International students shine at CESA

Samantha Cameron and Elizabeth Houns are international students from Ottawa, Canada, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, who have done outstanding work during their time at CESA.

Samantha Cameron comes from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. “I decided to come to CESA because of the reputation of the university... the connections it offers” she said.

Recently, Samantha participated in a world - wide entrepreneurship contest, the DECA ICDC International Case Competition in Washington D.C., where her team was awarded first place. The challenge was about creating a social innovation business that can be franchised all over the word, and over 70 teams participated.

“Our mission is to reduce the amount of displaced people in the world by offering sustainable solutions to a global problem with a commitment to remaining environmentally conscious. The emerging Latin American market has innovation, growth, and progress; all the while having huge income inequality.”

Samantha’s project consists on taking shipping containers, converting them into fully equipped houses, and then selling them to the government for half of what that they are currently spending in subsidised housing. “We want to especially start in Colombia because there are so many displaced people”.

“I am an international relations student and I used to think business was evil until I came to CESA and realized that there is a lot you can do with business in terms of social enterprises. Everything I learned in the Espíritu Emprendedor Course and experiencing the culture of social innovation in colombia really helped my team and myself in this competition”.

Elizabeth Houns is CESA’s first international student from the United States. She comes from the University of Minnesota where she majored in anthropology and cultural studies. Her story and passion for the work she is doing in Colombia are truly remarkable.

“I initially came here because I’m adopted from Colombia as a 4 months old baby from Fundación Fana”. Ever since she can remember, Elizabeth has wanted to come back to the country, reason why she seeked an internship through the Heart for a Change organization.

Elizabeth is currently interning at the orphanage where she was born, Fundación Fana, and she focuses on communications and donor outreach. Eventually she will also help to get older kids adopted though one of the organization’s programs, and tutor them in english.

“Before I had judgements about what business was but having studied it at CESA, particularly the course “la coyuntura económica”, (economic development) completely changed my perspective because it talks about international development on a business and economic scale.

Looking at actual measures of inequality and growth as opposed to just sitting around being frustrated about why things are so unfair. CESA has definitely given me a different perspective on business and now I understand that business really affects everything, its present all the time in the things that interest me”.