Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Observatorio Urbano Córdoba

Summer 2008 Site Review

Student: Geography and Spanish Senior
Position: Relevamiento y Procesamiento de Datos Intern

To begin with, not many Americans experience the work force outside of the United States. Their company may operate globally, but for the most part Americans stay within their culture operating and working. Working in Argentina is a great opportunity to learn not only another culture and language, but to learn another work culture and environment. The work culture itself carries slightly different priorities and different work ethics than that of the US.

hen immersed in a culture that is unfamiliar to you, new survival skills are learned which enhance any one’s self. You learn that there is more than one way to do something and with that you learn how to explain and express yourself in other ways. The language especially being challenging, you have to persevere in explanations and unending dictionary searches until you are understood and until you and your employer understand each other.

You are learning in another language. There is new vocabulary, new concepts, and new ideas which are priceless to your future career taught to you in an unfamiliar method and language. To understand your industry in another country, to understand your work itself and to operate well within it is extremely rewarding.

My role as an intern at the Observatorio Urbano Córdoba consisted of conducting research, working with the ArcView analysis and mapping program, and going to public governmental offices to collect requested information by the Observatorio. The goal of the Observatorio, a node in the global network of the United Nations, is to fulfill tasks by the United Nations, and in addition construct a database and publications to be used to create sustainable urban development solutions to improve the quality of life.

When conducting research, I was completing city analysis projects. One particular project was a city comparison project in which I collected statistical information from Córdoba, Argentina and other cities which share similar characteristics to Córdoba, such as Asunción, Paraguay, Montevideo, Uruguay, Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Barcelona, Spain. A challenge with this particular project was reading Portuguese and Catalan websites for the Brazil and Barcelona cities. Although challenging, this project was not impossible.

As part of the Observatorio’s database included is a geo-reference section. Using the ArcView program, I copied many maps into the Observatorio’s geo-reference database of high tension lines requested from the local energy company, EPEC, and gas lines requested from the local gas company EcoGas in Córdoba.

In my tasks, I was not limited to tasks of internet research and mapping projects, but I had the opportunity to get out of the office and visit other governmental companies. I learned not only my own organization, the Observatorio, but how other companies worked. My interaction was very valuable at the Department of Urbanism at the Municipality. There I learned how real estate is categorized and documented according to their specific coding system.
The future of the Observatorio is promising. It is expanding to a centralized location at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba campus, hiring more interns and specialists in urbanism, economics, and architecture to name a few. In addition, the Observatorio will have decentralized offices located in the departments of participating organizations, such as the Instituto de Investigacíon y Formación en Administración Pública (IIFAP) and the Instituto de Estadísticas.

Check out the Córdoba Internship Program to learn about Argentine internships.

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