Pre Departure Thoughts

Hello to all! I am Bradford Distler, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying supply chain management and business information systems. The Global Business Institute: Buenos Aires program will allow me to learn a great deal; I plan on being a sponge and taking in as much as I can. Living with a Spanish speaking family will put my language skills to the test; I hope to become fluent in Spanish by the close of the semester. In addition, I am excited to learn about how the corporate world operates in Latin America; the internship opportunity will give me hands on experience in an Argentinean workplace. Lastly, I want to learn about the culture; I plan to interact with as many locals as possible and pick their brains. Argentina is known to have many people that are kind and welcoming; I will not hesitate to integrate into my environment.

In terms of location, I couldn’t ask for a better city to be a student. Buenos Aires is a hub for manufacturing and distribution in Latin America and a great location to learn about supply chain management. For instance, Buenos Aries holds Argentina’s largest port and receives shipments from all parts of the world. In addition, Buenos Aires contains half of the manufacturing labor force in Argentina and a third of the industrial capacity. As an aspiring supply chain professional, a global competence is crucial. In fact, this summer I interned as a global logistics analyst and worked on projects with manufacturing facilities in Mexico and Argentina. I plan to take “Managing Global Supply Chains” at Austral University; learning from a professor in the supply chain core of Latin America will be an invaluable experience. In addition, studying at a university in Buenos Aires will allow me to connect with students from around the world; experiencing student life among individuals with different backgrounds will augment my academic experience.

One of the best things about studying abroad in Argentina is that it will be challenging. This program gives me the chance the throw myself into the “deep end”. For instance, I’ll be traveling to Patagonia during January and February prior to the start of the semester. I will be going as a solo traveler; I need to navigate through a foreign country for an extended period of time with no guidance. The trip to Patagonia with bring obvious challenges such as the physical demand of hiking and camping, but also social obstacles. When staying in hostels, I will have the chance to meet people from around the world, but it requires me to step out of my shell and be outgoing. Another challenge that I will face is the change in corporate culture during the internship. Although I have an established experience in the business world, there will be differences that I have to adapt to. Not only is the language different, but management style and client relationships could have a different flavor than what I am used to. However, challenging situations are the ones that you learn the most from; I will turn every difficult circumstance I am faced with into an opportunity to better myself.

I can’t wait for my journey to begin! I fly down to Buenos Aires 6 weeks before the start of the program to explore the vast region of Patagonia! ¡Adiós!