TORCH PHOTO/BEATRIZ DA COSTA
It was the beginning of April break.
I randomly decided to browse for plane tickets for a flight to Italy. However, the fact that I still work at an insurance firm did not stop me.
I was faced with a dilemma. When should I tell my boss that I will be leaving – not just temporarily- but permanently?
Fast forward to July. My trip is in a couple of weeks, and I still lack the courage to leave. The words could never slip out of my mouth. One day, my boss asked me whether I had summer vacation plans. This was my time to speak up.
My response left the whole room speechless. Trying to leave a job where you were so valued can be a difficult task.
If you ever feel like leaving your job to travel during the summer, please do not just randomly buy a plane ticket before you officially quit.
I came to the realization that traveling this summer was the best decision. Gaining many practical skills while I’m away will bring about a competitive advantage for me in the future.
One goes through many crazy emotions while traveling alone, but it is a priceless experience. Traveling is the most practical form of connecting with and experiencing a new culture.
Going shopping with my Italian friends allowed me to explore the fashion trends of a different culture.
Being exposed to a diverse array of preferences and tastes allowed me to become a much more sensitive individual.
I went shopping quite often, and finding a pair of sweatpants was rare. As I was shopping, I realized how different we both are. Italians are not accustomed to wearing comfy clothing, as they associate such clothing to laziness.
It is important to respect the culture of others, regardless if you agree with them or not. Acknowledging the needs and wants of a customer seems to be an innate skill.
However, when you are in the workplace, those needs and wants are always changing.
As I went out at night, I started to network with students who were majoring in economics. From what I can recall, the unemployment rate is a common obstacle for those young students.
Many of them are unsure whether they will ever find a job within their desired field after they graduate. We continued discussing possible solutions all night long. Sorry to the bartender who couldn’t close the bar until we all left.
Anyways applying real life issues in discussion from different perspectives is what drives innovative solutions. In the workplace, the process of creating an effective solution will be difficult, if we are not a diverse team.
Immersing yourself in a culture that you are not accustomed to is how one really learns.
Whether you are socializing at a bar or shopping, there are important values that you discover underneath those experiences.
You just have to be willing to put yourself in a new environment to discover them.