Roberto Llamas may live on a small island in the Mediterranean, but that doesn’t mean he’s disconnected from the rest of the planet. As a matter of fact, his home island of Mallorca is a major tourist destination seeing more than 20 million visitors a year. And, as the head of the island’s busy airport, Roberto must stay up-to-date on global culture and business. In his own words, “Skype is my window to the world.”
Roberto spent much of his early career traveling to work sites across Europe and Asia. He quickly realized “how much you can enrich yourself from exchanging experiences and thoughts with people from different nationalities, no matter if they’re workmates, customers or friends.”
In his ongoing quest to learn and connect with people from around the world, Roberto decided to take an online entrepreneurialism class at the University of Virginia. While he enjoyed the course, he found himself seeking further engagement with his peers beyond the allotted class time. “I decided to create a study group called ‘International Group on Skype’ in the class forum site,” he explains, “so people from all over the planet could participate and exchange their ideas, experiences and perspectives in real time discussions.”
The group consists of Chris in the U.S., Sharon in Germany, Szymon in Poland, Ákos in Hungary, and Adriano in Brazil. The diverse bunch began meeting weekly over group Skype calls and established an instant bond with one another. “It really exceeded my expectations,” says Roberto, “It was so simple and exciting. We started off talking about the classes and were soon sharing new ideas and getting feedback on our own entrepreneurial projects.”
As for what he learned from the Skype group, Roberto says, “It is fascinating to see how Germans and Spanish approach problem-solving in different ways or the variation in American and Brazilian points of view. This experience really helps you to open your mind and think about new ways to do things.”
Roberto and the group have finished part one of the course and will start back up again in April. In the meantime, they continue to meet up via Skype.
“Skype allows me to make international connections as if they were right here on Mallorca” Roberto explains, “ we’ve all become friends now. And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll even do some real business together.”