In the beginning, it felt like it would never come, but now the end of the journey has arrived. I have learned so much during my time working at Fundación Reciclo, especially how effective working collectively can be. Coming from a previous internship in the oil and gas industry in a company in downtown Houston, I was very used to working individually and being assigned my own personal projects to work on while my coworkers do the same. It was not until I got to Chile did I really begin to understand what teamwork and collaboration in a work setting consist of.
I have discovered that, personally, working collaboratively has made me a much more motivated and efficient worker because by forcing me to work on a team with other people, it forces me to be more cautious and aware of my work since I know that I will be held accountable for my mistakes to a larger degree. This feeling of having other people directly depending on me to keep up my end of the bargain helps me rise to the occasion and perform better.
The image above depicts my internship territorial diagnosis team and I walking through the community to survey the locals.
During the last week of my internship, the projects that each team worked on from the beginning were proven to be very interconnected despite focusing on different objectives. It was because of this that the collaborative aspect of my job can be seen. For example, the job of the waste analysis team provided insight on which types of wastes to bring attention to during the workshops, which would be run by another team. Additionally, the success of those workshops was also reliant on the amount of community involvement from the locals, which the territorial waste diagnosis team advertised as they surveyed the neighborhood from door-to-door.
The image above depicts some of the waste that we collected and sorted from the neighbors. This helped the team see which type of waste was most common so we could target waste management systems for those first.
The ending of our time working at Fundación Reciclo was very meaningful as our boss reached out to all of us and gave us memorabilia of this experience, teaching us the importance of communication and to avoid being comfortable because confining yourself in a bubble of your own culture will stunt your cultural development. The bridges we have formed by studying abroad in Chile has allowed us to become more accustomed to helping others in places where one might find it difficult to, and the world needs more of those people. Our boss then bestowed upon us keys to signify that as students we have the “key” to changing the world and the communities that we come across.
The image above was taken at the last neighborhood workshop and our boss, Diego (wearing orange), gave all of us cards with a key attached to it (difficult to see the key in the image) to be a reminder of the power we have to make an impact in any community we may end up in.
Fortunately, we had the opportunity to help out the people of Cerro Las Delicias, and although we will not physically be in Chile to contribute to the community, our work does not stop there. Given the limited resources of this nonprofit organization, the 8 UT students that worked there have taken it upon ourselves to start a fundraiser and send the profits made to our boss. With the money, we hope that the organization can pay for some necessities, such as a repairing the roof to the community center/work office or to buy materials needed for the garbage bins needed for the waste management system.
The image above depicts the fundraiser started by the 8 UT engineering students. The goal is to sell 100 shirts, which would yield a profit of $500 USD and be transferred to Fundación Reciclo.