Colombians are born survivors, with a make-do-and-mend culture and a relentlessly positive outlook on life. These highly desirable qualities are helping millions of Colombians succeed overseas, adapting to new cultures and sharing their homegrown skills and talents. Here are seven of our countrymen undertaking valuable work in Asia:
Mario Chacón, UAE
Economist Mario Chacón is passionate about the relationship between armed conflicts, elections and economies and, having achieved his doctorate at Yale, has been a politics professor at the University of New York in Abu Dhabi for the past four years. He investigates and presents his findings through lectures and publications.
Ramiro Rodriguez, Singapore
Lawyer Ramiro Rodriguez has spent a decade in Singapore, even though he only meant to complete his master’s degree in the country and took a job there just moments before he was due to fly home. He is now director and partner at the firm Duane Morris and Selvam LLP, which have several hundred lawyers worldwide.
Hans Joseph Rausch, Malaysia
Business administrator Hans Rausch, from Medellin, is spreading his city’s business acumen across the globe. He worked across Latin America and the Middle East for Schlumberger before being posted to Kuala Lumpur in 2013. He founded Colombian Pro-Rugby and is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration.
Taro Araya, Bangladesh
Businessman Taro Amaya has wanted to be an entrepreneur since he was a child selling cookies to his classmates. His work for Ericsson took him to Jamaica then Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, where he created his own web and telecommunications firm, Miaki. He has won several international awards for innovation and entrepreneurialism.
Carolina Mantilla, Vietnam
Journalist Carolina Mantilla, from Bucaramanga, Santander, refuses to plan ahead because “it destroys the journey”. She studied in Holland then volunteered in Israel, where she heard that Vietnam was desperate for English teachers. She has since spent the past two years working with children in Ha Long city, near the Chinese border.
Otto Friedmann, Israel
Architect Otto Friedmann studied in Bogotá and London but was attracted by the open spaces and bicycle culture in Jerusalem, moving to the Israeli city in 1980. He believes Colombians and Israelis are similar in their ability to “overcome adversity” and is most proud of his work developing cycling in Beit Shemesh, where he has lived since 1990.
Rodrigo Paris, India
Political scientist Rodrigo Paris was a globe-trotting journalist who quit the rat race to volunteer in India. He has spent the past two years working for Barefoot College, an NGO that teaches self-sustainability in a small village in the Rajasthan desert. Projects include bringing light to the world’s most vulnerable communities through solar engineering. (You may also enjoy: The five most representative colombian writers)
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