Overall, experiencing the International Marketing in Ecuador program was an enormous growth opportunity for me. I was able to experience an entirely different country and language guided by caring chaperones and kind, generous natives.
Personally, I had to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. In Quito, it was hard to be surrounded by a language and customs I didn’t understand. Once we moved to the field house outside of Tena, it was hard to be surrounded by humidity and bugs. It was important, though, to take a moment to recognize the discomfort, accept it, and choose to move on and enjoy the trip. It was a trip where people had to “pick their attitude” frequently and it was clear who picked to be happy and have a good time and who picked to be negative and miserable throughout the experience. The ability to “pick my attitude” is one that will serve me well throughout the rest of my life. There will always be situations that are uncomfortable or challenging, but it’s how you act and what you choose to get out of it that will always matter. This will be true in both my personal and professional life.
Academically, this trip was a bit of a surprise to me. As a Pitt Business student, I chose to take this trip to learn about international marketing by experiencing first-hand the chocolate production by native people. There is also an environmental science aspect of the trip that is offered to students of that major. I was very surprised by the allocation of time spent on each subject. I would estimate that about 80% of the time was environment and ecology focused while a mere 20%, if that, was spent on marketing. Thankfully, I am always eager to learn more about any subject and appreciated to opportunity to explore a field other than my own. However, it was a little bit disappointing because I was really looking forward to learning about the marketing here. I wish the academic aspect of it had been more clearly explained so that I was not as surprised by it.
I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip and explore a new region of the world. I am brining back an abundance of knowledge about the plants and animals that reside in Ecuador, especially those in the rainforest. This trip is one that I will never forget, and I will forever carry the lessons I learned with me through my personal and professional life.