Women in Entrepreneurship in Peru – My international experience with NSCC brought me to Arequipa, Peru to participate in the Women in Entrepreneurship program. We were linked with Interntional Business students from ISUR, a college located in Arequipa to help mothers in a rural area develop some of the skills needed to create or further their own buisnesses.
As a Civil Engineering Technology student I was nervous about how much I would be able to help the mothers. I had never learned about the components of starting a buisnes or even the elements or skills that are needed to further a buisness. However when there, I quickly learned that my program had taught me some necessary skills that could be transferred and applied to help these women.
One of these skills is my ability to come up with creative solutions. We worked on the business model canvas for two of the five days that we were with the mothers, as they worked through their model their ideas were translated from spanish to us so that we would be able to throw some ideas in to help them along. I was surprised with how easily I could work with them to come up with ideas for them to put into their model.
There are some cultural differences between Canada and Peru that I felt that it took a few days to adjust to. Most peruvians that I met were very touchy, and become very close very quickly. An example of this is when you greet someone or are introduced they will give you a hug and a kiss on the cheek. These differences made me slightly uncomfortable for the first few days, but I quickly got used to it!
On the final day of working with the mothers, we received certificates from ISUR for participating in the program. To get the certificates we had to walk on stage as if it was graduation. When my name was called I went on stage to get my certificate from the principal. When she gave it to me I accidentally tried to give her my hand for a handshake, as is normally done in Canada, but awkwardly missed because she was giving me a hug and kiss instead! I quickly realized that I wasn’t in Canada and returned the gesture. I found that when I wasn’t thinking about being away from home, I would forget about the small differences between the way we interact with the people around us.
The cultural differences were wonderful to see and experience. I enjoyed learning about their way of life, and it taught me to be grateful for what I have and what I take for granted each day here in Canada.
Thank you for everything!
Civil Engineering Technology Student
NSCC Ivany Campus