Post from María Florencia Kraus, SABF Ambassador 2018.

I find myself once again in front of a computer writing about topics I am passionate about. This time, I am honored to tell all of the world (or at least try to) what three days of SABF account for. I’d like to tell you what my personal journey looked like prior to the event, at the event itself and after the GREATEST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE EVER (all caps intended). That is why I will try to put into words what three of the most intense days of my life were like.

Everything was dull and ordinary. I had been seeking to apply to something new, an event I could apply to. I had abandoned the search when, all of a sudden, while having breakfast before heading to work, I saw one of SABF’s ambassadors on TV. She was explaining what SABF was and what I needed to do in order to be able to take part. Without giving it a second thought, I entered the event’s website and registered without analyzing too much what it was really about.

I arrived at my business and, as I fought boredom, I started reflecting aiming to fully understand what I had signed up for. At that point I felt a mixture of panic and joy, which lead to the obvious question: “Florencia, what have you gotten yourself into?”

Many times we face situations that make us feel awkward, that allow our fears and (self-imposed) limitations to pierce through our comfort zone. Questions such as “will I be the kind of person they are looking for?” or “will I be good enough?” arise and prevent us from putting our skills and talent to good use. SABF allowed me to, among other things, face the “other me” that held me back and to prove myself that there’s nothing that could possibly stop us when the time to go after our dreams arrives.

So, hesitantly and full of doubts, I started writing my essay, trying to put into words everything the chosen topics had triggered in my mind. After reading it several times and having put every last word and thought I could, I clicked “submit essay”. All I had to do was wait. I must confess that each week seemed like a year. When I least expected it, there it was: the long-awaited e-mail was there, sitting in my inbox, congratulating me on having been selected. After that, it was all joy and anticipation for me. Having been selected, you get in touch with the “*students’” *team, you get to know the rest of the participants, and after packing and sorting out issues regarding transportation and accommodation, you are on your own, travelling to Buenos Aires. Once again, questions race through your mind, only now you’re not afraid anymore: you have become a part of something bigger.

On the conference’s first day, I couldn’t believe I was there. Right from the start I got to know people whom I had gotten in touch with over the internet. The personal stories, as well as the speakers’ presentations, triggered all sorts of ideas, the implementation of which I just couldn’t get out of my mind. The second and third days of the conference were crowded with knowledge, emotions and dreams. Even though I knew it would all eventually come to an end, I wished it would have lasted forever as I knew there were hugs I wouldn’t enjoy again for some time. At the end of the event, you will no longer be sabfers, you will be friends no matter what.

It is very hard for me to pick one single thing that changed in me after SABF. It made me understand that us, youngsters, are the change and that can only be accomplished by working together towards our shared purpose, which is none other than a better world. Also, I understood that although everyone is different in terms of nationality, culture, languages and personality, we are all the same as humans. There are no excuses not to look in each other’s eyes and work together, respecting our differing ideas but building a better world.

Change cannot be accomplished by complaining, it has to be the result of action. It is that idea that drew me to applying for SABF and still guides me today. Any journey starts with one step and taking part in the South American Business Forum was that first step for me, my starting point. It could be yours, too. Do not hesitate to apply.