Friday, November 23, 2007

My Trip Expectations

I've been really looking forward to this trip, despite the extended time away from my family. More than a few people have told me how much this trip could change my perspective and my life. It's interesting, in my experience, those things that really change you aren't planned activities. So while the trip itself has been planned, I've been thinking about what expectations I have of this trip and what I hope to get out of it, both professionally and personally.

As a marketer, I'll be specifically looking at how the IRC brand (and other brands) are represented overseas. I think it will be especially interesting to see what sorts of marketing and advertising other aid agencies are doing in Kenya and Ethiopia.

I am also more than eager to meet and get to know my international colleagues. These people are amazing and every time I have a chance to meet them and get to know them gives me more and more respect for what they do, how they do it and where they do what they do. I really have no framework in my own experience for working full time outside of the United States, let alone in dangerous areas of the world. My eyes are wide open.

Ever since I took the job at the IRC I've been learning more and more about the rest of the world. One of the more interesting things I hope to discover for myself is how the rest of the world perceives the United States. I hope to find smart people who can talk to me about what America looks like from the outside. I think this is the thing that will be most interesting for me because it affects not only my own perceptions of who I am, but how best to start to transform the IRC into a truly global brand.

I expect that as an American who grew up in New York, and lived in California, I do have a set of rose-colored glasses as to what the world is really like. The more and more I've read, the more I question the core principles that I hold to be the truth. The American Dream concept and the notion that "if you can dream it, you can do it" feel shallow when I think about the refugee experience. I feel confused in thinking that those bromides aren't true for all human beings. I have this feeling I'm about to jump out of the matrix into the real world. This is making me both nervous, and excited simultaneously.

Perhaps there will be a woman in a red dress. We'll see.

No comments: