Make The Connection

November 6, 2018 | By Cole Hatcher

OWU students Taimur Iftikhar ’20 (left) and Avianna Carmoega ’20 completed international OWU Connection experiences working for the nonprofit Human Connections organization in Bucerías, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Avianna Carmoega)

Making Human Connections

Ohio Wesleyan Student Interns in Mexico with Nonprofit Social Enterprise

Name: Avianna Carmoega ’20
: Business Administration (Marketing Concentration) and Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Hometown: Somerville, Massachusetts
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Traveling to Bucerías, Mexico”

Carmoega spent seven weeks in Mexico in June and July completing an internship with Human Connections, a nonprofit social enterprise. Human Connections seeks to “empower local communities while fostering conversations that shift perspectives and increase understanding. We believe that responsible travel has the power to effect positive social change.”

My work

“For the projects I did with Human Connections, I personally had to do research on other organizations in the area that are competition for the organization.

“I collected this information, and we used this to further set Human Connections apart from other responsible tourism companies. Using competition is a great way to see what other organizations are doing right and wrong.”

Lessons learned

“This experience helped me figure out what I like and don’t like in terms of work and how I work with a group in a professional setting. I also got to travel and explore different areas of Nayarit, Mexico, and I learned about the different cultures there.

“I stayed with a very hardworking and caring host family, and I worked hard to get more comfortable speaking Spanish. I only spoke Spanish with my host family, and I met with someone once a week for the optional “intercambio” language exchange program. …

“I was working on many marketing projects and speaking Spanish most of the time. These both relate back to my business marketing class and Spanish courses.”

Ohio Wesleyan students Michelle Rukeyser ’19 (left), Taimur Iftikhar ’20, and Avianna Carmoega ’20 explore Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico, and share a little ‘OWU’ spirit. . (Photo courtesy of Avianna Carmoega)

My plans after graduation

“After being in Bucerías, Mexico, for seven weeks, I know a lot more about myself and the type of work I would like to do after college. …

“I would like to work for a nonprofit either on the West Coast or the East Coast (of the U.S.) I really would like to get some work experience and start brainstorming ideas for my own business. I really want to create a nonprofit organization or maybe a social enterprise that will work to fight hunger or homelessness.

“I have always been passionate about supporting the homeless and working to end hunger problems since I believe our planet has all of the resources to do so. It is just a matter of figuring out how!”


Why I chose OWU

“I mainly chose OWU because of all the travel opportunities and grants to support travel-learning. That really drew me in because it was something that I was not really seeing at other schools. …

“Without this grant, I would not have been able to afford this experience. I am grateful to The OWU Connection, which makes students able to have equal opportunities and gives students the ability to learn outside of the classroom or even outside of the country. …

“I also have some family members who live in Dayton, Ohio, so that is how Ohio got on the map for me, seeing that I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts. … It is a choice that I have never regretted, and I really enjoy being a student here.”