Panama! I’m so excited (and truthfully a little nervous) to visit, help, and hopefully learn from the Puerto Lara community! Like many of my fellow students I’ve always had an interest and passion for different cultures. I had not heard of GBB and the previous work it had done with May’s students until this year, but was immediately drawn to it once I heard about it and knew that I had to jump at the opportunity since it also lined up with my field of study. I’ve been interested in going abroad for my past two years at A&M, but each program I sought somehow conflicted with my schedule. I look at this program as a way to help this community by teaching them the basics of finance to hopefully create financial stability and higher levels of prosperity for the region. In exchange for the help and services we provide, we are able to experience a radically different and vibrant culture that will hopefully be able to give me greater perspective of the region and common issues faced on a global level!

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

It is the night before my flight, and my nerves are slowly easing up. A few days ago, I was hesitant in allowing myself to get excited. I was concerned about my winter break at home being cut short and about being without communication for an entire week. Tonight, however, I feel more secure. The anticipation feels more positive as I begin to read the details of these small businesses that we will soon be volunteering for.

Individuals such as Clarita Shiripua, who creates and sells baskets that take around 15 days to finish, already inspire me. Without having even met these locals, I can sense the hardwork and creativity that they put into their businesses; I am eager not only to help them thrive in their endeavors, but also to learn from them. This short trip promises adventure, cultural education, and memories that shall last a lifetime. Now only if I can make myself pack…

Post-Destination thoughts to come!

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

I heard about GBB when I happen to walk through the Mays Study Abroad Fair in Wehner Building. Learning about this organization and the trip made me excited and interested to apply. There are not many abroad trip opportunities available to freshmen, however GBB and its great purpose had me even more excited to apply for the program.
I have been preparing for the brigade by reading all the nessesary documents for the trip. This includes documents such as the history of Panama the Spanish cheat sheet.
I am not sure what to expect from this trip. With this trip, we are going to deeply emerged in an Panamaian village. We are going to be interacting with people with a different culture. I’m going in with an open mind to most effectively take in this opportunity. What I hope to gain from this experience is a deeper appreciation and to enjoy this opportunity to engage and collaborate with a different culture. While in Panama, we are not going to have access to phone service. I hope use this disconnection from “the world” to hep me better connect with the people and environment at hand.

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

Well, the day is almost here. Tomorrow, I will be leaving for Puerto Lara, Panama as part of the Global Business Brigade through Texas A&M.

Expectations? I can’t really say I know what to expect. We will be the first ever group to visit this community, so everything will be as new to them as it is to us. It will no doubt be an interesting and important experience for everyone involved.

I guess you can say that success is measured differently by everyone, but I am confident that our brigade will be a success. Our teams are filled with vastly different people, each of us having our own knowledge, skills, and unique abilities that we bring to the table. I believe that our diversity and experiences alone will be enough to overcome any troubles we may encounter. Couple that with our educations from a world-class university, we seemingly can’t fail.

I am anxious, nervous, excited, and prepared all at the same time. Needless to say, this brigade will be an eye-opening and valuable experience. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the Panamanian people we will encounter. And who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll see someone from Puerto Lara walking to class on the A&M campus, inspired by what we’ve accomplished.

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

My first few weeks at A&M were a rollercoaster. On top of adjusting to college life, I had also recently broken up with my long-term boyfriend. I was heartbroken and ready to really get out there and do something new. I received an email from CIBS alerting me that the deadline for winter study abroad’s was approaching in a few days. Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I had already planned on doing some sort of study abroad during my time at Texas A&M so I took a look into the upcoming trips, not really expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was an opportunity for freshmen so early in their academic career. I have already visited seven different countries with my family and thought this trip would be the perfect opportunity to discover my independence and get to help out families and businesses at the same time. I knew that with it being so close to the deadline and being an underclassman that the chance of getting accepted was slim. Fortunately a few days later I found out that I had been accepted! I am so excited (and a little nervous) to go on this adventure, meet new people, and really discover what it means to be apart of Mays Business School.

Categories: Costa Rica Business, Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

Last summer, one of my good friends went on the same trip I will depart for tomorrow. She had only good things to say about her experience upon arriving back home, and strongly encouraged me to look into going on the next trip. When the opportunity came about, I figured I would apply, even if it didn’t end up working out. Studying abroad has always been appealing to me, but thinking of spending an extended period of time on another continent definitely intimidates me. Initially, I figured that this trip to Panama would give me that little taste of visiting another country that I need to determine whether or not I’m cut out for studying abroad. But after attending the meetings and conversing with other brigaders, I’ve learned a lot more about the purpose of Global Brigades, and it’s more than just a week and a half in Panama for me now. I’m so excited to share the resources I’ve been blessed to acquire through Texas A&M to better the businesspeople of Panama. We have so many opportunities in America for growth and developing knowledge that the people of Panama do not have, and it is an amazing thing that we will be able to share with them what they might never have the chance to learn otherwise. And although we are the ones doing the teaching, I believe this will be a great learning experience as well. I know that after spending time with the community and getting a preview of their daily life, they will impact and influence me greatly.

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

It is two days before the brigade, and I am very excited. I love traveling, so when I came to Texas A&M I knew that I wanted to go abroad. I first heard about Global Business Brigades at the MSC Open House at the beginning of the school year. I ultimately decided to apply after talking to one of the FBI Peer Leaders who said she enjoyed the brigade the year before.

In order to prepare for the brigade I have been gathering items on the packing list and looking over all the documents to ensure that I will be ready when I arrive in Panama. I am excited for the opportunity to interact with members of the community in Puerto Lara. I think the trip will challenge me to get out of my comfort zone and will teach me valuable lessons about business that I could not learn in a classroom. I do not know exactly what to expect in the community since we will be the first group of business brigaders, but I am hoping that our brigade will begin to make an impact on the community. It will be my first time traveling to Panama, so I am also hoping to learn more about the culture and people of Panama on the trip. Overall I very excited for what’s in store for our group on the brigade.

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for helping others and a desire to see the world. When I got handed a flyer for GBB in Panama, I knew I had found a way to combine the two. I didn’t even stop to think about whether I should apply or not; I just did.  This will be my third country to go to, and I am excited to see the difference between the Latin American countries I have encountered. When I became a business major, I wasn’t sure I would have the opportunity to help others like I could with other degrees. But GBB is giving me the opportunity to merge my two passions and I am so thankful for an opportunity that I know will impact my life.

Categories: Panama GBB, Panama GBB Winter 2016

To start off, having grown up in a small town, your typical thing of studying in a different city was something not so common in my family. Taking that distinctive route has been difficult at first but I know all the sacrifice my family and I are making is for my future. Along with this new journey, I knew a world of opportunities would be presented that being studying abroad, traveling with programs such as this Business Brigades, or simply meeting so many people from around the world on campus.

Being a few hours before departure, brings me all types of emotions. I know I am well prepared for this Brigade and the whole idea of helping improve the lives of the Puerto Lara people is so rewarding, but my main fears at this point are simply not making it to the airport on time or getting bitten by a spider at the lodging facility. Thanks to preparation given by the Brigade leaders, I feel like this trip will give me a unique experience I wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Through this experience I hope to expand my horizon and get a new point of view of the world. My primary goal is to learn about the culture of Panamanians first hand instead of simply reading it off a book. Aside from the culture, I intend to learn from their experiences and teach them a bit of the knowledge taught to me at Mays Business School.

Categories: 2015, Panama GBB Winter 2016

I am looking forward for this trip to further develop my business skills and be able to help out Panama’s economy. While traveling to Panama I am excited to experience their culture and be able to work within a community in Panama. This will not only have an impact on Panama’s economy, but will have an impact on myself and will allow myself to have a better understanding of how to handle financial matters in the future. I cannot wait to see what this experience will bring me and my fellow friends.

When I attended the Mays open house, I came across GBB Panama’s presentation, and after seeing and listening about who and what they do, I was intrigued.  I am looking forward for this trip to further develop my business skills and be able to help out Panama’s economy. While traveling to Panama I am excited to experience their culture and be able to work within a community in Panama. This will not only have an impact on Panama’s economy, but will have an impact on myself and will allow me to have a better understanding of how to handle financial matters in the future. I cannot wait to see what this experience will bring me and my fellow friends.

Categories: Panama GBB Winter 2016