Over the seven days we spent in Chile, I have learned more about myself than I ever thought I would. Being around like-minded people has been such an eye-opening and incredible journey and one that I will never forget. For as long as I can remember business and traveling have been a dream of mine, but I have always struggled with self-doubt and the fear that my dreams might be too big to achieve. However, on this trip to Chile I med and gained knowledge from so many passionate people who faced their own hardships and never gave up, showing me that anything you put your mind to is possible.
Once back from Chile I realised how much I had grown as a person. My mindset had completely changed and I was so motivated by everything and everyone around me. My passion had come alive. If I could take one thing away from the trip it would be how I was truly able to be myself, and the happiness it brought me being around others who share the same passion. I’ve always found in school, that there are people who want to bring you down if they see you excel and so I would restrict my abilitiesm, and be more lowkey with how I would go about things, but on this trip there was no judgment, no haters, and everyone was there for the same reason, allowing me to learn and get as much out of the experience as possible while making lifelong friends and relationships. Thanks to Latin America CAPE and YES I have come away believing in myself with a reignited passion and drive to achieve my dreams because anything is possible.
Thanks to Latin America CAPE and YES, seven amazing students and myself were given the opportunity to visit 11 incredible businesses, who were able to share their experiences and knowledge of entrepreneurship with us. One business that really resonated with me was the Winebox Hotel in Valparaiso. Grant the owner shared the many hardships he faced over the process of building the hotel, to which was able to say, “stuff it” and continue his journey, despite how many people tried to bring him down or stop the process. Grant is kiwi and hearing his passionate story hit home and made me realise if one kiwi can do it what's stopping another, motivating me to strive for excellence and to never give up. It was incredible to see how small businesses had grown from the ground up in such a small amount of time, allowing me to believe business overseas was possible which was never a big thought before the trip. The biggest thing I would take away from the business visits is that passion and drive are they key factors to getting you anywhere in life. If you don't love what you do or surround yourself with others of the same mindset, you won't be successful because there will always be an aspect that will bring you down.
Having the experience to visit another country is one that I will never forget. Being able to see the difference in culture and language was so inspiring and eye opening and made me want to learn as much as possible in a small amount of time. During the walking tours it was amazing to hear how the Chileans were treated back in the day by the government. It really makes you appreciate home life. One thing that really struck me was that the government deliberately took away a lot of food for 1000 days to cause havoc and chaos in the city, paying trucks to not bring in food and making stores owners put up signs saying they had no food, causing Chileans to wait in line for 4-5 hours a day just to retrieve bread.
Another thing that stood out was art culture that runs throughout the country. In Valparaiso, nearly every market stall we walked past was selling some sort of art, and all of the houses were so vibrant with colour. The streets and alley ways were covered in amazingly colourful graffiti. It really reflected for me what type of country Chile was, a welcoming, passionate, fun place. Another thing that stood out was how every Chilean was doing anything they could to earn some extra cash. Whether it be standing at their market stall all day every day or late into the night, street acrobatics, busking, art stalls and the like, really exhibit how talented Chile is as a country.