What I Learned in Antigua
In terms of Antigua I learned a lot about what they do and how their businesses work. Early in the morning people set up their “tents” to sell fruit, vegetables, and really many different types of food. Some people even sell clothes and really whatever their “business” consists of.
Their marketing in general is very different. I think in America we use a lot of social media and billboards and really just use every platform we can- We bombard people through social media because we always have our phones in our hands and it’s the easiest way to reach one another in the United States. I feel like Antigua relies heavily on word of mouth. Generally they walk everywhere and try to know their surroundings in and out. So their way to communicate is from one person to another person to make a connection, friend or buyer. We experienced this a few times. When we didn’t know what we could do for the day and someone said, “You should try going _____” we usually ended up going there to try something new or really just to look around. So therefore they accomplished their goal because we gave in and tried/looked at it.
As far as their culture goes it is very different. Antiguans are intrapersonal. They are more person to person and do not rely on their cell phones, service or what not. Their communication is from one person to the next. They do not have much service there and when you do it is slow.
I had experiences with the different culture that surprised me and actually made me realize things about myself. One of those experiences was at church. There were a few things that the pastor said that spoke volumes to me. Things in life that I was or am worried about and the few pieces of advice/information really helped me through a problem I have been going through and having. The church style was different, but it really opened my eyes to certain things.
The culture was different in so many other aspects. The locals were, for the most part, almost always trying to “hustle” people and get them to spend their money on their products. It was great to see their tactics and know how they worked and how they didn’t. There were people who would just ask and when they are shut down once they took the “no” for an answer and others would pester a bit. It was crazy to change from a place where one person saying no doesn’t quite affect business because you know there will still be someone who will come into the store. In Antigua the sellers had to go find the consumers and they have to gamble with whether or not they will even get one customer. Unfortunately for us it got annoying at times, but as a business major I had a little bit of respect for it.
The things I learned on this trip went from as little as bread fruit is a vegetable to as big as the whole history on the Senate and how politics in Antigua differs from the United States. I cannot express or explain how much I learned.
When going to a different country you have to keep an open mind. I will say I am a person who usually always has to have a plan and know what is going on and lay everything out before it happens. I worked on that a lot and in Antigua. I did not have all the information and I did not let that bother me. For the first few days I was very stressed and concerned because I felt like we didn’t actually have a plan nor know what we were doing. I had to learn to be okay with whatever was going to happen next and go with the flow.
This trip helped me realize an important part of my future. Traveling. I thought I wanted to do it in my future and now I KNOW I do. There are so many places I need to see. I have so many places that I have in mind now and that is one thing I don’t want to sacrifice. I can see myself traveling all over the world.
I could go on and on about what I learned and what I loved the most about this trip, but honestly I think the trip spoke for itself and it’s very hard to put into words I honestly could write a book about this and how great it was, but even that wouldn’t put in the perspective of how beautiful it truly was. I think no matter how well someone describes Antigua it could never compare to actually experiencing the island itself and I highly recommend every student to take this. It was a great class and I would love to do it again in another country.