Leadership, Travel

An Unforgettable Global Volunteer Exchange Experience to Vietnam – Harendra Koralage

Well, what I am going to share with you is quite different from what you are used to hearing. It’s the story of how AIESEC changed me as a person through the exchange. Let’s just say I was not in a good place at the start of 2018 and I needed a change of scenery and that came from a person who was spamming Instagram about volunteering. I was curious and wondered why she spammed so much, and I decided to drop Dulshini a message.

Fast Forward two months – after being bribed with a plush key tag – I am waiting in the queue to the boarding area of the plane heading to Vietnam to take part in the project “Global Navigator”. I was nervous about going through the airport since I was alone and this was my first time traveling abroad. As I was getting through security, someone tapped me on my shoulder and said “long time bung, fancy seeing you here”. I turned around to meet one of my school friends grinning like a fool. After catching up with him, he walked me through the procedure as he was heading to Malaysia on the same plane. We sat next to each other and spoke about this unexpected coincidence.

We parted ways when we landed, as I had an 8-hour transit. I kept asking the counter every hour about the plane, due to the anxiety I had of being stranded in Malaysia, and the lady there was kind enough to assure me that everything is alright. During the 8-hour transit, I spent my time trying out different food and free samples at the airport.
Once I boarded the plane to Vietnam I felt a huge relief but at the same time, I was tired of being awake and walking about. So, I asked the hostess to get me some apple juice and since I was feeling exhausted, I collapsed into a deep sleep. Talk about being lightweight.

The next time I panicked was at the airport of Ho Chi Ming. The WIFI was down that day and I had no way of contacting my buddy. But luckily there was this cute, short-haired girl dressed like a boy, jumping up and down in the crowd, frantically waving at me. I chuckled at myself for being stupid and worrying. She took me to my hostel and asked if I wanted to eat, but I opted to sleep in a bit as I was really tired from the journey. She dropped by in the evening to take me out for dinner and to show me around. It was one of the best meals I ever had.

It was a few days later I met my fellow volunteer, Sofie from Belgium, with whom I would be working, for the duration of the project. During the IPS the project members of “Global Navigator” introduced themselves. First was ‘Chi’ (it was a part of her name) and she was like a little sister to me throughout the project. The second was ‘Summer’, she was basically “The Boss” but she had a very big soft side too. Finally, it was ‘An An’ the mother figure, she would literally pester me like a mom every time I did something stupid and hurt myself and would always be checking up on how I was, knowing that I was the clumsiest person she met.

Over the next few days while Sofie and I were getting ready to make our worksheets and presentation, we were informed, due to lack of people we will only be working 2 days a week, not 4 and they will be longer workshops. It meant we would have plenty of time to walk around and that’s exactly what we did. We tried out so many types of coffee, we were literally running on a caffeine rush for most of the day.

A few days after my project started, a new tenant came into our hostel. I was working on my presentation and felt a case of the munchies in the middle of the night and was going to get myself “Banh Mi”, a staple food of Vietnamese people, which became my staple food as well. I invited him as he was awake, and kids that’s how I met my British Best Friend. He made me try various new things starting from drinking like an Irishman to Scuba Diving and Skydiving. If you had asked me to do any of these before I went to Vietnam, I definitely wouldn’t have done them. But meeting him and having crazy late-night escapades really opened my eyes to new opportunities and experiences.

He wasn’t the only one to open my eyes to change and bring about hope for a better future! I made so many memories and met a lot of wonderful souls throughout my journey, especially my students. One such memorable moment was at the Global Village I visited. This global village was in a rural part of Vietnam. A small kid no more than 10-years-old came and spoke to me. She wanted to travel the world and kept on asking for more and more details, and at the end with a sad face she said; “I want to travel but we don’t have money”. It melted my heart. But I assured her by saying, “don’t worry about money, just work towards your dreams and it will come true”. The happiness in her eyes was a sight to behold. This made me realize something; we all are trying our best and sometimes all we need is a push and guidance in the right way.

After my project ended, I headed over to Phu Quoc for a few days. I was greeted by warm weather, golden beaches, and amazing seafood. After traveling around exploring, meeting new people, and eating a lot of “Durian” with Pan – which made our friends stay away from us for most of the time. Eventually, it was time to head back to Ho Chi Minh. I was going to travel up north and discover Hanoi as well, but it happened to be my best friend’s birthday and death threats were given if I didn’t make it in time.

It was finally the time to say goodbye to the OC of Global Navigator. For one last time we enjoyed a meal and needlessly to say men don’t cry, they weep. It was emotional to say bye to people who became family.
As I was, yet again, sitting in the airport of Malaysia for an 8-hour transit, I pondered about how the exposure to AIESEC culture, people, challenges, experiences, and most importantly opportunities, changed my goals and objectives in life whereas now I am working towards my masters in sustainability and working towards a better tomorrow.

Want to take the perfect pathway to discover you ideal version? AIESEC Exchange Opportunities could be of a great help for you. Check them out from the links given below

By – Harendra Koralage
Exchange Participant
AIESEC in USJ

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Travel

Find your true calling with Volunteering

Are you someone who is dreaming of a chance to create an impact or discover your true calling? That too, while enjoying yourself?… Well, then this is the perfect place to get to know more about taking off with your dream! 

Ayubowan from Sri Lanka! It is with great excitement and welcoming hands that AIESEC in University of Sri  Jayewardenepura invites you to our paradise island to experience all that it has to offer while creating an impact with enthusiastic volunteers from across the globe. 

What is It About?

galle fort, sri lanka

We, AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura, are a part of the global AIESEC community that strives to create a platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential. Volunteering is one such opportunity we offer for enthusiastic youth such as you, to develop and rediscover themselves. As a volunteer, you will get a chance to contribute to a project that is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals while making unforgettable memories and long-lasting friendships. For those of you looking for a chance to step out of your comfort zone and realize your true potential, there will not be a better chance to do so than in a foreign island while creating an impact. 

So Why Sri Lanka? 

boat safari in sri lanka

Let us answer this question for you. Imagine being in a place that boasts of natural beauty and breath-taking sites that will leave you enchanted. Imagine immersing yourself in a colorful culture that never runs short of festivals. Imagine indulging yourself in mouth-watering cuisine mixed with spices and all things good. Imagine walking through 2500 years of history and ancient civilizations and waking up next to turquoise waters. Now, imagine being in one of the five biodiversity hotspots in the world, next to giants of nature and getting a glimpse of the amazing wildlife. And finally, throw in the world-renowned hospitality of the people and there you have Sri Lanka – a heaven on Earth. There couldn’t be a better place to start your volunteering journey than this amazing paradise island.

Excited About It? 

travel by train in sri lanka

Let us share some more details about the projects you will be working on. You have the discretion to select a project that beckons to your true calling from the many we offer. Be it teaching, travelling, marketing, entrepreneurial development or even creating awareness on a compelling social and environmental issue… we got you covered! Each project will span over a duration of 6 weeks and will be located in several parts of the country depending on the nature of the project. 

What Benefits Will You Gain?

eating traditional food in sri lanka

There are many rewarding benefits from volunteering with AIESEC. First and foremost, we will ensure that your time with us is an absolutely memorable one by providing you with accommodation, airport pick up support as well as transportation for the travelling projects. It doesn’t end there! You will also get a dedicated EP buddy to help you throughout your stay to make you feel more comfortable. And most importantly, we will be providing a valuable certificate at the end of the project acknowledging your contribution which will definitely add value to your CV. 

So, don’t miss this amazing opportunity to discover yourself! Take the leap today and we’ll see you soon in Sri Lanka!

Article by – Thisari Amarasekera

Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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Event

Expertify – an eye-opening international webinar series

A Truly Novel Initiative

The whole world came to a sudden halt unexpectedly, with the outbreak of COVID19, restricting thousands to their homes. With fear of an uncertain future that refused to leave our minds, everyone was struggling to cope up. And the enthusiastic younger generation wasn’t an exception. While statistics showed that mental health cases were increasing drastically, indicating everyone was losing hope little by little, AIESEC of University of Sri Jayawardenepura decided to take a step ahead initiating an international webinar series; Expertify 2020.

Expertify was organized by the Outgoing Global Talent function of AIESEC in USJ, under three phases. The main two objectives of Expertify was to create awareness among the youth and to seek passionate professionals within the youth. Expertify can be identified as the first ever virtual webinar series initiated by the AIESEC Sri Lanka. 

In a time where online events were still an alien and strange concept to everyone, Expertify 2020 brought a fresh start welcoming everyone to embrace the new-normal.

Expertify Phase 1

The first phase of Expertify was held on 20th of April under the topic of “How can we respond to nature’s miracles given by COVID 19”. Ms. Hirushi Jayasena, Ms. Natasha Rathnayake, Ms. Gayathri Kodithuwakku and Ms. Nethmini Medawala joined to Expertify as the guest speakers while Ms. Bernadine Jayasinghe participated as the moderator. The phase one of Expertify was able to get 8300+ views and was able to make a radio appearance as well.

Expertify first phase took place during the time at which the first wave of COVID19 hit Sri Lanka. At a time where everyone was struggling to come to terms with the drastic changes happening in their lives, Expertify First phase invited the youth to look for a light, or rather “miracle” hidden in the darkest days of their lives.

The Second Phase Continued

The second phase of Expertify was held on the 1st of May under the topic of, “How to become an online entrepreneur” with Mr. Sharanyan Sharma, Ms. Linda Marik, Mr. Bhanuka Harischandra, Mr. Indi Samarajiva as the guest speakers. In a time where everyone was struggling to convert their business idea to a virtual business arena, Expertify was able to give an in depth knowledge on how to start your own virtual business, what are the barriers you would face and how to overcome them, what are the soft skills that would come in handy and how to do digital marketing and many more.

With the social distancing and lockdowns, online businesses popped up back and forth. Expertify second phase gave detailed insights on how to make your virtual business a success, starting from scratch. It’s our youth that is always budding with new ideas and new solutions. And their young blood is ready to take up any challenge but all they need is a little help, little guidance. Expertify second phase was able to give that guidance and prompt the younger generation to take their first step into the business world.

Expertify Third Phase on Fire

The third and final phase of Expertify was held on 17th of May under the topic of “How to make passion your profession?”. Mr. Kumar Sangakkara, Ms. Umara Sinhawansa, Ms. Otara Gunewardene and Block and Dino illuminate the Expertify 3rd phase while Ms. Bernadine Jayasinghe joined as the moderator.  Expertify 3rd phase was a huge success making it the biggest online event in AIESEC Sri Lanka. The feedback received from both local and international audience was evidence for that massive success.

Expertify third phase was able to give valuable insights on how to find your true passion, how do you know whether it will be enough to be your profession for the rest of your lives, how can we improve our passion, skills and qualifications, what are the challenges we might face and how to overcome them and many more. Since the guest speakers who joined hands with the Expertify Third phase were icons loved by the youth, and they pursue their passion as their profession, it is unavoidable that the younger generation looks up to them. And the diversification of industries and fields the guest speakers represented, gave a vast knowledge to the audience.

Enlightening a Crowd Worldwide

Although Expertify was organized by AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura, the target audience wasn’t only AIESEC members. When we take a look at the topics of the webinar series we can see that the topics were much compatible to youth as a whole. Those were not restricted to Sri Lankan context and can be insightful for the international crowd as well. That helped Expertify to win the international audience.

Expertify 2020 was able to breathe a new hope to our youth in a time where they lost hopes altogether. It encouraged enthusiastic young individuals to embrace the rapid changes that were happening and to work for a better future.

Want to take the perfect pathway to discover you ideal version? AIESEC Exchange Opportunities could be of a great help for you. Check them out from the links given below

Article by – Neluni Supul

Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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Lifestyle

How to live forever

It’s a peaceful night, with the moon shining brightly to bring light to the night’s darkness, with the echo of crickets in the distance and an occasional hoot of an owl reminding you it’s still the night. You gaze up to the sky admiring the twinkling stars, as all your day’s troubles begin to fade away. You begin to wonder how these stars came to be and why they always twinkle. All these thoughts weigh on you, making you sleepy little by little. You sleep with your thoughts and dreams to wake up into a world that has changed from yesterday, one that is better or worse, till you fall asleep again tonight.

What if you can cherish this peaceful night forever? Does that mean you get to live forever?

Scientific studies on living forever

Many studies are being conducted as of the present, to achieve this long-desired feat of living forever, which humans wished for, since the beginning of their existence. Gerontology, which is the study of the physical, mental and social aspects of aging seeks to find the secrets behind aging. Although the prime objective of gerontology is not to live forever, these studies may help us get one step closer to that goal. Similarly, other research is being conducted on how to replace aging organs of the human body with man-made organs, allowing a person to live longer. This is just one aspect of scientific discoveries.

There are other beliefs among scientists that people would be able to upload their mind to a computer, just like installing a program or an application to a computer, enabling you to live in that computer even if your body ceases to be. Although it seems so far from reality, scientists believe they can get closer to this by the end of this century. So, if you’re lucky enough to live that long, you might end up living forever!

But is this literally a ‘forever’, or is it just a word that we use instead of a ‘very long time’.

Can you actually live forever? 

We live in a world, or rather a universe, where everything is impermanent. The peaceful night you had yesterday can easily fade away with a big storm. The stars that you see today might be destroyed already far away in the sky. The crickets and the owl won’t live forever, nor will you and I, and the sun and moon will cease to exist, in a day which we call the end of the world. 

You may be living a happy life, a healthy life, but humans aren’t able to live forever, not even through medication, science and what-not that we may have in the future. There will be a time in which all beings or all organisms or even all things in the universe will cease to exist. Even the word ‘forever’ will be long-forgotten. 

So living for eternity is not something achievable. 

So if you can’t actually live for eternity, what does it mean to live forever?

If you’re asked a question, how many people do you know by name that lived over two thousand years ago, your answer would be – only a handful. Those people have done great things for the world, discovered something great, or preached to bring about a change in humanity. The names of these individuals do live on for a very long time and might possibly be the closest to ‘forever’. 

So let’s first have a look at who these people are and what they have done.

Religious Leaders

Out of those individuals that you know, the religious leaders are the most well-known. Now there may be a number of factors that may have caused these leaders or their ideologies to be popular such as colonization and missionary movements but their preachings or way of life still live on at the present day. 

Monarchs and Warriors

We’ve read and heard about so many kings, queens, emperors and warriors from way back. The deeds they did, the lands they conquered, the structures they built and the wars they fought still live on and will continue to live on for a great time.

Scientists and Artists 

Many scientists, especially those who were born after the medieval era have done some great discoveries which have helped mankind to get to where they are now. Similarly, artists have played a role in changing people for the greater good. Their names too live on.

So how can your name live forever? Do you have to be a religious leader, an artist, a scientist or a monarch? Not quite.

How can you leave your mark in the world, for your name to live forever?

Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi. There’s no need for any introductions of these people because they are well-known and they will live on, at least for a really long time. None of these leaders were religious (except for Mother Teresa who was honored by the Catholic church) but they all had something in common, they raised their voice for the sake of humanity or they made an impact in the world by doing good. 

You don’t have to be a Gandhi or a Mandela to leave your name. You can start by changing your life and changing someone else’s life. 

Volunteering

Say you don’t have a steady income that you can afford to share a portion with the needy, volunteering is the way to go. Volunteer to help in your local children’s home, help clean the lakes and beaches, help to feed families that are poor, volunteer to build roads or bridges or you can even volunteer to teach something to children who don’t have access to proper education. This is another step closer to living forever.

Doing Charity

Poverty is one of the biggest problems in the world right now. It is our duty to give back to society or at least the part of the society that needs your help. You don’t have to be rich to do charity. You can always share a portion of your income with the poor. Doing charity alone will not mean your name lives on forever, but it’s one step closer to that. And the person you help will surely remember that for a very long time.

Donate your blood or organs.

There are people who need your blood or your organs to live. Donating blood is easy and we can all do that. The person receiving your blood wouldn’t know that it is your blood, but they will be grateful to you nevertheless. There are also ways to sign-up to donate your organs when you die. Surely the receiver will know they are your organs and they will be grateful, and who knows that person may end up living forever with your organs!

Stand up against injustice

This is something we can all do regardless of whether we are young or old, rich or poor. Standing up against injustice. The injustice may not always take the shape of discrimination or harassment, but there will be minor issues for which you can stand up to. You can raise your voice in those situations to act against injustice. You won’t certainly be world-famous, but you will live on in the minds of people who failed to stand up and in those who you stood up for.

Conclusion

You cannot live for centuries and you cannot certainly live forever (at least not right now). What you can do is to change your life or someone’s life to make the world a better place to live. According to one of my favorite authors, human oblivion is inevitable. 

“There was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

All will be forgotten over time, maybe in a century or a thousand years. But till that day comes, your name can live on. That is what I believe is to ‘live forever’. If you’re someone who didn’t care or who looked the other way, turn your life around, to change the world and live forever.

Want to take the perfect pathway to discover you ideal version? AIESEC Exchange Opportunities could be of a great help for you. Check them out from the links given below

 

By – Upeka Fernando
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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Lifestyle

How to master the art of pitching

If you want to pitch your product or service like a pro, you’ve come to the right place.
You love your business, and what you’re doing, right?
Your eyes glitter with shine when you speak about your business.
You have excellent knowledge and enthusiasm when it comes to your products and services.
But is that enough to sell your products and services?

Sales are an essential component of any company. Regardless of how fabulous your product is, if customers are not purchasing it, it might as well not exist. That’s why delivering an effective and deal closing sales pitch is crucial for any company’s success.

What is a “sales pitch”?

A sales pitch delivers a clear message about your company and the product in a very short time, preferably in less than two minutes. This is also referred to as an elevator pitch because a good sales pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride, just like the name.

It is a myth that all sales reps are naturally born sellers. So, how do you make a great sales pitch? What should it include and avoid?  Anyone can be a master of pitching if you follow these simple 6 step formula for creating a winning sales pitch.

Let’s get started.

1.Research

To become a part of your customer’s solution, you have to understand their problems first. Research is the best way to do this. Before you sell the product, you need to know who you’ll be talking to. 

  • What do you know about the client company?
  • What is the industry they are working in?
  • Who are the clients they serve?
  • What are the issues that your buyer faces?
  • How can your product help them?  

Your sales pitch should be different and customized according to the company and role you are pitching. Making the perfect pitch requires you to understand the client, so if you’re not looking into them before your first interactions, you’re decreasing your chances of winning the deal.

2.Keep your introduction brief.

Don’t begin the pitch with a long description about yourself, your accomplishments, your company, history, and so on. A quick summary is okay but move quickly to more appealing content. Most companies can smell a pitch coming as soon as you finish saying your name and might reject the pitch you worked hard to create. To grab their attention, start talking about them and leave yourself out of this for a bit. 

Show you’re interested in learning about them. Remember, sales pitches are dialogues, not an automated voice messaging machine. Therefore, make sure you engage your customer in the conversation by asking questions. Show that they are more than just another sale to you.  

3.Be confident.

The thing most beginning salespeople lack is the ability to sell with self-assurance. Include belief in your product and avoid doubt. Use key phrases like “it will “but never say “hope,” “guess,” “I think” when you are speaking. People are people, regardless of your products. Therefore, you have to stand behind every word of your sales pitch for others to feel the belief in the stuff you are trying to sell.  Use lots of expressions and pay attention to body language when talking because it will bring life and positive energy to a conversation. 

4.Highlight Benefits, Not Features.

The potential customer does not pay much attention to your product, only to how it will solve their problems. Basically, a feature is anything about the product that can be described. Features aren’t what customers buy; benefits are. Benefits are personalized perks of using a product. By focusing your sale pitch on the client’s needs and desires, you can successfully capture their attention.

5.Include facts and figures

Benefits are not the only topic you should cover. Try your best to show the evidence you have to prove what you presented as benefits.
There are some powerful ways in which you can get their trust.  

First, use reactions you had from your customers and how they praised you that your product helped them in positive ways in their lives. The statements from a past customer that describes how your product helped them can be used in promoting the product and building trust with future customers. You can use statistics and figures to prove your sales pitch.

Don’t forget to provide your personal guarantee as well. This can be given through a free trial, transportation free, money-back guarantee, or something else that will make them say “yes.”

6.Follow Up

After your initial pitch, sales follow up is a must. Never end your conversation though you didn’t get any favorable reaction. Your continuous follow-up will enhance the interrelationships, and though several times rejections, the customer will agree with your product.

That’s it! The next time you are going for a sales pitch, make sure you follow up on these tips outlined above and see your results! 

Want to take the perfect pathway to discover you ideal version? AIESEC Exchange Opportunities could be of a great help for you. Check them out from the links given below

By – Binara Perera
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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