Students who traveled to Chile, Brazil and Peru this summer found themselves building on the work that Huntsman students did last year.
Bill can Dyke gets warm greeting in Ollantytambo, Peru.
The 2007 South American Study Abroad group set up a partnership with DanPer, the third largest agribusiness company in Peru. As a result of the partnership, DanPer created a non-governmental organization (NGO) to loan funds that were raised by the students.
In 2008, two students from the 2007 group, Heather Fawson and Grant Keaton, went to DanPer to serve internships with that NGO. The 2008 Huntsman group arrived in June and worked with Fawson and Keaton to help the NGO find ways to work more efficiently with the people it serves.
By the time the 20 students arrived at DanPer in Peru, they had visited major banks such as Banco Santander in Chile and Banco Itáu in Brazil. They had learned about the fruit and shipping industries in Chile and the impact of free trade on the Chilean economy. They also visited mining and energy companies in all three countries.
Students learned about operational excellence at Johnson & Johnson in Brazil and the economic benefit of promoting tourism in Peru. In Peru, they spent the day at Universidad ESAN, one of the leading business graduate schools in Latin America, where they attended lectures on the Peruvian economy and learned about the growth and challenges in the retail industry.
Chance Murray, an accounting major, said there was plenty to take in.
“The sheer amount of information I learned is what surprised me,” he said. “I expected a bow and arrow, and I got a B 17 bomber.”
“In addition, students experienced the rich cultural heritage of Peru that included visiting Machu Picchu,” said Liz Allred, one of the leaders on the trip. “The final element of the program was to give students an opportunity to serve others. In addition to working on the small enterprise projects, students ran a two-day eyeglass clinic that helped more than 650 people. Partners for the eyeglass clinic were The Hope Alliance of Salt Lake City and the Rotary International chapter of Trujillo, Peru.”
There was one thing that didn’t change from last year: the students say the experience was memorable and rewarding.
Bill VanDyke, a senior majoring in Spanish with a business minor, said he came to the program looking for a life-changing experience and got just that.
Students tour Weir Minerals Vulco in Santiago, Chile.
“It’s really given me the direction I was looking for before I came to the program,” he said.
When it came to the service projects, the faculty and staff said they wanted the students to work together to find solutions despite the language and cultural barriers they faced.
“The highlight of the trip was the small enterprise project, combined with the eyeglass clinics,” Murray said. “It was a culmination of everything we had learned up to that point. We pulled together everything and went to work.”
Al Warnick, the interim head of the department of Management, led the trip. He said the students rose to the challenge.
“They worked on their own,” Warnick said. “They didn’t wait for us to tell them what to do. In fact, it was our agreement that the students would be leading these projects and they really did lead.”
Dean Douglas D. Anderson joined the students in South America for a few days and said he found the opportunity to personally interact with the students a highlight of his year.