This summer, we will feature guest posts from students who received a Dingman Center scholarship to participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps (MSEC). They will share their experiences learning about social entrepreneurship while consulting with local businesses in Latin America for eight weeks this summer. Learn more about MSEC here.
by: Yuvraj Walia ’21
Living in Ecuador and interning with the Social Entrepreneur Corps has given me first-hand experience with the unique culture and rich history of the country. My internship has not only exposed me to the problems that different local businesses face, but also an entirely new perspective on how others live their lives. From participating in the indigenous festival of Inti Raymi or consulting with a local artisanal women’s organization, I have been given the rare opportunity to immerse myself into a new culture. When I am not living in Ñamarin or Pulinguí, two small villages in the mountains of Ecuador, I am staying in the small city of Cuenca. With its colonial architecture and old Incan ruins, the city is heavily influenced by Spanish culture while also staying true to its indigenous roots. Personally, I love Cuenca because of the curiosity and openness of the locals. One example of this is when my Spanish teacher went around the room and asked each of us if we believed in God. When she received answers from all sides of the religious spectrum, she proceeded to teach the lesson of that day per usual. These intimate questions are just a glimpse into the vast cultural differences between Ecuadorian and U.S. culture.