Over the winter break, I had the opportunity to explore three different countries: Colombia, Costa Rica, and Scotland. I went to Colombia for a wedding, Costa Rica for a Doing Business In (DBi) class, and Scotland for a Stern Signature project. Although packing for three different climates was a challenge (imagine boots, flip flops, sunglasses and thermals in one checked bag) I would not trade the experiences I gained from each trip for anything.
My break began with me meeting up with classmates in Colombia. We flew to the country to celebrate the wedding of a classmate who I met during the Consortium’s orientation program. I always knew that the most valuable part of business school was the relationships you built but this trip solidified that fact. We spent a week laughing together, partying together, and crying tears of pure joy as we watched our friend marry his best friend. The trip was amazing and it made me realize how I lucky I was to find such a strong community Stern.
After leaving Colombia I flew to Costa Rica for a DBi class. The class, which focused on sustainable development, took place at the INCAE Business School. We had the opportunity to learn more about the rice and coffee industries through case studies and site visits. We also learned more about the tourism industry and the tough questions that come along with it. Overall, the trip was a great learning experience and a fun way to build new relationships with classmates outside of my social circle.
My last trip was to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. I went there for a Stern Signature Project, which is a program that pairs students with companies or organizations to help solve a problem. The company my team was assigned to work with was the Carloway Mill, one of the last three mills that produces Harris Tweed. My team was able to explore the island to see where the inspiration for the designs came from while interviewing key stakeholders. The town we stayed in had a population of 500, so it was completely different from our NYC experience. It was nice to be able to immerse ourselves in the culture so that we could have a better understanding of the mindset of the weavers and producers. The knowledge we took away from the trip was much more than we could have ever gained from a case study. We left excited about the relationships we had built and the ideas we had generated.
My classmates and I returned to classes and the halls were full of students exchanging stories about their Winter travels. Although I feel like I accomplished a lot during my 30-day winter break, my journey pales in comparison to the journeys of my classmates. It’s so exciting to hear about the diverse experiences and to see all the exciting things that everyone is working on. It’s clear that no one was truly “breaking” this winter.