How the South America Trip Impacted Me

Three words I would use to describe my winter South America trip would be transformative, enriching, and eye-opening. I got the idea of studying abroad, maybe in my senior year of high school. I had heard of study abroad trips and saw some on social media. I did not think I would get the chance to do one because I had no information on them.

In the spring semester of 2023, Dr. Laura Wiley came into my accounting class and gave a brief presentation on IBS and the different trips they had to offer. Right after class, I went on the website and told my mom about it. I will forever be grateful to my parents for supporting me and allowing me to take this opportunity. I did not know what I was getting into on this trip, but I learned it was an opportunity to travel internationally and earn course credit. I chose the two-week option because this was my first international trip, and I have never been away from my family for so long, so I felt like this was the perfect amount of time. There were about 11 other students, making it easy to get to know everyone.

I will say I was one of two black people on the trip, so I, as well as my family, were a little hesitant about how I would be treated or feel. Thankfully, everyone was super easy to get along with. There was not one time that I felt left out or looked at differently by my peers. I loved being in South America; the weather was beautiful, and the people were very friendly. The weather was in the high seventies to mid-eighties; when I returned home to Texas, we were going through a hard freeze, so the temperature was in the teens and twenties.

I took one year of Spanish in high school and one semester in my first year at university. I know I am nowhere near fluent. I understand the names of things but do not know how to make a complete sentence sometimes. It was interesting to see how a lot of people in Latin America knew enough English to communicate with us, but I feel a lot of Americans do not know Spanish nor want to take the time to learn it. I learned a few new words on the trip, which I was excited about. When people talk to me in Spanish, I am able to pick out the words I know and figure out what they are saying. I tend to translate what is being told to me in Spanish to English and then answer. There were many times when I found I understood what was being said, but I was scared to respond in Spanish because I did not know if I was saying it right. I have to overcome this hurdle, but I would love to return to South America in the future, so hopefully, I will get better at this.

Often, on the coach rides, we would sit next to different people and be able to talk about their goals, their background, and their families. We had a few dinners, just the students, which were one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was great that most of us are doing different things career-wise, making this a great networking trip with the companies we visited and each other. Hopefully, we will be able to nurture these relationships throughout the coming years. I am incredibly grateful to have been with this group of people because they made this experience more fun. Being able to get along for two-hour long dinners and have endless conversations, watching for everyone’s safety on those late nights, and ensuring everyone had an enjoyable time.

I do not know what I want to do with my degree. I honestly chose it because it is an excellent field in which I can make good money. But it is not something I am passionate about, but it is a topic that interests me. I have also considered being an expat because there is so much of the world to explore, so why not get paid while working in a beautiful country?

We visited a company called Deloitte, a consulting firm in Argentina; they piqued my interest because I feel it matches my major. I know they have offices in a few countries, but I do not think they have many expat opportunities. I also enjoyed the visit to Globant, a software company with people in almost every field, including finance, which aligns with what I want to do. The way they work also struck me because it is a very uncommon style. I found two great companies that got me thinking career-wise, so maybe I could end up at one or find similar companies here.

I learned a lot about myself; I have a newfound confidence and itch to explore the world more. This was a fantastic trip that I will remember for a lifetime.

Myracle Carter

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