Bittersweet is the only way to describe it. While I’m excited to see my friends, speak English, and sleep in my own bed, I still sorely miss Colombia and my Conexia family.
As I reflect on my experience there are 3 key things that stand out:
Colombians are an incredibly humble, welcoming, and generous group. In fact, I would say they are the nicest people I have ever met. Colombians seem to be very proud of their country and are excited to show you around, converse with you, and befriend you. I will miss their happy and smiling faces full of energy and excitement. They truly made my experience.
Along with getting to know the people, being integrated into Bogota society was a rewarding experience. I had to use my Spanish, eat different foods, and operate at a different pace. My Spanish greatly improved and now I think I will continue to take lessons in hopes of becoming fluent. Family was extremely important in Colombia and took priority over anything else. I became adjusted to a different schedule and pace of life. Lunches were 2 hours long and dinner didn’t start until 9pm. This took some getting used to, but I adapted. As I reflect on this lifestyle, it really makes me appreciate the cultural differences.
International Work Experience
This was my second time working abroad, but it was still a very unique experience. When traveling and vacationing in another country you can began to immerse yourself culturally, but working abroad is a far more engaging experience that helps you truly understand the intricacies of a country. In Colombia, business seems to be more about relationships and the pace is slightly slower. This is refreshing coming from the USA, where business seems to be more transactional and money focused and the pace is often rushed and frantic. As I reflect on Conexia, the work environment reminds me more of a family than a business and I really came to love doing business this way!
Although I really miss Colombia already, luckily I am surrounded by many amazing Sloanies to help ease pain. Colombia and Conexia thank you for everything; I will be back soon!
To future Sloanies: This has been the best trip of my life and I highly encourage you to do G-Lab!