Our time in Argentina was kick started with a week in Buenos Aires to settle into our apartment, find our bearings and get to know each other a little. I will be sharing every experience over the next 8 weeks with two other girls from the university: Farzana and Navneet. Despite not knowing each other before, after spending every waking second together, with lots of laughter shared, it already feels like we’ve known each other for years!
Arriving a week early gave us the opportunity to visit different neighbourhoods and tourist spots. Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts. It is described as the ‘Paris of South America’ due to its European heritage, yet it is crossed with a Latin American feel and a cosmopolitan buzz. Every street you walk down, there’s a new piece of street art to admire and a street performer to enjoy; life is definitely more colourful here! I am very excited to call this city my home for the next two months!
This time also allowed us to get our heads around the public transport system and get accustomed to the argentine Spanish. Having learnt Spanish in another part of South America, at quite a basic level, language was something I was a little apprehensive about. The unfamiliar accent and fast rate of speech definitely does not make things easy here! However, the more time goes on, the more it’s all coming back to me.
The first week of the internship was a large insight into how culture and business collide. We arrived to a lack of chairs, computers and no line manager for the week as he was away on business. It was also taking us up to two and a half hours to get to work due to a bus strike on the only service that could get us there. We would get on other buses that locals would be adamant that this bus would get us where we needed to go, but then we would end up in a random and unknown part of the city!
A woman called Estrella took us under her wing, and went through with us the history and structure of the procurement department at GSK. We learnt that the project that we were to be a part of was the categorisation of 4,000 uncategorised suppliers used by GSK across the whole of Latin America. This would involve researching each supplier individually, determining the service they provide, and granting them a code accordingly. The three of us are the only ones working on this project, and with no prior experience in procurement, it seems a little daunting to be trusted with such an important and large task!
After a week and a half, we had all managed to find ourselves a computer, and we began working our way through the Argentine suppliers. We are doing Argentina together as a team to get to grips with it all, then the remaining countries will be split between us. Any confusion we had over the project was quickly resolved once we got going, and before long we are going to know the 80 codes like the back of our hand! After a fairly slow start, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us!
By Alice Wynne