*We had no cell service for a large portion of our trip, so I’m uploading all of these in chronological order from the US now that we’re back home! They’re all dated by the day they happened.*
We just arrived in Quito, and oh boy is this a beautiful city unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s low and wide. Buildings and lights stretch on forever beyond hills and mountains in the distance. Coming from a town outside of New York City, this hardly looks like a “city” to me upon first glance. It’s a really extended, lighted suburb. But maybe “city” looks different for every country.
Just like my “city” realization that I had flying into Quito at night, I’m sure I’ll be having many, *many* more realizations as we progress through this country and trip. My main goal in all of them is to keep an open mind. I didn’t have much exposure to unique perspectives, backgrounds, places, etc… until I came to Pitt. I’m expecting my two weeks in Ecuador to be similar to Orientation Week, but at light speed and with one hundred times the new-ness.
Professionally, I want to learn more about business. We’re going to learn more about the supply chains of chocolate and roses, so that’s going to be in the forefront of my mind the whole time. However, I want to examine more human aspects of business while there- what are workplace dynamics like? Do families work together? What is the proportion of women working in the places we’ll visit? I want to document how different the typical workday is of an American working in a business setting versus an Ecuadorian business-person.
Personally, I want to expand my perspective of the world. That sounds incredibly typical of any study abroad goal, but I want to stretch my perceptions well beyond what I’m even anticipating while writing this. I want to smell and see and hear and feel everything in Ecuador to get a sense of what the culture and country really is. I have many subconscious preconceived notions about foreign countries based on my own background, home town, and upbringing, and I’d like to shatter them so I can rebuild something with a more accurate depiction of how people outside of Oakland, the Northeast, or the United States live.
I plan to do all of these things by trying to adopt the customs, language, and culture of the country, wearing it like a suit over my very thick American “suit”. I hope that, by the end of this trip, Ecuador will have soaked into my memory and perception forever, leaving permanent imprints on the way I see the world and business.
Talk to you soon!