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Thursday 19 August 2004
Working abroad: James Eder
Written by James Eder, AIESEC member
AIESECers in a club
AIESECers in a club in Cartagena

James Eder is sharing his business skills with local people in Colombia this summer.

He's travelling abroad with the AIESEC student organisation, and he's writing a regular diary on BBC Birmingham.


Stevie Cameron
Stevie's in The Philippines.
Diary 1
Diary 2
CSR Conference
Diary 3
Diary 4

Andrew Webster
Andrew's in India.
Diary 1
Diary 2
Culture Shock!
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

Jess Rudkin
Jess is working in the Czech Republic.
Diary 1
Diary 2
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

James Eder
James is sharing his marketing skills with local people in Colombia.
Diary 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Diary 6 - Aims
Diary 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
Diary 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
Diary 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

Working with AIESEC
Jame Eder introduces the student organisation.

AIESEC in Birmingham
Amaneeta Shokur explains more about AIESEC and how she is involved.

Scheila came to Birmingham from Brazil on a student scheme run by AIESEC.

Students index

Profile of the South American country from BBC News.

Follow James' travels on this map of Colombia from Lonely Planet.

James' photos
Check out James' prints online.

Official website for the UK.

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Population: 44.2 million (UN, 2003)
Capital: Bogota
Major language: Spanish
Major religion: Christianity
Money: 1 Colombian peso = 100 centavos
Exports: Petrol, coffee, coal, gold, bananas, flowers, chemicals, emeralds, cotton,, sugar, livestock


AIESEC (pronounced "i-sek") stands for the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce.

AIESEC is the world's largest international student organisation with 30,000 members in over 86 countries.

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Eduardo goes to Sheffield
Eduardo's party
Eduardo's party (James is third right)

Another week on here and time is racing by. Mid-week we had a goodbye for Eduardo, one of the local AIESECers who is off to Sheffield in the UK. It is like a literal exchange as this is where Juliet is at university. More of a coincidence is that Juliet is staying with him & his family here and he helped her settle in here, while in a few months it will be Juliet who is partially responsible for Eduardo when in Sheffield.

Meeting Avianca Air Miles Youth Foundation

After emailing the President of Avianca, the National Colombian airline, I received a response within 24 hours and I had arranged a meeting with the regional manager on Friday afternoon. Juan K attended the meeting with me.

The meeting was to discuss an idea I've had which is to establish an Air Miles Youth Development Foundation. The concept of the foundation is to create an interface where individual consumers can donate Air Miles, or frequent flyer points they have collected while individuals can apply to utilize these donated miles. People who might benefit would include people doing aid-work in another country, people running an international marathon, relief workers needing flights after a natural disaster etc.

Giving more people opportunities

Although the presentation was focused on this area and not directly related to the foundation I am currently working for, I suggested that they might be interested in working with the NGO locally as well as AIESEC; establishing a similar partnership potentially that the UK has with British Airways.

The aim of the meeting and the Air Miles foundation is to give people in general more opportunities. I know I have been so lucky as to have experienced last summer in the Philippines and this summer in Colombia, I would really like to see more people have the opportunities I have been given, as I know I have changed in so many ways through my experiences and am definitely a better person for it. These experiences break down barriers and assist understanding between different cultures in the world.

Off to Cartegena

Cartegena Old Town
Cartegena's Old Town

On Saturday a group of us were off again on another trip, this time in the opposite direction to Santa Marta: we were going to Cartagena, until Monday, for a long weekend (another national holiday had arrived).

Dan was originally supposed to meet us at Cartagena but he turned up before we left. He was told he was working on Saturday - only wait outside his office for an hour to find his boss had not turned-up. He was frustrated, but also pleased, as we could all head to Cartagena as one group.

Buying jewellery
Dan & Sonya buy jewellery

Cartagena is around two hours away from Barranquilla and is situated on the Caribbean coast. The drive by coach was fine, all except for an area we drove through that we felt like we were being poisoned, the smell of petrol fumes were horrendous, with many people in the streets holding petrol cans and containers; We assumed it must be a filling station for locals.

Walking in Cartegena
Exploring the town

Arriving at the terminal we were greeted by Laura, from Strathclyde who is doing a CEED (Cultural Envoy for Exchange Development) in Cartagena, as well as a local AIESECer.

We then travelled into the city through the slums. There is a distinct difference between Cartagena and Barranquilla: Cartagena generally appears poorer as a whole, however the rich appear richer. The Old Town is really beautiful and it was a good change of scenery.

Rhthym of the night

After walking around the old city that evening, Laura took us to one of the clubs she has been to before.

James eating chips
James eating post-club chips

Not long into the night, we were greeted by the sound of drums while the music in the club came to a halt, the door opened and in marched a group of Smirnoff Ice branded drummers along with a team of promotional staff handing out free Smirnoff Ice, making sure that everyone who wanted one had one.

As the drumming faded into the background when they left, the salsa and Latin American music came back on… Another great night.

Written by James Eder

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