Posted by Natalia Varela Donado on
Monday, January 10, 2011
By Natalia Varela Donado. email@example.com
As the end of the Fall Quarter came, Winter break and the Holiday season started. Many of us went back to our hometowns for the first time in a while. Some locals stayed around and shared with their relatives and friends in the midst of the typical snowy weather of this time of the year.
Some of us international students had the chance to go back to our home countries: a diverse array of places around the world that enjoy different kinds of weather, holiday celebrations, traditions, and ways to share with family and friends.
In my hometown Barranquilla, Colombia, we enjoy a tropical weather all year long thanks to the proximity to the equator and its location in the northern coast of the country facing the Caribbean Sea. My city, Shakira’s hometown, was populated a few hundred years ago by immigrants that came from various places around the world, especially the Middle East countries. Therefore, our society is a very diverse one, a rich mix of people with widely varying heritage and backgrounds. Tradition and family are highly valued. Diversity and multiculturalism are highly valued as well. That’s why, “Barranquilleros” rejoice in being able to approach different cultures, either by traveling often outside the country or welcoming foreigners into their homes and city.
Chiringuito Beach. Barranquilla, Colombia.
This quality of our people has proven highly beneficial for the business and economic development of our city. Going back home, only after nine months of being away, I have acknowledged how these conditions have contributed to its growth and development.
My experience at Seattle University does not limit its enriching effects to the high academic value of the professional education I am partaking in. It goes further beyond that. Being in a different country, surrounded by such a diverse community, far away from the ways I learned and grew up with shows me that there is a different way of doing things. Regardless of the fact that as we are growing up we are taught that there are different ways, places, and different perspectives, it is never the same as we acknowledge it when we have an experience far away from home and from all things that come naturally to us.
"El Prado" Hotel. Barranquilla, Colombia. Ranked the most beautiful one in the country.
This is the great value of experiencing a diverse cultural environment for business. When we come across different places, people, and ways, we are able to develop a different view and therefore, imprint that unique and exceptional value to everything we do. For us, business people, that view enriches our performance; from the development of new products or services to the ability to relate to and understand different people and cultures, as important as it is in business nowadays.
I was able to see this in my hometown as I went back. It has impacted the development of the city, from the growth of its infrastructure to the launch of businesses across town, from restaurants and bars to business consulting firms and other services.
Nightlife. Barranquilla, Colombia.
As Winter kicks in, a new quarter begins at Albers. High expectations to continue learning and gaining experience in this path me and my fellow business students have chosen to pursue.