The project that I completed in May was through the Office of Global Business’ Global Projects Program: Non-Profit in London, UK. I was on a team of six Ohio State students that was tasked with helping the US-based non-profit organization Soles 4 Souls expand into Europe and particularly the United Kingdom by mainly focusing on locating a storage facility and finding an efficient way to sort and ship all of the donated shoes.
I learned a lot about the way English people do business and how different it is from the interactions that I have encountered here in the US. All of this taught me to always be prepared for whatever is coming your way and to not get thrown off if unexpected experiences occur because those might be the best ones.
We had the opportunity to meet with big British shoe brands like Hotter, Office, and Bobux and the whole structure of the way the meeting were held and executed. There was never a clear agenda to any of the meeting so the plan seemed as though we were going to follow whatever topics get brought up without a clear structure. However there was a lot of humor incorporated into the overall theme of the meetings, which was enjoyable and made business fun. When it come to experiences that did not involve the project, it was also things that I did not quite expect. Before this project took place I had been to Blackpool, England but not London. So naturally I thought that London was going to be the same culturally. But I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumption. Surprisingly, to me at least, London was the most diversified place that I have ever been to when it come to the people and the mixture of cultures that reside within it. For example, there is an astonishing amount of French people that live in London. I ended up speaking more French than I thought I would going to London. Practicing my French and enjoying their delicious bakeries and cuisine was definitely a great bonus to the trip. I also unexpectedly ran into Chinatown in the heart of London where I experienced bits of Asian cultures like trying dumplings for the first time at Dumpling Legends and seeing a numbered menu for the first time at Imperial China.
This project was very influential in my life as sometime in my career I would like to contribute heavily to a meaningful non-profit organization either as an employee, a board member, or a donor. Being a part of the impact that they make is truly something special. This trip overall had a great effect on me because I fell in love with the city of London and its melting pot of cultures and people in addition to my project teammates that I will have a friendship with for the rest of my life.