Spring Break ’19: Bolivia

Hi, my name is Nicholas Grimes. I am a Sophomore in Pitt Business, studying Marketing and Political Science. I hail to Pitt from New Jersey, where I’ve lived for fourteen years. I came to be at Pitt after originally falling in love with the campus and the city upon my first visit. I have enjoyed every day of it. I am also working towards the Certificate in Leadership and Ethics (CPLE). The CPLE has given me real-world experience, allowing the students to work alongside firms such as Rotary Club Pittsburgh. The lessons we can take from this program are essential in learning how to navigate the business world from a global perspective. 

While on campus I am involved with Phi Beta Lambda, one of the many student business organizations at Pitt. This past January I worked as one of the recruitment chairs for the spring semester. I also am a member of the American Marketing Association and the Business Technology association. This year I started work as an intern for Pitt Sports Marketing. I work alongside six other students with in-game promotions and a variety of other tasks. This has been a very rewarding opportunity and I look forward to continuing next year. With regard to future aspirations, I hope to start work in a marketing agency. I had the chance to shadow a social media team in New York City, where I learned a lot about both social media analytics and what it’s like to work in an agency environment. 

In March, I will be heading to Cochabamba, Bolivia with five of my Pitt classmates. We are going as a part of the Global Service-Learning Program. This program has partnered Pitt Business with nonprofit organizations in Central America and the Caribbean, making ten-year commitments. Over our Spring Break, we will be heading down to Bolivia to meet with the people at CEOLI. CEOLI is an organization that works with disabled children, both physically and mentally. They have different forms of therapy to help care for the children of Cochabamba. In recent years, they built a pool, as a form of hydrotherapy. Our contact through to Bolivia will be a Pittsburgh based nonprofit called Amizade. They work alongside a variety of other international programs to provide aid. CEOLI in recent years have experienced financial difficulties. One of their fundraising efforts has come through their greeting card sales. The children at CEOLI paint cards as an activity. Each card comes with a message about the artist. They are really amazing pieces that come with inspirational stories. 

Over the course of this semester we will be working alongside Pitt Business, Amizade, and CEOLI to develop our plan of action. I cannot wait to visit the site, as many have told me it will be a phenomenal experience. The group this year will be a part of a much larger commitment with Amizade, as we work to build upon previous years and prepare for future students. Service-learning is built on life-long skills of engagement and an experience that is rewarding for both parties. It is important that we build upon our existing experiences to 

I decided to take the Global Service-Learning course after hearing about CEOLI as a member of Phi Beta Lambda. As an organization we hold a fundraising dinner that benefits CEOLI, along with celebrating Latin American food and culture. I knew I wanted to be involved with the nonprofit as soon as I became a member. I am a member of the special team that works to plan, fund, and implement the event. Working in close proximity to CEOLI made me more interested in venturing to Bolivia. Once given the opportunity, I was excited to take part in such a great program. I have only heard great things, both with the trip and the course as well. So far the course has lived up to my expectations of difficulty of study and experience developed. 

From an academic perspective, this program will be an amazing opportunity to conduct business on a global level. Much of the business conducted today is on global scale. It is important to have a fundamental understanding of different cultures. There are different channels of communication, along with different concepts of business styles. By navigating the different obstacles that come with global business etiquette, we will gain valuable insight on both the nonprofit and global business worlds. 

Professionally, this Spring Break study abroad experience will be an important foundation towards my career goals. I have always been interested in working internationally. My father’s family all live in England, and I have always enjoyed traveling. After this semester, I plan on continuing to study abroad the Spring of my Junior year. I have been interested in Global Business Institute in London. Although the two experiences are very different, my first study abroad experience will provide valuable insight to how to succeed in this environment. Hopefully, I can use the knowledge and skills gained from this experience to better develop myself as a businessperson for the future.

This program was interesting to me personally, as I had the chance to conduct a mission trip in Tijuana, Mexico in high school. My mother, younger brother and I traveled with a group from our church in New Jersey. We had the chance to build a home for a family in need. Although we only were there for one week, we were able to see our work come to fruition. This experience left a lasting impact on me, and I have been interested in the nonprofit sector ever since. I enjoy making a real difference in the community and abroad. CEOLI has an amazing purpose and strives to make an impact for disabled children in Cochabamba. Making a connection with the children in Bolivia will be an experience I will never forget. In addition, I also have the chance to experience this program alongside some of my friends from Phi Beta Lambda. As we have grown closer over the past year, I am excited to share our experience alongside one another.