My final activity in Colombia was perhaps the most surreal and exciting of all. During my last weekend in Colombia I had the privilege of working with the Purdue All-American Marching Band as a translator and organizer during their visit to the Feria de las Flores, a large flower festival in Medellín. Through the hard work of many Purdue staff members and students, the city government of Medellín, RutaN, and the organizers of the festival, over 200 members of the marching band performed in city plazas, at a local flower farm, and at the start of a bike race. A small part of the band and I were even able to attend a luncheon with some of the most powerful industry and academic leaders of Colombia and Purdue. However, the most impactful performance for me was in the amazing flower parade that marks the end of the festival. The band selected to perform two of the theme songs of the festival, and they could not have made a better selection. The spectators of the parade were so excited they were shouting the words to the songs and applauding louder than I have heard at any other parade in my life. Some even began to dance and throw flowers in admiration for the band. I had goosebumps the entire time.
Through this experience I was able to share a small taste of the culture I have fallen madly in love with during the last 7 months with a group of people from my favorite university. I also am extremely happy because I feel that Purdue University has left a significant impression on the people of Medellín and Colombia. I could not imagine a more exciting or meaningful end to my experience.
However, I know this isn’t the end. With the experiences I have had and the connections I have made, I am working to create a successful career in Colombia. And all of this is thanks to our old Purdue. Boiler up!