Philippines − Let the Journey Begin

By Foo Fang Ling

Hey guys! The day has finally come. I will be embarking on a new journey and this time, I will be going to the Philippines! As this will be my first time travelling to the Philippines, I am feeling both very excited yet very nervous as well.

Before I jump into my expectations and worries about my coming time in the Philippines, let me give you a brief summary of the events that have led me to this precious opportunity. It was during winter break, around mid-January 2015, that I received an email regarding a new experiential learning course. The following were my initial thoughts upon reading the course description. In my opinion, BUSI2816: Transformative Business Immersion in Developing Economies definitely stood out from other courses offered in HKU. It was definitely not just about lectures, assignments and exams. On the contrary, this course focuses on practical and hands on work. Besides that, students would also be able to draw on the knowledge gained from the various courses they have taken so far at HKU and to apply it in the real world. Moreover, this course requires students to take on the role of business consultants for small businesses in Guimaras, Philippines. Though I do not have any prior consulting experience, I believe that this would be an excellent opportunity to learn. Long story short, I submitted my application and I am grateful to be selected to be part of this course!

So what are my expectations for the coming month? Firstly, I am excited to work with Clarence and Peng Ye and I expect that the three of us would be able to work closely with the owner of the organic farm and to help bring about some positive changes. I also expect to improve on my communication, teamwork and analytical skills through my role as a business consultant. I also look forward to soaking up as much of Philippines’ culture, to try out the local delicacies and to interact with the locals. My time in Guimaras will definitely be extra-special as Shikha and I will be living with Lea and her family. I have learnt that homestays definitely allows one to connect on a deeper level with the locals and to learn about their culture besides building lasting relationships. This definitely brings back good memories I had while I was staying in a homestay in Zimbabwe last summer. I am indeed very grateful and I would like to thank Lea and her family in advance for their kindness and hospitality in allowing us to stay with her throughout our time in the Philippines.

Now that I have touched on my expectations, what would be my worries? Well, one of my main concerns is not being able to clearly convey ideas/suggestions to the business owner and at the end of the day, whether the ideas/suggestions are meaningful and impactful. Nonetheless, I am not going to dwell on this. Instead I will make sure that I give my best to the team and the business and to most importantly, keep an open mind.

All in all, I am definitely excited for the coming month and can’t wait to see what comes next! Will provide more updates in my next blog post!

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