Ohio University (OU) and Universidad Americana (UAM) recently partnered for the second year of the Global Consultancy Program (GCP) to work with companies and organizations in Managua.
Students from each university composed small teams of consultants to work with local companies and provide solutions to their identified needs and challenges. The nine companies ranged from schools to bottlers of oil to recyclers of toxic materials. During the intensive two weeks, both Nicaraguan and American students from different majors worked with their different cultural and academic perspectives, but they quickly bonded.
Ryan studies Management Information Systems at Ohio University and said he chose Nicaragua from 12 different international locations, not only because of his internship requirements but also to learn a little Spanish and experience latin culture. He said, “People here like to get to know you and try to have personal relationship with you, not like in the US. Over there no one tries to talk to you or say hi.”
He did not know much about Nicaragua but definitely left with a good experience, he said, “Getting along with everyone made the program a lot easier.” Ryan will recommend this experience for other Ohio students who want to learn about a new culture and travel of course.
Andrea is a UAM student, and she studies Industrial engineering. I thought it was an interesting experience because it is something I do not work with, I’ve never done consultancy work, I am not a consultant, I have nothing to do with business and finance.
Andrea said Americans academic culture is very different since,”For me it was a shock when I saw the outline for the report because in the US they tell you every little detail you have to include in the report.
Language is not the only barrier; students say “Nicas” are too friendly sometimes.
Andrea said “Here in Nicaragua we are so used to get in peoples personal spaces, we make them feel awkward”. She had Leah as her dinner partner on the first night and “I had her try the moronga (rice with pork blood) and she told me that our friendship was a bit shaky and I actually felt bad because I thought she was being serious, What I’ve heard is that Americans are serious people so when they tell you something is because its true and I was like “Wow did I screw up” but then Leah was like “I’m kidding” So, thank god!”
Haley is currently an Accounting major at Ohio University and she chose Nicaragua because of the good time frame, the credit hours and because Nicaragua is a lot different from the US “We really had to choose good communication as a team because of the language barrier.”
She says businesses operate differently in Nicaragua, but at the same they work with the same rules.
Haley had many good experiences and her clients liked communicating with her team.
“I thought it was going to be more tropical and with worst business situations, but it actually surprised me.” she said.
“I will definitely recommend the GCP experience in Nicaragua because I made friends, had fun and learned a lot, not only from my American counter parts but also from my new Nicaraguan friends too.”