Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

By Joyee Zhou 😉


We are officially setting off for Philippines in 11ish hours, and I am feeling more excited about the upcoming challenges and uncertainties. Never have I had such an immersion experience abroad that allows me to blend into local society and practically apply my knowledge to offer some help. Staying on the island Guimaras I have never been to and partnering with local business I barely know will definitely be a rewarding and indelible learning experience. It is going to be an amazing start of summer!

In the past three days, we had a good time chatting Beand exploring the meaning of our course. Similar with Mr. Lefler’s “empathetic optimism”, my motivation to join is inspired a saying: Be the change you wish to see in the world. I am lucky to enjoy good education, affluent resources and opportunities, but I don’t want to see my luck undermine others’ fortune. So I am here to help! Starting from little self-changes, put efforts in a good cause and give a hand to those in need. Especially as a student majoring in economics and finance, I have specialty in identifying the economics-related problems and seeking for solutions. This process will also in turn enhance my understanding on the subject.

Speaking of my expectation, I hope to bring long-lasting benefits to the business I work for by providing them with feasible and flexible scenarios which are workable even after we leave. As a proverb says, teaching how to fish is much better than giving a fish. What we are going to offer them is not money or food, but something much more powerful, the way to think (how to run the business). Poverty trap is resulted from the noxious cycle that congenital deficiency hampers the further development and reinforces the impoverished situation. To get out of the poverty trap, someone need to take the initiative to break the cycle, and local enterprises can serve as the role. The mission of our trip is to provide support and guidance for them to achieve the sustainable and profitable development, which may hopefully lead to the prosperity of Guimaras. Especially as to the computer business I am going to work on, information technology is an indispensable catch-up power in the digital era. Although currently it is just a one-person business, it has a great potential to turn the table and get rid of the poverty trap.

On the other hand, there are foreseeable difficulties worth consideration. Based on my experience in BCP (Business Consulting Practicum), it is hard to persuade the business owner to carry out what you suggest, maybe because it needs huge investments or they are just reluctant to change. Consulting is a tricky job. We are mirroring someone himself, and we are trying to show their merits and shortcomings from an external perspective. But for those who have strong attachment to their own business, it may be hard for them to think through our comments. So in this situation, communication and mutual understanding are extremely important. We really need to put ourselves in their shoes and make advice that truly helps. Since they are more familiar with the local business environment, we also need to learn from them about the real world complexity so as to derive applicable suggestions. No fancy stuff, no unrealistic dreaming. We are going to a completely different country with different business modes, and all we can do is to try the best to meet their needs in their way.

I believe it is going to be a quite meaningful trip. I can’t wait to meet my host family and the business owner! Looking forward to our stay in Guimaras. May we all have a fruitful June!


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