In Economic Empowerment Program, all participants went to different places last two weeks ago based on their backgrounds and the things they want to learn in this program. For me, I am staying in Bozeman for two weeks to study IT business, start-up companies, and entrepreneurship there. In my first blog, I wrote what MONTANA means to me. This time, I’m going to write my blog what BOZEMAN means to me.
Business: In my first week in Bozeman, I spent most of my time in Oracle RightNow, www.Oracle.com, one of the branch offices of Oracle, under the arrangement of my fellowship coordinator, Rob Irizarry, http://www.linkedin.com/in/robirizarry . He is working as a director of Blackstone LaunchPad at Montana State University, Founder of CodeMontana and Founder of Kudoso.com. In the first week, I had meeting with several people to discuss about corporate structure, daily operations, market situations, human resource management, communication process, documentation process, and partner channel management. I shared my experience about Myanmar IT industry and learned a lot of best practices from them. In the second week, I went to some start-up companies in Bozeman to learn their idea, working procedures, operations, and leadership. They have different strategies, different organization culture and different philosophy about IT development and growth. It’s really interesting.
Outdoor activities: In this two week, I did a lot of outdoor activities with my host families. As the weather is getting warmer and warmer, people are enjoying outdoor activities here. I went cycling around Bozeman and in Campus of Montana State University with my host mother, Carolyn. We usually walk around our neighborhood after dinner. I went camping with my second host mother, Linda, and other two participants of EEP program who are living in Livingston, Ratana and Tin. This was my first time experience to go camping with caravan and we had fun.
Zoo in the town: Deer everywhere in town! I was amazed to see lots of animals such as deer, crane bird, turkey, rabbit in the town and near the town. We also went to Yellowstone Park, Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center, Wild Life sanctuary near Red Lodge. Although I have very little knowledge in this topic, I learned a lot here about wild life conservation and ecotourism.
Entrepreneurship: I was thinking why entrepreneurship in this area is developing before I came here. Now, I found out the answer after visiting some places in this two week. The first place I learned about entrepreneurship is at Blackstone LaunchPad office in Montana State University. It is a place for entrepreneurs to get facilities such as teleconference and consultation, guidance, and networking with other entrepreneurs and business people. This is funded by Blackstone Charitable Foundation, www.blackstone.com. Another amazing thing that they are doing here is teaching entrepreneurship class and programming class in high schools. I went with Rob to Bozeman High School to see their class and learned their curriculum. It’s awesome! So, this environment makes people to have entrepreneur mindset and increase the number of start-ups.
My host families: In this trip, I have two host families, luckily. First host family is Ric and Carolyn who were software developers in Montana State University and now they are retired and enjoy their life in Bozeman. Their daughter and daughter-in-law are working in Amazon and their son is also working in software industry. Real IT family in Bozeman! I enjoyed talking with them about our family, our life in Myanmar and also our country. The interesting thing I learned from them was bridge card game. It is really difficult to understand its rules but amazing game to play. Second host family is Mark and Linda, who are professors in Montana State University. Unexpectedly, they’ve been to Myanmar in 1983 and they went to Yangon and Bagan. As Mark is on his trip to Europe, I spent most of my time with Linda talking about our country, our politics, ethnic groups, and economy of Myanmar. It was really interesting to learn from her about American culture, politics, education system, economy of America. I enjoyed the food they cooked for me too. I will not forget these families and they are forever my parents in America.
Action plan: Like other participants, I am also working on my action plan based on my experience in these two weeks. I cannot finish it until now because I need to update it again and again whenever I visited to a new place. Currently, I will focus on Knowledge Sharing, Best Practices Implementation, and Human Resource Development, especially in IT industry, in Myanmar in my action plan.
Nature: Wherever we go in Montana, nature is a valuable gift for me. This is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. I wish I could have a holiday house here someday. Mountains, wild life, rivers, forests, snow, geysers, and hot springs make me feel wonderful all the time. I hope all the participants are also enjoying all these things in their places in Montana.
I will leave Bozeman on Tuesday. Thank you everyone who help me to gain such a good experience here. Goodbye Bozeman and hope to come here again in my life!