Thoughts and Reflections at the Conclusion of GBI 2017
August 1, 2017
The GBIers have left Bloomington, and it seems as though something is missing. The moment they all arrived at the airport, there was a spark of excitement in the air and a positive presence that never left them. It was amazing to watch a group of almost 100 students from 7 different countries go from being complete strangers to family. They taught one another about their home countries, and it was clear from an outsider’s perspective the pride and love they have for their countries. Personally, Culture Night was one of the highlights of the program because it allowed everyone to share a special part of their culture that was unique. We experienced everything from a traditional Moroccan “wedding,” to the Tunisian anthem, to a Jordanian dance. I’ve never traveled to their parts of the world, but it felt as though I had because we got a first-hand perspective into their lives.
|Megan, center, surrounded by GBI friends|
The students learned valuable knowledge about different countries, on top of learning business concepts from one of the top business schools in the country. They basically earned a four-year undergraduate degree from the Kelley School of Business crammed into a short span of four weeks. Each and every one of them worked long, hard hours every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of commitment in my life. Their hard work and dedication paid off because, in the end, they all improved immensely. As a cultural liaison, we had the opportunity to watch their presentations week to week, and the transformation they made was clearly demonstrated. It didn’t matter which team ultimately won in the end because they all won skills and knowledge that will last them a lifetime.
Simply by applying to the program in the first place, they stepped out of their comfort zones and came to a country most of them have never traveled to before. This was a huge step, and we were able to watch them take “little” steps outside of their comfort zone throughout the program as well. They tried new cuisine and dishes they don’t have at home, they learned what kale was at the farmers market, they took it upon themselves to walk to Griffy Lake and hike, and they met local residents who soon became friends.
At the beginning of the program, I never thought we would all grow so close and become such good friends. This experience opened my eyes to a new part of the world, and showed me the beauty in diversity and meeting new people. I’m going to miss everyone so much, and I know all of the Cultural Liaisons feel the same. GBI, you all have brilliant minds and are hungry to make a difference in your home countries. Follow your passions in whichever direction they may be, and I am confident you will live prosperous lives. In my heart I know we will all meet again someday, and I’m eager for that day to come. Thank you for the unforgettable memories. The space you all filled in Foster may be empty, but you’ll always remain in a space of our hearts.
|Megan, far left, with the other GBI Cultural Liaisons at the Fourth of July celebration
– Megan is an incoming junior studying public policy and international business. She enjoys running, cooking, and anything involving the mountains.