“Ladies and gentlemen on behalf of Delta Air Lines we want to welcome you to our nation’s capital, and if this is home for you, welcome home. We know you have a choice in flying and we want to thank you for choosing Delta”
Well, it’s over. 108 days, nine trips, two 68 pound suitcases, dozens of new friends, and a lifetime of memories and photos later, I’m back in the United States. As I come back to the dizzying pace of life in DC, preparing to graduate, getting ready to move, and catching up with old friends, everything that has happened in the last four months has finally begun to hit me. Just a few weeks ago I was on a tour of the Jose Cuervo factory in Tequila, Mexico. A month ago, I was giving my final presentation of my MBA career. Five weeks ago, I was watching Mexico slide to victory against Costa Rica in a world cup qualifier. It all happened so quickly, only now can I sit and appreciate everything I was able to see and do in the 108 days “south of the border”.The experience in Mexico has really been one of the top highlights of my MBA program. I learned so much more than I ever thought, from improving my Spanish, understanding the Mexican mentality, and how businesses operate in Mexico. As my future employer, Delta Air Lines, has recently purchased a large share of AeroMexico, the largest airline in Mexico, I know there will be a great deal of collaboration between the two offices in the future. This experience has really helped me to understand life and the people of Mexico. It was also my last opportunity within academia where I was able to “drop” everything and move to another country with ease. As I sit and reflect on the trip I feel I learned so much about myself as well as the country while there. From navigating daily life in Mexico, like groceries, taking the metro, to booking travel within the country, all the small experiences helped to grow me as an individual. In the end I realized that I can do it. I can move to a foreign country barely speaking the language knowing almost no one and come out like a native with friends in all corners of the city.
When I think back on my favorite experience during my trip, my mind immediately goes to the trip to Chiapas in the south of Mexico. From jumping into water in the most beautiful shade of blue, eating pan au chocolate fresh out of the oven, and dancing in the streets after a night out, it was an experience that will forever be with me.
As I sit here in the GW School of Business writing my final piece, I laugh thinking there was a lot I wish I had known before going to Mexico. The first being that “M” on a restroom door does not mean it is the men’s room. It is in fact the EXACT opposite. “M” in Spanish is short for mujeres, aka women. Don’t make the same mistake I did and walk into the wrong bathroom. I also wish I had known how bad traffic in Mexico City really. After living in DC and the New York suburbs, I thought I had a handle on traffic, but oh boy I was wrong. I will never forget the 1.5 hours it took in an uber to go 2.5 miles in the middle of rush hour traffic leaving me an hour late for an appointment. If you go to Mexico, please learn from my mistakes.
With graduation coming up next week (deep breathes), I will never forget my time abroad. Be it the people I met, places I explored, and fantastic memories, all will stick with me for years to come and remind me, it was truly #onlyatGWSB experience.