Over the seven days, we spent in Chile, I have learned more about myself than I ever thought I would. Being around like-minded people has been such an eye-opening and incredible journey and one that I will never forget.

For as long as I can remember business and traveling have been my dream but I have always struggled with the thought that I may not be good enough or that my dream is too big to achieve, however attending the trip to Chile, I met and gained knowledge from so many passionate people who faced their own hardships and never gave up, showing me that anything you put your mind to is possible.

Coming back from Chile I have realised how much I had grown as a person, my mindset had completely changed and I was so motivated by everything and everyone around me. My passion had come alive, the belief I had inside myself had skyrocketed and the ability to achieve anything was no longer impossible. If I could take one thing away from the trip it would be how I was truly able to be myself and the happiness it brought being around others who share the same passion. I’ve always found in school, there are people who want to bring you down if they see you excel and so I would restrict my abilities and be more low key with how I would go about things, but on this trip there was no judgment, no haters and everyone was there for the same reason, allowing me to learn and get as much out of the experience as possible while making lifelong friends and  relationships.

Overall thanks to Latin America CAPE and YES I have come away believing in myself with a reignited passion and drive to achieve my dreams because anything is possible.

Thanks to Latin America CAPE and YES, 7 amazing students and myself were given to opportunity to visit 11 incredible business, who were willing and able to share their experiences and knowledge of entrepreneurship with us. One business that really resonated with me was the wine box hotel. Grant the owner, shared the many hardships he faced over the process of building the hotel, however was able to say “stuff it” and continued his journey despite how many people tried to bring him down or stop the process. Grant is a kiwi and hearing his passionate story hit home and made me realise if one kiwi can do it what's stopping another, motivating me to strive for excellence and to never give up. It was incredible to see how small businesses had grown from the ground up in such a small amount of time, allowing me to believe business overseas was possible which was never a big thought before the trip. The biggest thing I would take away from the business visits is that passion and drive are they key factors to getting you anywhere in life. If you don't love what you do or surround yourself with others of the same mindset, you won't be successful because there will always be an aspect that will bring you down.

Having the experience to visit another country is one i will never forget. Being able to see the difference in culture and language was so inspiring and eye opening and made me want to learn as much as possible in a small amount of time. During the walking tours it was amazing to hear how the Chileans were treated back in the day by the government and really makes you appreciate home life. One thing that really struck me was that the government took away a lot of food for 1000 days to try cause havoc and chaos in the city, paying trucks to not bring in food and making stores owners put up signs saying they had no food, causing Chileans to wait in line for 4-5 hours a day just to retrieve bread.

Another thing that stood out was art culture that runs throughout the country. In Valparaiso nearly every market stall we walked past, were selling some sort of art and all of the houses were so vibrant with colour. The alleyways were covered in amazing graffiti and in every corner there was something of colour. It really reflected for me what type of country Chile was, a welcoming, passion filled, fun place.

Another thing that stood out was how every chilean was doing everything they could to earn some extra cash. Whether it be standing at their market stall all day every day or late into the night, showing off acrobatic skills on the streets, and sharing their talents with the world through small things such as drawings, really proved how talented Chile is as a country.

- Macaulay Glass, Hamilton Girls’ High School, Waikato

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