It´s hard to believe that I have been working in Barcelona for more than a month now and only have three weeks left. Last week, I attended another investment forum to hear pitches and explain our investment process to a group of startups from South Korea. To my surprise, my boss had me go by myself this time. It was definitely intimidating at first because I am still very new to my company and not that familiar with the venture capital investment process. However, they were all very nice and I think it ending up going well. I am definitely surprised but also very happy that my boss trusted me to represent the company all on my own.
The language barrier was not a problem because all of the South Koreans spoke English very well. It is amazing to me that almost everyone I meet abroad speaks at least three or four different languages, while in the United States people are surprised if you are even bilingual. I feel embarrassed when someone offers to speak French, Catalan or Spanish with me and I can only confidently speak in English. This has made me realize that we are definitely sheltered in the United States, and that I really need to put an effort in to learn about other cultures.
If you would have told me a month ago that I would be explaining investment strategies to South Korean businessmen, I would have thought you were crazy. I have always been a shy person, especially when it comes to speaking with people who have higher positions than me, such as professors or my supervisors at work. While I am getting a lot out of my experience here in Barcelona, I think that the most valuable thing may be an increase in confidence. Living in a new place, having to speak a different language and meeting people from all around the world has forced me out of my comfort zone. I am excited to see how far I can come in the next 3 weeks and how this will change things when I return to the United States.
On another note, I traveled to Cinque Terre, Italy last weekend with some of my friends. The area consists of group of five small villages on the mountainous northwest coast of Italy. We spent time hiking between the villages, taking trains through the mountains and relaxing on a boat. It was great to get out of the city and explore a place that is so different from Barcelona.