Maine high school student, Tiana, studied in Berlin supported by a scholarship for young women to study entrepreneurship with CIEE and returned home energized and ready to pursue her entrepreneurial passions.
This is Tiana’s story about her summer studying entrepreneurship with CIEE in Berlin:
Learning entrepreneurship with the incredible backdrop of Berlin was beyond anything I’ve ever imagined for myself. While I definitely had fun opportunities abroad, I gained many valuable lessons from my experiences. The business program I had attended a few weeks before my CIEE program had a very different attitude than Berlin’s Global Entrepreneurship classes. At the previous business program, I learned that service always comes second and social responsibility makes doing well an uphill battle. My program with CIEE had a heavy emphasis on social entrepreneurship.
Before the CIEE program, I was torn between wanting to serve my community and being interested in the business community, debating a path in the public service. However, CIEE taught me that I can honor my values AND maintain a successful business. Consumer protection is really vital to my belief system, and now I know that I can uphold that integrity from within the private sector. My experience has very much guided my upcoming career and college decisions, and I am so grateful.
Now back home in Maine, I am definitely a changed person. I have been exposed to the hard skills needed to begin a startup, and the skills have many practical applications at home. My great aunt is considering starting a small, research service and I was the first to say, “Don’t forget to do your primary AND secondary market research.” I’m guiding her through creating her own business plan iteratively and I feel good knowing that she can test the waters to craft a viable business.
On a more personal level, I feel a renewed sense of authenticity from my time away. I am definitely a shy person on the inside, but I felt uncomfortable acknowledging that part of myself. I still endeavor to take advantage of every opportunity, but I’m also okay recognizing that approaching people is hard, and I’m overcoming a challenge.
Read about the donor who supports students like Tiana here.