From the Classroom. To the City. To Matelot.

Hi! My name is Rebecca Power, and I am a sophomore majoring in accounting, minoring in Spanish, and pursuing the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics here at PittBusiness. During this upcoming spring break, I will be traveling to Matelot, Trinidad and Tobago to pursue a Global Service Learning Project with a few other CPLE students. I am incredibly excited to go on this adventure, since I have never been anywhere in the Caribbean before! Being able to explore and experience an extremely unique country is an opportunity that I will definitely treasure forever.

Traveling has always been a huge part of my life, as brothers and I were born in London, and my parents are from overseas as well. With an Australian mother and a Gibraltarian father, I have been extremely lucky to take in the world at such a cultural and diverse level. Concerning this trip to Trinidad though, I have never experienced anything like it. As my roots are tied to Europe, not much travel has occurred below the Northern Hemisphere. Visiting a country I know nearly nothing about will be an eye-opening opportunity, one that I simply cannot pass up.

After leaving London at a mere three years old to come to the United States, my family moved from state to state on an annoyingly consistent pattern of every three years. Friends came and went, houses only felt like temporary shelter, and school systems overlapped, creating chaotic academic years until about freshman year of high school.

Throughout my education prior to Pitt, I was always a straight-A student, with the hopes that if I worked hard enough in school, I could pursue whatever path I wanted to later on in life. I became involved with a few clubs and sports, however my passion stayed with horseback riding (please don’t label me as a “weird horse girl” – I promise I’m not) and softball. I was co-captain of my riding team, and we competed at both zones and nationals a handful of times. In my junior year of high school however, the pressure of competing in shows became too much, and since it was something in which I did not want to become professional, I made the extremely hard choice to quit. This decision has not stopped me from visiting my “horsey” friends and taking an odd lesson here or there, and although I do miss it, it was the best decision for myself in the long run.

Here at Pitt, I’m involved in a number of extracurriculars, including standing as student representative for Pitt Dance Marathon, a student-run organization that helps raise money for children suffering from rare illnesses at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I am also on the fundraising committee for Ice Cream Sundays, a club that brings ice cream on the weekends to kids at the Children’s Hospital as well. In addition to these activities, I have recently joined my sorority, Kappa Delta, and am also an active member in the University of Pittsburgh Accounting Association.

From a professional side, I plan on graduating with my master’s degree in accounting through a five-year program and sitting for the CPA exam thereafter. I interned this past summer at Moore Stephens International, an accounting firm in Gibraltar, and this upcoming summer, I will be participating in the Global Business Institute program in London studying international accounting issues.

As an accounting major, it probably seems a little weird to be pursuing a Global Service-Learning project based in Trinidad. How exactly do these two studies correlate? This unique opportunity, however, utilizes all knowledge gained from the classroom and applies it directly to real-world experiences. It allows for individual flourishment, professional development and civic engagement for not only myself, but for the town of Matelot as well. I personally chose to endure this project for the incredible chance to travel to an area I have never been to before and to hopefully gain an appreciation for a completely new and exciting culture. Academically, this project will certainly provide its challenges, as this opportunity entails consulting, a concept in which I have no experience. In the business world, however, it’s vital to obtain adaptability and flexibility skills, which leads me into the professional aspect of this trip. As a part of Pitt Business Student Consultants, I will additionally be hoping to gain professional transferable skills while working with an incredible group of women who care about the improvement of their own community. I will be able to listen, learn, and gain valuable information from not only my seven other teammates, but also from DORCAS Women’s group, the organization which we are working with while abroad.

Throughout the duration of this project, my team and I will be engaging with DORCAS Women’s Group, a community-based organization in Matelot that is currently striving to build an ecotourist attraction in order to improve their economy. The DORCAS Women’s Group motto is “Teach, Travel, Turn,” which highlights the group’s emphasis on the human capital and infrastructural development of Matelot as a whole. We will also be working with Amizade, a Pittsburgh-based organization that strives to build connections between communities, in order to guide the Women’s Group toward a strong development toward a sustainable ecotourism attraction. Between these two organizations, we are hoping to define opportunities for DORCAS Women’s Group, not only within their community, but throughout the island of Trinidad, as well as define any relevant tools for DORCAS Women’s group to utilize through customer service and professional interaction. In addition, scheduled site visits with KPMG , Nature Seekers, a local high school and more will provide first-hand collaborative experience with both Pitt Business Student Consultants and DORCAS Women’s Group.

With just over one month away from our trip to Trinidad, the other CPLE students and I are in full swing to complete all of our preparation before touching down in Port-of-Spain, the capital of Trinidad. Ecstatic is an understatement, and I’m beyond excited to be able to share my journey with all of you!