect them to happen to ourselves. Brazil was that trip for me. It's hard to think that such a life-changing trip could be generously provided to a year 12 student. It's really amazing to think that Latin America CAPES offers these experiences to learn about a new country and their way of business to such young people. It really changed my perspective on Brazil and how entrepreneurship is changing. I come from such a small part of a small country and it is was quite surreal to think that there are huge business empires are out there make an impact on the world. This trip inspired me to dream big and believe in the possibilities of success with hard work.


I was selected for this trip because I wanted to bring knowledge back to my home and grow our struggling economy. And in this trip, I learned that business in Brazil and Gisborne are very similar. Both have seen their fair share of struggles in their journey to success. But the passion to make a difference is what drives Brazilian business to make a difference, something that is sometimes lacking in New Zealand. It inspires them to create innovative goods and services to change the world. Brazil has so many wonderful things, from the food and culture to their people. One of the things I learned is that it is the people behind the businesses in Brazil are what make them so successful. They are hardworking and friendly, giving anything to help someone else. What I found interesting about Brazilian businesses is that they don’t always see the beauty that their country has to other. From a foreigner’s perspective, they have amazing ideas and people backing them but need to showcase the positives more in the day to day life because the steps that they are taking in business are monumental in their fight to create change. I think it is interesting that both New Zealand and Brazil are relatively young countries and that our businesses are not currently making a legacy but instead, they are changing the future, through our ideas. One of the social businesses empowering those young and old to make difference in their communities is 4YOU2. I really thought this was a selfless business whose priorities helped those in need. Other businesses such as AD instruments are extending themselves and the New Zealand brand overseas, which is really positive to see.


One of the most important things I learned while away in Sao Paulo was that for an entrepreneur to succeed they must fall in love with the reason for their product, not the object itself. This is because when we create a product, many things can go wrong, sometimes causing us to lose faith in our ideas and self. This is where a lot of entrepreneurs fail in my opinion because they can lose sight of the reason for creating change. But if we are passionate enough and believe in our reason then no obstacle is too great. Entrepreneurship is about finding your passion and creating a product to help solve an issue. It is also about dealing with adversity and finding a way to succeed. Success is never easy; the road is long and tiring. But the rewards are not only to the entrepreneur but also their community. I also learned that entrepreneurship is also about working with your team in a collaborative environment. Every business that we visited had a hard-working team behind them. Each team member was focused on achieving a common and individual goal, which was inspiring to see.     


The trip to Sao Paulo was incredible, but it did not occur to me until I was on the plane back to Gisborne, what I had learned about myself. After sitting in silence for half an hour the passenger next to me asked about my travel. Little did I know that he was a very spiritual person who somehow understood my trip on more of a deeper level. It was through his knowledge and at times random babble that I realised the opportunity to travel to Brazil, to learn about entrepreneurship doesn't happen to everyone. That I would be selfish if I were to hoard my knowledge and experiences from others. I also realised what I want in my future career, I want to be leading the way in business and innovation, creating products to solve problems and issues that the world is facing. Realising that I am passionate about exploring new countries and cultures, trying new things everywhere I go. I also realised that my home and Sao Paulo share similar struggles. Both have high rates of poverty and unemployment, but also beauty, culture and incredible people who want to make a difference. That is what inspires me to make change. I learned to have courage in myself because that is the only way I will be able to produce the best I can. Also learning that you can say thank you Portuguese wrong in so many ways but if you keep persisting you can even get an award for it. But mostly I learned that I will be forever changed by the businesses, culture, and people who I meet over in Brazil they changed the way I look at life.