A prologue to a remarkable journey- Guimaras, Philippines 2015

Another 26 hours before our flight leaves for the Philippines and I have this tight knot of mixed feelings tugging at the back of my mind. From the outset I should clarify that these feelings aren’t negative but are just a reflection of my expectations which are mostly optimistic. Excitement is mainly the dominant emotion and which has been the case since I got selected for this course.  There are several things that I’m excited about and probably a single blog post isn’t sufficient to elaborate on each of them. However, the two elements of the course that I’m really enthusiastic about is the home stay and the business that I’m working with.

I’m expecting that the home stay will be a self exploratory experience. It’s not just about living in a foreign country with friends for a month but it’s about staying and integrating with a local family. I have never been on a home stay before but I can tell one thing for sure; there’s no other better way to learn about the different nuances of the culture and traditions of the country. It might be a little unnerving to stay with a family that you’ve never met before. Questions like ‘what if I might say something that offends them but might seem normal to me?’ or ‘What if they don’t accept me into the family?’ had initially clouded my mind. But all these doubts are kept at rest when you realize that you have a reciprocate duty and the effort of making the environment comfortable is a collaborative effort from both the sides. This home stay has abundant of potentials for being both an educational and social opportunity and also a process of self discovery.

I’m honestly pumped up for the business that I’ll be working with. The most challenging aspect about the business is that it is an established business with a hawk eyed management and there might not seem to be much room for improvement or at least my involvement. However, this is what the challenge is all about; to find ways that will benefit the business. This requires thinking on the heels and innovative solutions that might not seem grand at face value but is highly effective. I would want to go with an open mind right now as I feel that the scope of consulting with the business is limitless. After a thorough study and analysis on the business, we might observe a problem related to redundant technology and suggest some updated replacements. Or we might have to rework the entire or part of the marketing strategy to add customer value. It all boils down to discovering the problems and benefitting the business by asking the right questions.

For now I feel that it’s best not to go with rigid expectations rather to leave space for uncertainties so that it becomes much easier to absorb any shock and to still deliver efficiently. I’m expecting that this course will take me on a journey which is enriching and at times might be frustrating or too difficult. But in the end it’ll all be worth it for the knowledge that I’ll amass, the lifelong friendship that I’ll make  and it’ll be a memory that I’ll chronicle for years to come.

Till then, Philippines we’re on our way!

– Shikha

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