The story of why I left GET and moved to Chile

I have always been passionate about the learning process. When I was studying Psychology in University I had the feeling that something was missing, but I wasn’t sure what exactly that was. In my search for an answer to that question I built GET (“Grupo Estudiantil de Emprendimiento”), where me and my partner designed learning experiences around entrepreneurship for students from different universities around the country.

When I say learning experiences, I mean things like:

Finding inspiration in a room full of antique chairs and Christmas lights (because people should be in an inspiring atmosphere to find their creative soul)

OR…

Learning how to do Sales and Marketing in a boxing gym (because sales is a daily fight and you need to KnockOut the hell out of it)

OR…

Spending 7 days on a “pirate ship” building your first product ( because you need to feel you are on a mission, to push yourself to the limit)

Building GET was a great and fun part of my life and taught me a lot about how people want to get more out of their usual academic education. It was also evident how thirsty young students were for practical knowledge and how they like to understand things by themselves. I was surprised by a group of 15 year old kids who reassembled buggies with discarded car parts they found in their neighbourhood.

My conclusion of this “building GET” part of my life was that when you create the right atmosphere and add the right design elements, people enjoy engaging in a co-learning environment. Here information is not imposed, rather knowledge is discovered and co-created.

GET made me fall in love even more with education, but I noticed how something was missing again. It was obvious that the learning paradigm had changed and people were either giving up by dropping out or hacking their own paths into learning by becoming self learners, using different online and offline platforms, and building their own companies.

This new paradigm creates a lot of opportunity for those willing to evolve but also leaves a lot of people behind who don’t know how to cope with it. It was clear for me that the events I did with GET were a good starting point, but I felt what was needed to provide real solutions was a new institution. This institution would not be one aiming to prepare us for a unique life long job. Instead it would focus on fostering an ability to adapt, to change in all its forms in the people it serves. Its aim should be to help people become more flexible in how they approach their life, allowing them to cope better with the demands of the creative economy.

This realization helped me understand what I was lacking in University: the mindset of approaching learning as an ongoing process rather than an activity to be completed. And even though we tried to promote an interdisciplinary context at GET, there was still so much to be improved.

A new chapter

I came to Chile for the first time in Fall 2014 to participate in an entrepreneurship bootcamp. Over the course of two months I learned about self-reliance, discipline, habits, and how to build a business. My colleagues were people from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Ghana, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala and from 19 to 58 years old; which whom I formed lifelong friendships. This experience helped me understand people better and approach life with a new set of lenses. My second time in Chile was in 2015 where I co-facilitated ATHENA, the first entrepreneurship bootcamp for women in Latin America. I spend eight crazy weeks watching these amazing women from all over the world discover themselves, challenge each other, and develop amazing projects

After these two experiences I decided to leave many things of my life in Colombia because I wanted to be part of the creation of this organization. I want to be crazy enough to think that we can build an institution for people who want to engage in a context of diverse thought, where people from different backgrounds, of varying age and cultural diversity learn together and work on solving their own, each other’s, and the market’s problems.

This new part of my life is called “being the Program Director of Exosphere Academy”. It is about finding new answers to my question “what is education lacking and how can it evolve?” I still don’t have an answer, so I am open for suggestions, comments, feedback or ideas. Let´s chat! Shoot me an email at victoria@exosphe.re or come have a coffe with me in viña del mar Chile, my treat.

Here is the program in which everything that I wrote comes together : http://exosphe.re/ .

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