More To It

By Dario Diaz

By the sixth week of my internship experience in the Bucerias, the time had come for many members of our group to return home, but after having spent the last six weeks working alongside them in our attempts to make a lasting impact on the local community through business innovation, community outreach, and community program development, the point became clear to me that our group and its members have become more than coworkers or peers; we’d become lifelong friends.

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The various projects that I had been involved with relied upon the hard work, innovation, and knowledge of each and every member of the group in the sense that we relied on each other’s strengths and made up for eachother’s weaknesses; our reliance upon one another did more that make us a cohesive unit, but harbored the friendship that would form in the coming weeks. The majority of the interns who I’d worked with were skilled in disciplines related to business which proved valuable in the business innovation project in which we attempted to create and sell a unique product to the local populace. The product itself was a dried fruit product; hence, the bulk of my research and contribution revolved around creating accurate estimates of nutritional value as well as implementing treatments to minimize nutrient loss. For my involvement in the community program project, the knowledge of my fellow group members in successful marketing attracted dozens of students to the English classes; while marketing has never been my strong-suit, I contributed by advertising and hosting a nutrition event which would demonstrate healthy cooking as well as educate about the fundamentals of nutrition. Finally, the group members who I worked alongside with for the community outreach program in which we helped a local cultural community center by the name of Gune Sofia worked to create a budget and business model for the organization while I took on a different task by creating educational presentations about nutrition as well as proposing menu ideas for a community kitchen and creating advertising materials for these events.

However, as much as everyone relied upon each other during work on the projects, the feeling of belonging within the group extended beyond our group obligations as interns were more than willing to go the extra mile to help wherever help was needed and become companions as well as coworkers. The English classes that constituted the community program development project were always in need of volunteers to help with lessons; as a bilingual student, I was happy to donate my time when it was needed just as the students in charge of giving the lectures were happy to see volunteers participate. However, the strong bonds formed between members of the group happened outside of work as well as the day that the group came together to celebrate my birthday would live on in my memory as one of the best days in my life. I’d grown alongside every member of the group and on the sixth of July, the morning after my birthday celebration, I was sad to see so many of my friends go. Nonetheless, I’ll never forget the last dinner that we all spent together and the bittersweet moment of becoming a year older and saying farewell to some of the greatest friends that I’d ever had. At this point, it became clear that there was more to this internship than sharing the common goal of using our skills to help a small community: our time spent together allowed us to grow as people and grow closer all the while.{:}