“Unforgettable” Green Business Networking Trip to Chile
“The networking opportunities were invaluable,” says Charles (Cam) Matack (MPA ’11) about the trip he and seven Monterey Institute classmates took to Chile over spring break with assistance from the director of Middlebury College’s Chile Schools Abroad site. Professor Vicki Porras organized the trip to offer her students in Business Spanish 482 the opportunity to use their language skills in real-life business settings and to further their individual career interests at the same time. “It was a very intense but unbelievably rich experience,” say Cam.
Jeffrey Stevenson, director of the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Latin America, Chile and Mexico was “very helpful,” say Professor Porras of her Middlebury colleague, who set up the connection with Universidad Iberoamericana de Ciencias y Technología. As part of the trip, the students signed Middlebury’s Language Pledge, committing themselves not to speak in any other language than Spanish for the duration of the trip. They also immersed themselves in the culture by staying with local families. “There is nothing that compares to actually living in a language,” says Cam, who is still in contact regularly with his host family.
Every day was jam-packed with activities from visiting “green” businesses to talking to leaders of the Chilean Senate and the secretary for the environment, as well as world-renowned human rights advocate Judge Juan Guzman. “We were networking at the highest levels of government,” says Cam of the “unforgettable” trip. Professor Porras was delighted with the results, noting that “In addition to immersing the students in Spanish language and culture, I wanted them to make connections that would be useful for them in the future.”