I write this last article with mixed feelings. Joyful about the moments I was able to experience and sad that we are reaching the end. This 5-month experience was an incredibly enriching opportunity. The value of this program was not only in the expertise we acquired and the credibility this Master’s gives us, but also in the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures.
However, the community of friends I built during this program is probably one of the most treasured things I got from this experience; and it is definitely the reason it is hard to reach the end and part ways. As I have mentioned before, we were a very diverse group of students; and because of this, we learned not only from our lectures, but also from each other. Learning about the coffee sector in different countries, and the idiosyncrasies, traditions, and forms of interaction of each culture, greatly broadened my mind.
While it was a heavy and intense program, and very tiring at times, we received a holistic understanding of coffee and learned about every aspect of the supply chain and the industry. It is evident that everyone that has taken part in this Master’s program understands the importance of getting a complete understanding of the industry and acquiring the necessary knowledge to make a difference.
So as I reach the conclusion of this series of articles and of this wonderful chapter in my life, I would like to thank the Master’s staff, our professors, and the Ernesto Illy foundation for designing this program and providing us with the opportunity to come to Italy to study. The Master’s staff went above and beyond to make sure this was an unforgettable experience, and it truly was.
I also want to encourage the organizers of this Master’s program to keep on promoting and improving the program. Education is the foundation for true sustainability; and educational programs like this, that build human capital, are essential for the progress and development of the industry. I believe that, with the knowledge and experience that was acquired through this program, many graduates (current and previous) will be returning to their countries to be industry leaders and will help improve and advance the coffee sector.
So as this chapter ends, and another begins, I will not say a ‘goodbye,’ but a ‘see you soon’ to all my friends, many of whom will be returning ‘happilly’ to their friends and long missed family. While goodbyes are always hard, I am looking forward to the next time we are all reunited, at Expo Milan 2015, where the Ernesto Illy Foundation will organize a reunion of all the graduates of this Master’s program since its inception.