Apprehension is creeping up on me as the date of the trip draws closer. I applied for the course because I knew this would be a unique opportunity to apply our knowledge as business students whilst still giving back to society. Though I still firmly believe this I am a lot more fixated on the problems that would arise from the project. Other than the challenges that we would meet during our business consulting (more on that later), I’m more worried about my personal tolerance level to the environment in Philippines. I’m afraid that I have overestimated myself, and I’ll become the typical tourist from a more developed country within a less developed one – unable to adapt to the environment with less comforts, decomposing into a pile of disagreeable complaints. I can only hope that I can be appreciative of the many things that are provided to us through the hospitality of the local people and neglect the “discomforts” (note that this is only relative to us) that I’m unused to. On the other hand, this is probably the first time I have been away from home without my parents for so long. More than expectations for the trip, it’s more accurate to say that I in part think that this experience is also one of self-discovery where I hope to find out what my tolerance level and my ability to adapt is, as well as to become more independent.
At the same time I’m still very excited about the trip. I feel like our classmates are all very easy to get along with and I expect the trip to be, for lack of better word, pretty fun. And just to cover everything, I will divulge that mangoes (!!) contribute a high margin of my anticipated pleasure of the trip. After all, who needs running water when you have sweet, golden fruits that can only be described as heavenly? Exactly. Jokes aside, I expect this trip to be a fruitful and fulfilling one where we can both learn about ourselves, our appreciation and understanding of other cultures, whether we are as compassionate and empathetic as we would like to believe, as well as our attitudes when faced with discomforts we are not use to (and hopefully we will not disappoint). I expect this trip to be also about us learning about the world around us, to understand beyond our small sphere of Hong Kong and the developed world, to see the lives of those in the poorer countries and perhaps also, to understand not only how we are privileged but also how we can utilize our remarkable resources to help others. (And just as a side note while we are on privileges, please also see: http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/the-pencilsword-on-a-plate to better understand that success is not so much driven by your own efforts but instead is luck dependent)
Lastly, in addressing our main purpose of the trip, business consulting, the project that we embark on appears to be daunting and I would expect this process to be an uphill battle simply because there are so many areas that can be addressed. As our project we were given the task of working with an eco-park where we understand that “they are looking to better utilize their establishment, and have a three part goal of realizing more revenue, sustaining the environment and supporting the local community”. A foreseeable problem is that the eco-park is split into many areas/exhibit such as a butterfly habitat, rowing ponds, villas, mariculture fish pond etc. and if we wish to be as comprehensive as possible in our business plan, each section of the eco-park should be addressed. I am not sure if that’s possible, as that’s a rather massive undertaking and we only have 4 weeks to come up with the plan. Nevertheless the prospects of working with the eco-park is still very appealing to me, asides from how beautiful park appears to be on pictures, we’ll also be working with local university students studying business and it will be an invaluable experience to see how they learn business in Philippines.