Goodbyes & Gratitude – My Third, and Final, Week in Uruguay!

It has been nearly two weeks since I boarded a plane at the Carrasco International Airport, saying goodbye to the beautiful country of Uruguay and the incredible people who made this trip one that I’ll never forget. 

First, let me share a little bit about my third and final week in Uruguay, as it was an extremely special one. On the Monday of the last week, just when I thought I couldn’t be more impressed with this country and its people, I was proven wrong: our Uruguayan hosts prepared an asado for us (a traditional South American meal with a variety of meats)! This was by far my favorite night of the entire trip. We all talked for hours while enjoying some of the most delicious meat I have ever eaten. 

In terms of school work, the last week consisted of preparing, writing, and presenting our final project. This was a group project, centered around the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet Printer Supply Chain case. Each group was tasked with innovating new ideas to solve Hewlett-Packard’s inventory crisis surrounding one of its most successful products, the DeskJet Printer. Working on a multidisciplinary team to solve this complex problem was such an incredible learning experience and extremely rewarding to present our final solution to a panel of professors. 

On the last day of class, after taking the final exam, we were treated to a farewell dinner. We said our goodbyes and expressed our gratitude while enjoying a tasty chivito (a sandwich made up of steak, ham, cheese, egg, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and more). We were also given a farewell gift, as if this phenomenal university hadn’t already done enough for us! We each received a jar of dulce de leche and a class photo, allowing us to take a little bit of this country home with us.

On the back of the class photo was the following quote: “Los momentos no son eternos, pero quedan los recuerdos que hacen eterno el momento.” 

(The moments are not eternal, but there are memories that make the moment eternal.)

I could go on forever about this trip, but I think this quote perfectly encapsulates how I feel. The memories (and over 500 photos that I took) will most definitely stay with me forever. Who knew that three weeks could go by so fast, all while making a huge impact on my life, personal and professional development included.

This type of experience inevitably leads to self reflection. One year ago, I would have never believed anyone who told me that I would be studying abroad in Uruguay during the summer of 2019. Today, I couldn’t imagine my life had I not. I have grown and learned so much in such a short amount of time as a result of the course work, the process of adapting to an unfamiliar country, and more than anything, the people I met. 

I can never thank the students and staff of the University of Montevideo enough for making this country feel like home for three weeks. They are some of the most cheerful, generous, and kind-hearted people I have ever met. They taught me about their country, shared their stories with me, and showed me what it looks like to truly welcome a bunch of strangers with open arms. 

Needless to say, I will forever be thankful for the Global Supply Networks and Manufacturing Culture in Latin America program. This experience allowed me to dive in to the study of supply chain management, develop invaluable personal and professional relationships, and form a lifelong appreciation for this tiny little South American country. 

Thanks for following along on this journey with me! 

Rachel Hannum