Over spring break I had the opportunity to go on a study abroad to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic. This trip was a mixture of business visits and service projects. We were able to sit down with different business owners and talk about what international business and logistics look like. The first business we visited was a coffee shop called CalCali. This is a very successful, completely family-owned coffee shop in Santiago. CalCali is known for using fresh macadamia milk instead of creamer, and the macadamia nuts are grown on the family farm. In fact, every part of the business is completely run by the owner and his family, thus giving them a competitive advantage over other local coffee shops. The second business that we visited was an exporting company. This was also a family-run business. It was very cool to see the importance of family in the Dominican culture. Family is strongly valued, and people are willing to take time out of their day to just sit and talk with you. We had the opportunity to sit down with many people in the local village, and we thus got to experience the hospitality of the Dominican culture up close. We also did multiple service projects while abroad, such as painting a woman’s house and running a baseball camp for 50 local kids. Overall, I learned the importance of community and the importance of seeing and interacting with other cultures.

Categories: Dominican Republic

Over spring break thirteen Christian Business Leaders took a trip to the Dominican Republic. We got to partner with Mission of Hope to partake in various service projects and business visits. All thirteen of us learned so much about the culture of the country. This post will be a reflection of the trip.

We got to visit two businesses during our trip. The goal of these visits was to learn about how business runs in another country. We are all business majors, so we were able to gain a new perspective on business. The first business visit was to a coffee shop called CalCali. We got to enjoy some coffee and hear from the owner of the business. She explained CalCali’s competitive advantage of having control of the whole coffee-making process. She grows the coffee she sells in her business. The biggest takeaway I had from this meeting was her passion for coffee. Her passion inspired me to find a career I can have the same passion for. The second business was a supply chain business that grows and sells exotic vegetables. We got to hear about the unique opportunity the owners found. The biggest takeaway from this business visit was how important family was to the owners. The owners of the business are all siblings. Every single day they stop working to eat lunch with their parents. They run a successful business, but always find time for family.

This trip also gave us an opportunity to interact with the local community. We partnered with Mission of Hope to put on a sports camp for the local kids. We got to play baseball with fifty local kids aged 8-18. This was a cool opportunity to learn more about the culture and have fun serving the community. These kids had so much joy. These kids were also so talented. Throughout the week we got more opportunities to talk with the local community. The people of the Dominican Republic were so welcoming to us, always inviting us into their homes.

Overall this trip was extremely impactful as it allowed me to grow in my understanding of international cultures.

Categories: Dominican Republic

During my time in Panama, I had the opportunity to visit several large companies in Panama City. I was able to see how the business industry works first hand. I am so thankful for this opportunity because I was able to see a new perspective and new way of how things can work, listening to new ideas and seeing this ways implemented. During this trip we visited several small companies where we were able to hear our clientes talk about their business and ways that we could help them. We were able to help them with their accounting, inventory, budgeting, and overall basic business to help with their business. For example, we created accounting tables to help manage their inventory and income, designed a logo and business cards, created a personalized savings plans, a contract, and tables to help our clients keep track of their clients. On our final day when we presented our deliverables it was so satisfying and heart warming to see their reactions to our ideas to help better their business for the future. I hope to be able to see them again one day and to see how much their business has thrived.

Categories: Panama

My experience on the Panama Global Business Brigade is one that I will never forget. The first weekend in Panama City exploring the city and learning the history was in incredible start. Upon first arrival, I was shocked to see the sheer size of Panama City and all it has to offer. One of the most important aspects was the amazing bonding everyone on the trip was able to have before our brigade started.

The brigade itself provided invaluable growth from a business and a personal sense. The challenges our business partners faced put everything back home into perspective and gave us exciting challenges to try to solve. I value the work we did but most of all the opportunity to build relationships with the business owners. Everyone in the communities were extremely welcoming and appreciative, and this made of our experience far more enhanced.

The work we did never felt arduous as everybody involved had genuine care for the best outcome for our clients. There was a collectively spirited effort that made the process extraordinary.


Categories: Panama

Howdy! My name is Karli Siptak, and I’m a freshman business honors major. This spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Panama with my peers through the Global Business Brigades program. Through the Global Business Brigades, we were tasked with consulting with micro entrepreneurs in Panama. We made signs, logos, flyers, business cards, and recordkeeping documents for our clients.

Our trip to Panama during spring break provided me with experiences that I will never forget. I was not only given the opportunity to build new friendships with my peers, but I was able to learn so much about life outside of the United States. We visited businesses in Panama City and spent a lot of time visiting with micro entrepreneurs in the rural part of Panama. The opportunity to see the contrast of the way of life in these two areas was eye opening. My favorite part of the trip was having the opportunity to hear about the micro entrepreneurs’ lives beyond their businesses . Overall, my key takeaway from this trip is that even by doing the smallest things for someone, you can make a lasting impact in their life. Being able to see how grateful the business owners were for the work that we did for them was so fulfilling, and I am so thankful that I decided to participate in the Global Business Brigades.

Categories: Panama

This was my second time traveling to Panama with Global Brigades and I had an amazing experience once again. First, our trip began with three days in Panama City. Our first company visit was with the PANAMCHAM (The American Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Panama) where we learned about the exchange of goods through airplanes to countries all over the world. Our second company visit was to the Panamanian FOundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO) where we learned about the organization’s initiatives and the process they go through to fund these projects. My favorite part about this visit was doing an activity with our teammates to think of ways we could come up with ideas to carry the organization’s mission and present this to them. My favorite part about being in Panama City was touring old Panama and visiting the ruins. We learned a lot about the history of Panama and the impact it has on the world’s economy.

After our three days were over, we headed to the Penonome region. Both of the communities that we visited were in that area. The first day of our brigade we went to El Escobal to visit our clients Don Jose and Celided. We gave a charla, which is like a small financial literacy presentation, where we talked about leadership, marketing, and accounting skills. Our client Don Jose was dedicated to delivering the best organic fruits to his clients. It was interesting to learn that he had graduated with a Bachelors in Philosophy and studied agriculture to learn about the effects of pesticides and how to take care of soil. My favorite part was getting to talk to him about all of his experiences throughout his life.

The third day, we visited La Candelaria where we saw the next two clients. My group’s main client Raul was a community veterinarian. He explained to us what type of work he did and the animals he saw. He learned by shadowing a licensed vet in Panama City. He explained how he needed help with his record keeping of clients and profits. We made him a binder with a waiver, logo, business cards, a savings tracker, and all types of accounting inventory/revenue/expenses tables. Our goal was for him to reach more people to increase his clientele and keep track of his business revenues and expenses to increase his profits and have more control over his prices. We also wanted him to keep track of his personal expenses to increase his savings balance in the community bank. The community of La Candelaria was very welcoming to us and grateful for the charlas we gave them as well. They were all very engaged throughout our presentations and it was amazing to see how united they are. On our last day, the community cooked Panamanian dishes for us to try.

Overall, I had an amazing experience and I will never forget the people of those communities. I hope to see this program flourish in the future and continue to change lives in Panama!


Categories: Panama

In our 9-day study abroad, I had the opportunity to visit several large companies in Panama City, tour them, and learn a lot about the way they operate. This gave me a better perspective about how differently trade and other business affairs are carried out in this country. Then, we traveled to rural Panama and provided business consulting to four microentrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to experience first-hand how people manage their businesses, think, and simply carry out their personal lives. We worked long days in order to get our deliverable done. We created numerous accounting tables to manage their inventory and income, designed a logo, business cards, savings plans, a contract, and tables to keep track of clients. Our customers couldn’t help but shed a couple tears of happiness when they received our final project. On our last day, I really enjoyed being a part of their cultural dance, eating delicious homemade Panamanian food, painting mola, and even getting jagua temporary tattoos. 

Categories: Panama


My name is Alondra Santillon, a senior economics major and I spent my Spring Break in Panamá! I was able to experience Panamá for the second time along with twelve fellow Aggies. The first day of the trip we arrived in Panamá City and did a company visit followed by a  welcome dinner at a restaurant nearby and tried typical dishes from the country! The following day we had our second company visit and learned so much about logistics and did a small group activity with my classmates. Later that day we toured the city, we stopped at the Goethals Memorial,  El Casco Viejo (Old Panamá), and Las Ruinas (The Ruins). For lunch we walked to the Seafood Market and had delicious fresh seafood. For our final day at the city we planned a trip to the nearest island, Taboga! We spent the whole day at the beach enjoying the sun! 


The following day we drove to La Iguana Resort located in Coclé, accompanied by Global Business Brigades staff. In Coclé we were able to apply our business knowledge by helping two different communities. We met with them throughout the week and presented different workshops for them to become better leaders, learn more on how to go about their finances, and a small talk about accounting. Following that we were able to sit one on one with the client and hear their needs/wants/issues of their business. The first business was a local Pharmacy in the region of El Escobal, Penonomé. The second business was a local Kiosko (local supermarket) in the region of La Candelaria, Penonome. Señora Victoria in the La Candelaria community welcomed us into her house, her garden, and her business with open arms. The three days that we were there they brought us fruit, food, and live music so we had the full experience of their culture. Along with my group, Chris, Emma, Deisy, Karli, and Landon we collaborated together to complete a final deliverable and powerpoint. Chris, Emma and I created a logo, flyers, and inventory sheets for her business. Deisy, Karli and Landon created a sign that would help her attract more clients. The final day we presented our powerpoint to the clients and their reaction was priceless, they really appreciated our hard work and suggestions. 


My personal take away from this trip was meeting great Panamanian people, all of the GBB staff was really welcoming and guided us through the communities. Each and every one of the four clients taught us something new. I was able to get to know my fellow classmates and professor Dr. Lane, they are all wonderful Aggies. Overall I think going abroad during my college career will be one of the most memorable experiences. 

Categories: Panama

Howdy, my name is Angela Rocha! I am a senior Management Information Systems major here at Mays Business School. This past Spring break I had the privilege of participating in the Global Business Brigades micro-consulting trip to Panama. As a last semester student, I knew I couldn’t pass up this opportunity when it presented itself last year. Looking back, embarking on this journey was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am eternally grateful to the GBB staff, my team members (Odalys and Francis), our officers, our coordinator, and my client (Jose Angel Guzman) for making this trip one to remember. 

Our thirteen person unit, split into separate groups to address the accounting, marketing and financial needs of 4 diverse business clients. I had the opportunity to work with Jose Angel Guzman, a farmer from the rural Panamanian region of El Escobal, Penonomé. His primary business was citrus production, while his secondary business entailed root harvesting. Alongside my amazing team members (Francis and Odalys) and our accompanying team (Stephania, Devany, Sloan, and Jaylen), we connected with Mr. Guzman as he shared personal anecdotes while discussing his business needs. The hospitality he showed us and wisdom he imparted are things I will never forget. 

As our trip came to a close, we presented a three part marketing, accounting and financial solution to Mr. Guzman. In regard to marketing, we created a memorable business name and logo with formatted business cards. To address his bookkeeping needs, we, with the help of our external team, created a manual accounting system for him to keep track of revenues, expenses, inventory, salaries paid, and more. Finally, we created a graphic for Mr. Guzman to monitor year over year growth based on unit sales which would enable him to reach his long-term financial goals. 

In summary, this trip is a treasured experience of mine. At the end of our final presentations, Mr. Guzman, and our other clients, shared how grateful they were for our input, but I truly think we were the lucky ones to have met them. Thanks GBB and thank you Panama! 

Categories: Panama

During March, I had the privilege of going on a study abroad program to Panama with Global Business Brigades. We spent 3 days in the city and the rest of the time we spent in two different rural communities.

I learned many things throughout this trip. One of my key takeaways was the importance of being open-minded. This was my first study abroad with Texas A&M and I had never been to Panama before. Therefore, I did not know what to expect. I decided to go on this trip with an open mind and willingness to try/learn new things. Another key takeaway was realizing how reliant Panama is on tourism. When we arrived in Panama City, I saw a lot of diversity from people that come to visit common sites such as Casco Antiguo, the Panama Canal, etc. Furthermore, something that surprised me was seeing how friendly everyone was. People were comfortable, for the most part, walking in the streets of the city at nighttime. Everywhere we went somebody would say “Buenas” which can be translated to say “Hello.”

When we traveled to the more rural areas for the brigade, the community members were overall very welcoming. Despite the heat, I felt very comfortable being around them. I think the fact that I can speak Spanish was very helpful during this trip because it allowed me to connect more to the people and the culture. Most words in Panama are similar to the Spanish that is spoken in Mexico. However, there were a few words that were new to me. For instance, in Mexico the word a lot is translated into “Bastante” or “Mucho,” but in Panama they use the word “Buco.”

In addition, something that the people from the communities taught me is that no matter what conditions you’re living in or the resources you have/lack, if you have the desire to prosper and learn, then that should be no obstacle for you to reach your goals. They inspired me always to seek opportunities to learn to become a better version of myself. The community members were an example of what dedication looks like. Also, something I didn’t expect was for some of them to be educated. One of the clients we had studied in different institutions and several community members were already very knowledgeable in business basics.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Panama and I’m very grateful to have been able to go with such a wonderful group.

Categories: Panama