Global Business Brigades Trip to Panama
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Jason LaFata

Jason LaFata

Majors: Finance, Philosophy
Minor: International Business
Hometown: Wyomissing, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A friend informed me about this group and abroad opportunity.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My trip to Panama was like no other experience. I lived in a room with 41 Penn State students. Our compound had limited water and electricity, and we used latrines. There were no walls around our room, so most of us used mosquito nets to prevent bugs from crawling over us at night. Living in these conditions made me appreciate what we normally take for granted in the developed world.

Interacting with the community members was also an amazing experience. The community members were fairly interactive and told us about their lifestyle, and asked for help in marketing, accounting, business strategy, and savings. Despite being poor, the community members were very active and ambitious. They want the best for their children and their families. When we finished the training activities, we had the opportunity to practice Spanish and play with the kids. Many of the community members really appreciated our help and wanted us to come back soon. The fact that they said this to us is very special, and I would recommend this rewarding experience to all majors.

“Because of this experience, I will continue volunteering in ways that will make a difference in other people’s lives.”

How did this experience impact you academically?

The biggest thing I learned from teaching the Ipeti community is that simple concepts go a long way. My group made an accounting sheet for one of the community family members so that she could keep track of money coming in and out of her business. After a few practice examples, Elsa understood how to use the accounting sheet and how to link it to a simplistic income statement.

What are your career goals and plans? How did this experience impact them?

After graduation, I will be working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Philadelphia as a management consultant. This experience has reinforced the idea that I want to pursue consulting as a career.

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