Reflections on Tunisia

Having been back for a while now, I have had some time to reflect on our trip to Tunisia. And, for me, the most meaningful part of the trip was being able to connect with the Tunisian teams that we had been working with for 6 weeks.

For half a semester leading up to the trip, my CBS team had spent 1 hour every week video chatting with the Tunisian team about the start up that they were trying to create, a match making platform called ARTAQI that connects farmers with day laborers. Each week we would exchange dozens of emails and talk about business models, marketing strategy, and projected financial performance of their business.

On our first full day in Tunisia, we had the opportunity to finally meet our teams. We spent the 3 hours in the working session continuing to fine tune their pitch and review business model, but there was something about finally all being in the same room that made the experience so special. After our working session, each CBS team was invited into the home of the one of the Tunisian students on their team. This was truly such a special experience. After having spoken of nothing but business and business plans for the previous 2 months, it was such a great opportunity to finally get to know the students we were working with – what did they do for fun? what shows did they watch? what was the MUST TRY Tunisian dish? why did they all apply for the Open Startup Tunisia program? what memes do they enjoy?

By the end of the night, we had a really great understanding of one another and several inside jokes. I personally came out of it having learned a few Tunisian phrases that I was able to impress company representatives with throughout the rest of the trip.

It was a chance to step back from the business element and really connect with these students from across the globe. It was a wonderful experience that will stick with me well beyond my time at CBS.

— Nimra Khan ’20

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