Sat, May 4, 2024 8:00 AM

Student's taste of Mexico an inspiration


William Woodworth

A newly inspired, and aspiring, businesswoman has just returned to Marlborough from an eye-opening week away alongside like-minded Kiwi and Mexican students.

Marlborough Girls’ College student Cleo Collins was one of eight students selected from 140 entrants to embark on the LatAm Biz: Mexico City exchange, backed by the Latin American Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence and Young Enterprise Scheme New Zealand.

Focuses of the trip targeted how New Zealand companies entered into the Mexican market, challenges and opportunities that both New Zealand and Mexico face and how the relevant challenges can be solved through commercial solutions through workshops with Fonterra, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, NZTE, ANZMEX, KidZania, and New Zealand embassy staff.

The trip included an evening at a Lucha Libre wrestling event. Photo: Supplied

The trip also included immersive cultural programme which included watching lucha libre, exploring chinampas, the indigenous man-made islands used to grow crops and house people, bachata dance classes, and visiting Frida Kahlo’s former house turned museum – a personal highlight for Cleo.

“The Young Enterprise Scheme Kickstarter event sparked a fire within me. I want to learn as much as I could about the world of business and fully immerse in what entrepreneurship has to offer … what better way to learn about business?

“While visiting KidZania (a local children’s city roleplay educational business) I noticed there was an emphasis on relationship-building and creativity whereas New Zealand companies prioritise efficiency and sustainability.

“It has shown me the importance of culture, collaboration, and adaptability in business when navigating different business markets”.

With the exchange providing opportunities to visit Mexican businesses, existing New Zealand organisations in Mexico, cultural activities and entrepreneurial workshops alongside local students, Cleo is incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to take pieces of Marlborough knowledge to Mexico City.

Seminars saw Kiwi and Mexican entrepreneurs share their ingenuinity and learn from New Zealand businesses working in a Mexico. Photo: Supplied

“Mexico City was like stepping into a whole new world, the city was so alive with all the different colours, sounds, and smells … it was like every corner had a story to tell!

“Additionally, witnessing the resilience and creativity of Mexican business has inspired me to think more innovatively and inclusively in my own business ventures”.

Cleo says she believes her appointment as a Marlborough Girls’ College Māori prefect this year has developed her understanding of the power of cultural understanding and effective communication working through cultural boundaries.

“I found myself particularly interested in cultural immersion experiences - visiting historical sights, we learnt about the indigenous peoples, what they built, how they lived, and what brought them to Mexico City.

“I found that people were super friendly, and welcoming, I have certainly found some lifelong friends. Exploring the streets, trying out new foods, and diving into Mexican culture through activities such as cooking classes and dance lessons was a blast.

“This trip really opened my eyes to how diverse and interconnected our world is, and it made me understand the importance of embracing different cultures with an open mind and heart”.

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