“It would be hard to imagine a world without marketing.”
-Stanton, Etzel, and Walker
Breakfast – Tostadas, pineapple, pan dulce, and eggs with hotdog
Lunch – Carnitas with rice and the best tortilla chips, ever
Dinner – Pizza with pineapple, ham, onions, and cheese (it was a great day for food)
Mercadotecnia - Marketing
I’d like to preface this post by saying it was probably my favorite day of the Xicotepec trip.
We started the day early as usual, ate our breakfast, and left for the Rotary elementary school. Although it seemed like we all finally got a full night’s sleep, the week was starting to take its toll on us. Luckily, today wasn’t work intensive.
We walked with almost everyone to the Rotary school. Today was the Carnival parade and the kids had made masks with the theater group. They were so intricate and beautiful. We didn’t get to stay for the whole parade, but we saw the kids off.
Shortly after, some ambassadors in the Marketing program came to pick us up in an old fashioned school bus. We sat one CLA student to each Marketing student on the bus. We chatted all the way to their school, about 15 minutes away.
A couple of the kids at Carnival
When we got to the school, they showed us a couple of the administrative buildings. One was the admissions office that provided information on all the majors. Apparently Veterinary Science is big there. Then we were invited to the inauguration of the new auditorium. We saw the mayor of Xicotepec once more and learned some of the history of the school. There were probably six speakers in total. After the formalities, the students put on three short plays by Miguel Cervantes (like Shakespeare, but Mexican). It was difficult to understand, but I got the gist.
A high schooler wanted my picture after we talked for a bit. The bus driver tried to get me to give him a "beso." I guess that means he's my trip boyfriend
After the play, we went to the campus restaurant to eat. We had some pretty delicious food and swapped culture with the Mexican students. Favorite questions:
Do you watch Jersey Shore? (yes)
What curse words do you know? (no comment)
What are your favorite alcoholic beverages (Cerveza)
Hey, we’re college students, after all.
After lunch, we went to a lecture with the students’ Marketing professor. He talked about how Marketing can help local businesses and some projects the students have been working on. As a Marketing major myself, I was eating it up. After the lecture, they presented us with shirts they made with the logos of the school and a graphic one of them made for Xicotepec. We played trompos outside (its not just for little kids) and I still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of it.
Virgen de Guadalupe statue - the symbol of Xicotepec
Shortly after, we left to see the huge Virgin of Guadalupe statue that some would consider to be the symbol of Xicotepec. The students came with us and took lots of pictures. We were pleasantly surprised to run into some of our favorite hombres from Ojo de Agua, too!
They dropped us off at Cruz Azul and we made plans to meet up later. We recapped with Stacy, then split up – everyone having a task to accomplish. We went into town, and went through the market that happens twice a week. Unfortunately, it was mostly over.
I did the wrap-up interview for Nate’s video tonight (below). We checked emails and wrote thank you’s to present to the people who helped us throughout the week. We also checked Facebook – some of our new friends already added us!
The whole group - Iowa and Xicotepec
Unfortunately, when we got back to the Cruz Azul, we were told that we couldn’t go out with our new friends. I understand that we were in a strange place with people that they didn’t know very well, but I wish one or a few of the older people would’ve opted to come with us. Regardless, I’m friends with most of them on Facebook now and it’s good Spanish practice to communicate.
By some crazy chain of events (that involve me getting some awesome Internship.com ping pong balls), I was asked to create a guest blog for Internships.com Eye of the Intern blog. The lady who contact me expressed an interest in my role with Sony, so I used that as my topic. Check out my guest post to get an idea of what I do as a Sony Brand Ambassador!
We walked to the school today and set out to do the impossible – a final coat of paint in our first room; whitewashing with two coats of paint in our second room. I honestly wasn’t convinced we’d get it done. In between painting, we jumped rope with the kids, played tag, and trompos (spinning tops). By some stroke of luck, we had everything but the second coat of paint done before lunch. It was pretty incredible.
We walked back to the Cruz Azul with Dez’s parent’s in tow. They decided to make a day trip out to Xicotepec to see what exactly we were up to. She went with them to lunch and the rest of us ate and hit up our favorite internet cafe. Jostna wasn’t feeling too well, but she was a trooper and worked through it. It’s also worth noting that our team MVP was Audri, who never seemed to take a break and did a lot of the less than desirable work without complaint. We probably could not have gotten our job done without her.
Some of the boys goofing off.
When we got back to Ojo de Agua, we starting putting things back in the first classroom. We cleaned off all of the desks with the help of the kids, and arranged them in our freshly painted class. In between work, we had fun teaching the kids the Cha-Cha slide and the “Fist Pump.” They couldn’t get enough of it (and we are surely corrupting them). While the others were finishing the last of the painting, we worked to fashion a bookshelf for all the books that we had taken out of the first classroom. We had so much fun playing games with the kids – it was hard to say goodbye when Felix picked us up. We got lots of kisses and hugs and the kids ran after us and waved as we drove away. Awwwwwwwwwww.
The kids help us wash off the desks
Felix dropped us off downtown and we went to a restaurant Stacey claimed was notorious for its delicious hot chocolate. She wasn’t wrong. We recapped there and relaxed after a long day of hard work. We’re done! We made plans to return to the school on Friday, because the principal wanted to formally thank us. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was glad it wouldn’t be the last time we saw the kids.
We shopped a little bit before dinner, and I finally got a chance to check out an accessory store I spotted earlier. I would compare it to Forever 21 in terms of price and selection. I got 6 things for 92 pesos – Under $10 American. Nice.
The kids are ready to learn in their clean and beautiful classroom
We came back to eat dinner than Jostna, Audri, and I went out for a bit. We dropped of Audri at the internet cafe a block away from the Cruz Azul. Jostna needed some Nyquil, so I offered to go with and help translate/navigate. We found a pharmacist and had a nice chat with her and she made some recommendations. Its amazing how many people you can meet in a week – so many of the shop owners knew us by the end of the trip.
Decided to use my ear plugs last night - definitely one of the most valuable extras I brought with me. Showers were once again warm, and the food was good, so the morning was off to a good start. We left the Cruz Azul early to get some work done.
One of my favorite little girls from Ojo de Agua
When we got to the school, our first order of business was to finish the last coat of paint on the outside. Afterwards, we turned our attention to our first classroom, and got our first coat of paint down. The workers were still in the other classroom, so unfortunately we still weren’t able to do anything there.
The kids and the puppets they made (I'm in the back)
The fun and challenging part of the day for me was helping the dentistry group with their project. They wanted me to lead the kids in an art project while they did dental screenings in the back of the class with each kid. So basically, I had to effectively explain the activity and help the kids with each step. They choose either a tooth or toothbrush drawing, colored it, cut it, and taped it to a tongue depressor stick. They kids were really fast, so most made more than one. It was cute when some kids tried to exactly match the colors of the examples the dentistry team made. I chatted with the kids a little bit after they were done, then it was time to move on to the next class.
Unfortunately, there weren’t enough drawings for the kids to make more than one with our next group. So I had to come up with some more distraction techniques. Working with the other class gave me the idea to teach the kids the English words for whatever Spanish word they wanted to know. That took up a good chunk of time – all the kids had a bunch of words they were curious about. I filled up the rest of the time answering the kids questions – mostly about my family. My favorite was “What is your grandmas name?”
The kids pick out their crayons
After helping the dentistry team, I helped paint and clean again. We got a ride back to the Cruz Azul for lunch thanks to Felix. There were the Mexican equivalent of pop-up shops in from of the Cruz Azul. I got my mom an hand-beaded necklace in exchange for the one she had given me for the trip. I got my dad some pimiento stuff for cooking with (which unfortunately didn’t survive the trip back). Lunch was good as usual, and we were granted a small siesta to relax.
Going back to the Cruz Azul, we brought with us two people from the theater group. They helped us finish up for the day and drew the Iowa Tigerhawk on the front of the school building. The kids loved it. The rest of the work went very fast. Once we were done, we had time to play with the kids
The Iowa Tigerhawk!
who stayed after school. They drew us pictures – including their interpretations of the Tigerhawk. Too cute.
The cutest baby poodles, ever.
We had some time to go to the square before dinner, so we did a little bit more shopping. I got Matt a Juventus jersey. We saw the cutest, smallest baby poodles – It was all I could do not to steal one. We luckily had time to shower before dinner again, then recapped with Stacey. Afterwards, Dez and I decided to see what the other groups were up to at night, since ours wasn’t interested in going out. Unfortunately, although Dez is Mexican drink legal, Rotary clearly stated that anyone in violation of the under-21 American drinking law would be sent home. But we still had fun playing pool and visited a restaurant with the Rotary seal on its doors. It was fun getting to know some of the other group members we hadn’t previously been able to talk to.
The first night trying to sleep was the worst. In the girls dorm, there was a lot of snoring, some weird bell ringing, and some very loud chickens that got up before the crack of dawn. On top of that, people kept randomly getting up to use the bathroom or shower – right next to where I was sleeping. Luckily, when I got out of bed, the showers were warm (people showering the night before did not have such luck).
Our first breakfast was delicious and led me to a new favorite – pan dulce (sweet rolls). I ended up eating them every day for the rest of the week. I also tried papaya – not so much a fan. Jim (one of the head honchos) brought out some fungus tacos. I politely declined – one new thing at a time.
The adorable "doctors" and "nurses" of Cruz Rojo
We wandered around downtown until 9am, when we met Ted at a well known coffee chain – Cafe Bunte. Ted led us to the Cruz Rojo (Red Cross) instead of our original plan to go to Ojo de Agua. We waited around for a bit and observed our surroundings. There was to be a speech to benefit local service clubs – the Lions, Red Cross, and Rotary. The mayor of Xicotepec led the festivites, and after the speech, we were hustled for money by adorable children dressed as doctors and nurses. A check was also given to Rotary.
With the mayor of Xicotepec!
Shortly after, a kind man named Felix picked us up in his truck to take us to Ojo de Agua. The drive may have been the scariest I’ve ever experienced, if not for car rides later that day and week. We piled into the back and hoped for the best as we quickly drove down steep hills and off-roaded for a bit.
When we got to the school, it was time for me to shine. With the group, I had prepared a list of questions to ask the principal and translated them. I introduced myself and our group to him and he gave us the breakdown of what we were and weren’t allowed to do.
After some formal conversation with the principal, we introduced ourselves to the kids who shook our hands and said, “Buenas dias!” to all of us. Then we got to work figuring out the best way to handle our project. We could only work on one room of the school that day, because some workers were putting in plaster in the other room. Our room was filled with junk. We started taking it out, but it didn’t take long. The kids rushed in, eager to help. We had what could have taken an hour done in 15 minutes.
The workers in the other classroom helped us mix whitewash and we got started with that while Nate, Chelsea, and Stacy went to get our painting supplies. The kids wanted to help again, but we had to shoo them away so they wouldn’t get their uniforms dirty. We also discovered that distraction techniques were very effective at keeping the kids away from our work area. Distraction techniques involve anything from school yard games to soccer. After we finished whitewashing, we all played with the kids until the rest of our group returned. I taught them how to play Duck Duck Goose.
A couple other groups were at Ojo de Agua that day. The dentist team came mostly to set up their projects for the rest of the week. I talked to their leader Julie about helping them in whatever way I could over fresh fruit given to us by the moms. Although we were warned not to eat cut fruit (it could be washed in unclean water), we were told it was ok to eat. We played with the kids some more, than were brought back to the Cruz Azul for lunch.
The kids show us their "trompos." More on that soon.
Dez and I went to the market with the high school kids for some better cleaning supplies. We got a little lost on the way back and took the long way. We chatted with a bunch of people – a kid, an older woman (who doubled as a landmark for Dez), and some more kids. We heard a couple of them call out “Gringos!” (considered a term of endearment for North Americans) as we descended the path to Ojo de Agua. We were starting to get tired thanks to the extra walking, but Felix found us on his way down and we jumped in his truck.
We got back to Ojo de Agua to discover that our paint was locked up and inaccessible. Fortunately, we stayed on schedule by getting started with another project the principal requested we do. We had accessible paint for the outside of the buildings and started working on that.
Some of the little kids hung around after school was out and gave us drawings they made for us. We talked to them while taking breaks and learned more about them. Like the kids at the orphanage, they love taking pictures. We also “interviewed” them on Nate’s iPad.
We managed to finish the outside of both buildings (save for a second coat of paint) and Felix drove us back to the Cruz Azul. We showered the paint off, then played C-A-B-A-L-L-O (horse) with some of the local Rotarian’s kids for a bit before dinner.
After dinner, we debriefed again and Stacy complimented us on our flexibility. Today could’ve gone a whole different way if not for our adaptability. We went to the internet cafe again after dinner, and it was straight to bed when we got back.
Dinner – bread with beans, cheese and ham, mangos, mini bananas, pan dulce (sweet bread)
The view from the bus
We got up early, because the buses were leaving for Xicotepec at 9am. Audri and I went to breakfast where we were greeted with some strange concoction of eggs and hot dogs – they don’t often do that in America. We ate up, since we weren’t sure when we were going to eat next. We had a chance to talk to some people we hadn’t met through our class – including a recent graduate who went to Xicotepec in previous years as a student.
Soon after, we packed our group into two charter buses. We had a three hour ride ahead of us, so many of us got busy doing homework, sleeping, or chatting. There was so much beautiful scenery… I could easily have filled up an album with the pictures I took on our way there. The deeper we got into the mountains, the bumpier the ride got. We stopped halfway through at the Mexican version of a truck stop, and people loaded up on snacks.
The girls dorm at the Cruz Azul
It was about noon when we made it to our final destination – the Cruz Azul. We had plenty of time to move in and get settled, then did some exploring with the Career Leadership Academy group. We walked the route that was soon to become familiar – the way to Ojo de Agua. Ojo de Agua is the indigenous school where the bulk of our project was spent. Ted (one of the head honchos of the Xicotepec project) acted as our guide and led us down the steepest hills I’ve ever scaled. He explained how just a year ago they weren’t paved. Rotary International really is amazing in that they make small changes that inspire the government to
Ojo de Agua - the school we worked at during the week
step in and make even more.
We got a good look at the school and adjusted our expectations for the week as necessary after seeing how big the buildings looked. On our way back to the Cruz Azul, we went through the market that gets set up on Sundays and Thursdays in the square. It had everything you could ever want – cheese, meat, vegetables, fruit, and non-food items like clothes, toys, school supplies, and various other knick-knacks. After the market, we stopped by one of Ted’s favorite bakeries (that became mine, too). Everything was two pesos (well under a dollar). Mexican bakeries make their pastries for the afternoon, so they were hot and fresh. Afterwards, we returned to the Cruz Azul for our first meal there, which didn’t disappoint.
Bakery by Ojo de Agua
We had some free time after lunch to get a better feel for the town. Our group returned to the market to make some purchases (mine was a change purse, because I had forgotten one). Dez also bought some school supplies for the orphanage we visited later that day. We checked out another couple of stores, including a fully-stocked candy store, then
The market in town
came back to the Cruz Azul and hopped on a bus to the orphanage.
Perhaps 30 minutes later, we got off the bus and introduced ourselves to the kids. We started a game of soccer, which wouldn’t be the last of the week. After thoroughly exhausting myself running with the ball, I met an adorable little girl named Esmeralda. Esmeralda is a budding photog who demanded our cameras and took many great photos. After our batteries died, Esmeralda entertained us by demanding our participation in whatever game came to mind. We had way too much fun.
Esmeralda - the official photographer of the orphanage we visited
It started raining, so we went inside. The pharmacy and nursing students were doing physicals, deworming, and giving fluoride to the kids. We helped keep the waiting kids entertained by coloring with them. I got two pictures – one from my favorite (Esmeralda) and another from adorable little boy named Adrian.
After the pharmacy and nursing projects were done, we were lucky to be able to participate in a yearly ceremony where the Rotarians give the children shoes that they previously picked out. They are probably the only new shoes they get in the year, so it’s quite an emotional process. Completely by accident, I was given Esmeralda’s box. It made me so
Giving Esmeralda her shoes!
happy to be the one to give her shoes to her.
What is a “Suitcase Child”? Esmeralda definitely was one. Basically, a Suitcase Child is one you’d love to bring home via your suitcase. I think everyone had one in mind that day.
We got back to the Cruz Azul later at night at dinner and had a fun time chatting with more Rotarians. Afterwards, our CLA group recapped our day with Stacy and planned for our first work day. A couple of us sought out an internet cafe afterwards for a much needed link back home.
A final thought – One thing I really learned from today was that talking with Spanish-speaking children is the best practice. They don’t understand broken Spanish so well, so you have to get what you want to say down in order to communicate.
Here’s a video Nate made for our first day in Xicotepec.
Lunch – Two sandwiches at the airport. One bought, one on the plane
Dinner – Enchiladas with spicy chocolate mole
The day started bright and early – the first of a week’s worth of early days. We got on the bus for what would be a three hour bus ride. I sat next to Nate and Bryan and we played UNO and Phase 10. I kicked their butts at UNO, but Bryan dominated both of us at Phase 10. Soon enough, we made it to the airport, got our boarding passes and made it through security. We played Garbage (card game) while waiting to board the plane, the finally got on. Most of the flight for me was spent reading up on Consumer Behavior and sleeping.
I was so excited when we finally touched down in Mexico. I had to go through customs twice since I checked the wrong item on my form (oops). I got to interact with my first Spanish speakers while waiting, though. On the other side, Dezi’s mom was waiting for us with water, gatorade, snacks, and toilet paper as well as a sign “Bienvenidos Hawkeyes!”
I was put in charge of getting us to the Hotel. It wasn’t too hard — just relaying the address to the driver and making sure he understood. But I wanted to get more practice time with a Spanish speaker before heading down to Xicotepec. The bus driver (Horatio) and I talked about the art, culture, and music of Mexico City. We soon got to the hotel, where I was rooming with Audrey. She made it to Mexico City a day early. After we got settled in, we adventured out to the streets of Mexico City in search of food. We found a restaurant that the Rotarians frequent during their stays in Mexico City and I was given another chance to interact with a native Spanish speaker. Unfortunately, she didn’t understand me as well as the other people I had talked to so far. Regardless, we ate delicious food and had a great first night in Mexico City.
Ok, so once you’ve found your perfect padfolio, it’s time to outfit it for your job search.
A good padfolio has room for a pad of paper, a penholder, business card holder (both for yours and those you meet with), a folder to store paper, and room for other random items.
So make sure you’ve filled your padfolio with paper and pen, first and foremost.
Vistaprint business cards - 250 for $10 (includes shipping)
Secondly, if you don’t have a business card… get one. Vistaprint offers 250 premium business cards for $10 (that includes shipping). Networking happens everywhere. Make it easy for people to get in touch with you, and they will. Business cards will also make you stand out.
Zephyr Printing in Iowa City has affordable pricing for getting your resume printed
Third, always carry a few copies of your updated resume in your padfolio. I strongly suggest you get it printed on professional resume paper. Zephyr Copies in Iowa City will do it for about $0.10 a page, depending on how high of quality you’re after. It’s another really easy way to stand out, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Fourth, an often forgotten step in the interview process is to thank your interviewer as soon after the interview as possible. Simplify the process by carrying pre-stamped envelopes and appropriate thank you cards in your padfolio. Soon after the interview, fill out the thank you and stick it in the mail. Don’t forget to ask your interviewer for a business card so you know where to send it!
Finally, its a good idea to write down some questions and company facts in your padfolio before the interview. Don’t be afraid to jot down additional information during the interview – it’s expected.
What other things would you suggest a person carry in their padfolio?
As mentioned previously on this blog (and elsewhere in my social presence), I LOVE to travel.
This past weekend marked the first trip I’ve gone on since winter break, and the first time I’ve been to Madison, Wisconsin. I was chosen to represent the University of Iowa (along with 3 other students) in the Big 10 Leadership Case Competition. A few days before the competition, one of our team members dropped out. Although we were at a disadvantage, we were still excited to compete. We got into Madison a day before the competition and settled in. The University of Wisconsin-Madison generously put us up in the Madison Concourse Hotel and hosted us for dinner at Brickhouse BBQ. There we met the other competing teams and swapped stories of where we came from. Afterwards, a couple of us went out to explore downtown Madison. We woke up bright and early the next day at Grainger Hall – Wisconsin’s business school. After a delicious breakfast we got to work on our case: it was about business decisions in the pharmaceutical industry. We struggled to hit every target with our 3 team members, but pulled together a decent presentation in the allotted amount of time. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. But we made the most of our time in Madison. We spent the rest of the night with our new Big 10 friends and vowed to return next year if at all possible.
This coming weekend will be the first time I’ve ever been to Mexico. I’m going on a service project through the Career Leadership Academy and Rotary International. We will be there for the entire spring break and I’m really nervous, but excited. Our group has plans to clean and paint some elementary school rooms, help a local youth group organize a clothing drive, and meet local university students – as well as collaborate with other University of Iowa groups on their projects. I will share pictures and stories as soon as I return!
Finally, I’m looking forward to a summer trip to San Diego, CA. I was recently asked to continue on as a Sony Student Ambassador for the next school year. My job with Sony is challenging – but in a good way. I’ve learned a lot about marketing and networking: valuable skills for my post-grad career search. I’m looking forward to meeting other student ambassadors this summer while exploring another city I’ve never had the opportunity to travel to. Perhaps we will even get new products to demo!
I’m working on two other opportunities for summer travel. More on those if they prove fruitful!
At my recent product demos, the Bloggie camera has received a lot of interest and attention. Can you blame my audience? The Bloggie camera is very portable, feature-filled, and quite affordable. But which Bloggie is right for you and your lifestyle?
I have the Bloggie Touch and I love it. It’s the perfect camera for a person who wants to shoot HD video on the go. Its standard features are listed later on, but let me introduce you to two new Bloggie models, first:
The Bloggie Sport was designed with the sports enthusiast and adventurer in mind. Some features of the Sport include:
Three colors to choose from: red, blue, and black
The Bloggie Live was designed for entertainers and bloggers who want the capability to stream videos live as they’re taking them. It has all the standard features of a Bloggie video camera, but comes with 8GB of storage, and optimizes videos for the web.
And what do all these amazing cameras have in common?
Touch screen LCD for editing and viewing
5 megapixel digital still images
Face detection, low light performance, noise cancellation, and more
Ability to tag people and select target social networks before you upload
Convenient USB arm pops out for uploading and charging
Which one is right for you? Check out more Bloggie specifics at sony.com/UIowa