AIESEC Sri Lanka, Event, Partnerships, Travel

Exploring Sri Lankan Culture through Teaching – Global Classroom 2.0

The project begins!

The beginning of September was marked with a promise of new experience for the AIESECers in the university of Kelaniya. Global Classroom, the AIESEC contribution towards the betterment of education in Sri Lanka reopened for the second time. With the title Global Classroom 2.0, the project started with new Exchange participants and a new organizing committee. Teaching in Sri Lanka was not just about teaching for the project. It was a journey planned for teaching, sharing culture, and to find themselves facing challenges in a new terrain. This was, in the experience of exchange participants and the organizing committee, a landmark which helped their personalities take shape.

The approval set the course for the journey of three exchange participants; Brian Muraya from Kenya, Eleni Papaefthymiou from Greece and Gulcan Ebru from Turkey. They arrived in the first week of September, a few days before the commencement of the project.

Expectations

At the ceremonial end of their Global Classroom journey, we asked how they felt about their whole experience. 

“I was relying a lot on the media, before I came here. When I did, I learned that Sri Lanka was different to what I saw in them,” said Brian. “People here are happy and ever smiling” He says. “I wanted to teach my students and I wanted to learn about the culture and the people.” 

“My best moments apart from traveling were interacting with kids. I learned the way they think, which was a rewarding experience.” Brian remarked recalling his students at LEEDS International in Negombo.

Elen, who worked at the WISE international, Kandana, told us that what she expected first from here was to be safe. And in the comfort of working with the students she told us how much she enjoyed teaching. “Today, my students learned that we were leaving soon. Most of the children told me ‘don’t go, Elen teacher, live here’ and I felt so touched by that.” Elen expects to continue in her path to become a teacher in Greece. We witnessed ourselves how much she had bonded with her students at the final day event.

Gulcan worked with Elen at WISE international with Elen teaching students of the primary section. She also aspires to become a math teacher, which she claims has become a more clear ambition after this project. “The best part of the project for me too was working with the students. In teacher’s day, I saw the pure love they had and I just love them for that.”

Incoming Preparation Seminar and Work Experience

The Incoming Preparation Seminar of the project happened soon after the arrival of the exchange participants. There we explained them further their role as a volunteer working in the Global Classroom project. More importantly, they got to experience some of the cultural food items, and some rituals of Sri Lanka.

Searching for beauty

In addition to the teaching in their allocated schools, traveling and experiencing Sri Lankan culture was what occupied them. They travelled to Galle and the Colombo city, seeking for more memories. Some of the religious icons they found, evoked their curiosity, and told us later how much similar they found this religiousness with their countries. The sun bathed city of Galle was another mesmerizing landscape that captured the minds of the EPs.

One of the ER partners for the project, Ape Panthiya, was one such experience that granted the EPs one such experience to engage with students of Advanced Levels. With them, Brian shared his culture, and his knowledge of his country and leaving with them the curiosity to inspire them to understand his culture.

 

The Final Day Event

The end crawled near for the project with the second week of October. And the OC of the project had to announce its officiality. To make the effect of the project even more impactful the OC decided to donate the many and the best books to the WISE International they found hunting especially for the event. The book donation took place on the 14th, with the participation of all the exchange participants.

Farewell

The OC arranged the farewell on the same day as the final day event. The OC had found a lovely beachside restaurant: Light House Galley facing the ocean met at the Galle face. Officially gathering for the last day, all the EPs and the OC got their chance to talk about the experience, the best and the funniest, the scary and the challenging moments of their journey. We shared all the stories over a final Sri Lankan style meal that we would take together, which we all took time to savor.

Brian, Ellen and Gulcan at the farewell

Also, we made it an opportunity to celebrate Elen’s 23rd birthday that arrived two weeks earlier on the day of Galle tour. A cake was brought on her behalf and everyone joined to sing for a marvelous 23rd. Another ER partner, Gamage Stores, offered us some of their art and crafts, miniature versions of ancient Sri Lankan cultural artifacts as souvenirs for the EPs, which we presented to them near the end of the event. Throughout this concluding event that carved in every one of them unforgettable memories, a spectrum of emotions was committed to pixels, so that everyone in the project could reminisce time and again.

End of a journey…

Only a week remained for the EPs to bid farewell to their students, and the new bonds they made working in a country foreign to them. Elen and Gulcan decided to work with the students at WISE to the last day they could. The bond they made with kids made it difficult, even at the end of the project to leave.

Brian, who found the people and the culture of Sri Lanka fascinating, traveled to Matara and Pinnawala to add more vibrance to the experience he wanted to remember. And in the third week of October, the time came for the EPs to say their goodbyes to the students. And so the project Global Classroom 2.0 ended, with many points of history in their memories as a series of experiences in which they rediscovered themselves.

the OC and the EPs

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Leadership, Lifestyle, Membership, Partnerships

Stepping outside your boundaries – Have a valuable volunteering experience at a young age

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” 

Milton Berle 

Exactly. We have to find opportunities to ignite the spark within ourselves. We are  all used to working according to a schedule. But if you get a chance to step out from your boundaries; will you grab that opportunity?

If I say taking part in a volunteer project in another country would lead to a way to find who you are and what you are capable of; Would you believe that?

Yes, it is; Volunteering can be done anywhere but it will be another level of experience if you choose to be a volunteer in another country.

Taking part as a Volunteer…

As youth souls in this generation; we all are looking to add something to life. Taking part in a volunteer programme will show a pathway to find your capabilities and also a way to give your contribution to the well-being of society.

But if you get a chance to join a volunteer project in a foreign country, it would be a better experience than taking part in local volunteering. Stepping out from your usual social life to a different society with different cultural aspects, different thinking patterns and different social values is a challenge. Even though it’s a challenge, blending with different societies will lead you to uplevel your confidence.

Basically volunteering is based on education, environmental conservation, travel, community development, etc. Educational volunteer projects based on teaching school children; teaching a foreign student is a delightful experience because you will get to know more about the culture and you have to adjust to their educational level based on the country they live in. By joining environmental conservation projects or travel-related projects; you will be able to see the beauty of mother nature and get mesmerized by beautiful destinations. Those are some of the experiences that you can get through volunteering.

If we broadly look into this, volunteering in another country allows you to find your true potential, and also you will be able to experience the diversity of the world. As you will meet different people from different ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds; Meeting them and adjusting to their nature help you to grow throughout your life. Also, you will get an opportunity to help mankind during these difficult times.

Joining as a youth volunteer…

The twenties are a life-changing age for everyone; what if you choose to be a volunteer in a foreign country in your twenties?!

Speaking of that, joining as a volunteer at a young age will lead to building a successful personality in the future. Let’s see how volunteering helps to build up our personalities.

Volunteering gives us the opportunity to work through real-life situations and make significant changes. As we have to find solutions to the problems that we face in that country and we have to work with the people of another country with various backgrounds; which develops innovative thinking. 

We can have a better knowledge of other countries’ cultural values, and social values, and add some more valuable qualities to ourselves. Also, it will develop our adaptability when working with foreign people.

As a part of the youth generation, volunteering gives us an opportunity to fulfill our social responsibility toward society. Volunteering is mainly based on the welfare of the society so that we can take part in spreading kindness and awareness throughout the world of social wellbeing. It’s not only beneficial to you but also beneficial to society and the world too.

Working as a volunteer at a young age has a huge impact. When we grow up we will be having a lot of responsibilities taking care of ourselves as well as our own families. We are on our way to the corporate world to find the most suitable career for us. Volunteering helps you to find your passion while working as a volunteer. For example, if you enjoy teaching kids, then that’s your passion; likewise, we can find our passion through volunteering.

Being a volunteer will make it easier to fulfill these responsibilities because it solves real-life situations throughout the volunteer journey. The experience of volunteering helps you to become a responsible adult in the future.

Volunteering will give you lifelong memories whist creating a potential personality within yourself. Not only does volunteering create leaders, but it also creates responsible citizens.  So, let’s step out of our comfort zone, usual schedules go beyond our limits and make the world a better place. 

Why, wait? Don’t waste your energy by limiting yourself to a routine that is built up for you by society. Grab your opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and add new experiences while growing alongside your own volunteering journey.

By Navodi Gaspe
Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team
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Event, Leadership, Partnerships

SPARKLES’22; Where the young leaders are unveiled

 

“ A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. ”

-John Maxwell-

 

Leadership is a definition of accomplishing a goal through the direction of human assistance, and there should be an extraordinary ability to guide and influence the followers.

What is “SPARKLES”?

SPARKLES’22, The annual awarding ceremony organized by AIESEC in the University of Kelaniya. This happened to honour the most outstanding leaders in Colombo North. SPARKLES’22 took place on the 26th of March 2022 as a physical event with around 100 participants at Sanara Mandira Kiribathgoda. The evening appeared to appreciate the fabulous young leaders who worked hard the last term with much passion, dedication, and determination while empowering others. At the same time, everyone enjoyed the chance to see their fellow AIESECers. And they were obviously waiting to witness the emerging leaders of Colombo North 21/22.

The Awards at Sparkles’22

SPARKLES’22 Award Winners

The event started with a speech by the chief guest, Dr Prabha Manuratne, appreciating all the hardworking and talented AIESECers who will be rewarded. The recognition of winners received their awards in the middle of the great applause. Ms Hiruni Udumullaarachchi became the best young leader, and Mr Raveen Jayasinghe was awarded the best emerging young leader. Evolution AI was the best organizing committee while Fashionista received the award for the most creative and innovative event. Other than that, the most sustainable event of the entity was Quill It.

In addition, our most talented young leaders of AIESEC in Colombo North 21/22 also shared their thoughts. Also, Mr Pasan Herath and Ms Sheramy Hensman presented great performances to entertain everyone. Singing items, dancing items, and fun segments were also powerful enough to make that evening more colourful.

The Best young leader and the Best emerging young leader

Pillars of Success

At SPARKLES’22, the partners who supported and contributed to us made our event a spectacular one. RealOne was the official digital media partner while Nanotec became the official computer solutions partner. Keshara minerals gave a tremendous hand, becoming the silver partner of the event. Not to miss Cakery, Alora Yummies, and Face scrubs became the official gift partner while Laptop. lk onboarded as the official technological partner.

Moreover, Ceylon Today was the official print media partner and made a reasonable effort to uplift the image of the event so, as the Good PR, the official media partner along with Print house as the official printing partner and Findit. lk as the official online advertising partner. Many thanks await Mount spring as the official beverage partner. The valuable and immense support that they gave us is immeasurable.

Partners of Sparkles

Bringing up the rear, SPARKLES’22 was a mesmerizing event with humble leadership personalities in Colombo North 21/22. That was such a joyous occasion with happiness and excitement for the CNers. And they proved it by actively engaging throughout the evening to make it more colourful. At the same time, the organizing committee worked hard to make sure that event was a huge success.

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Event, Partnerships

EVOLUTION AI – where Human Intelligence faces Artificial Intelligence

“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence.”

Ginni Rometty 

Digital life is exceeding human capacities and disrupting the boundaries of early human activities. Code-driven systems have been an essential part of human beings with the usage for information and connectivity, offering previously unimagined opportunities and unprecedented threats. Therefore, artificial intelligence has been a concern of the present human beings. 

 

Addressing this upcoming concern, the AIESEC in University of Kelaniya and Informatics Institute of Technology in collaboration with the Computer Science Students Association of the University of Kelaniya powered by Mitra Innovation Limited, organized the islandwide ideathon “EVOLUTION AI”.The main goal of this initiative was to connect young science and technology enthusiasts all around Sri Lanka. Where it would create a platform for youth to unleash their creativity, and innovations, along with their design knowledge while ensuring that the solutions generated are aligned to the current demands of technological applications.

An undergraduate presenting

The flow of the event

EVOLUTION AI had 3 major phases. It had over 300+ participants in the preliminary round, 13 teams for the semifinal round, and 6 teams for the final round. It comprised three rounds and the final round together with the awards ceremony took place with grandeur on the 12th of February 2022 at Lounge 42. The induction took place on the 13th of December 2021 via zoom and officially the preliminary round commenced. A Q & A session was held for the competitors to resolve their doubts on the case studies provided for the ideathon by Mitra Innovation. The semifinal round proceeded after choosing 13 teams on the 12th and 13th of January 2022. A physical workshop to groom the 6 final teams was held on the 7th of February at Hatchworks premises. Mentors from Mitra Innovation were allocated to assist the teams for the final round. 

 

The Final Battle

On the 12th of February, the final round was held with the awards ceremony in the evening.

The 6 finalists were 

  1. Eximus Ruhuna – University of Ruhuna 
  2. Team 5x – University of Moratuwa 
  3. Cicada – University of Kelaniya 
  4. Mastermind- University of Kelaniya 
  5. Finan- IIT
  6. Amigo -IIT

 

The Awards ceremony 

the winners

The champions of Evolution AI

Mrs Chinthi Weerasinghe, the Chief Executive Officer of Mitra Innovation was present at the awards ceremony and captivated the audience with an inspiring speech. The champions of EVOLUTION AI was team “Eximus Ruhuna” from University of Ruhuna. The champions received a cash prize of 80,000 and internship opportunities at Mitra Innovation. While Imperial College also awarded full scholarships for CIMA for the champions. The first runner up was team “Mastermind” from University of Kelaniya. They received a monetary gift and discounted vouchers for CIMA from Imperial College. The second runner up was Team 5x from University of Moratuwa. They received a cash prize and discounted vouchers for CIMA from Imperial College.

Apart from the three main awards, the MARCOM championship for the highest votes through social media was awarded to Team “Finan” from the Informatic Institute of Technology. They received a monetary award. Further, the Team Mastermind from the University of Kelaniya grabbed the most engaging championship.  

The Partners

A large part of the success goes to the partners of the event “ Mitra Innovation Limited” for being the title partner. Imperial College and Hackathons.lk for joining hands as the educational and online event’s partners respectively. Dineth Nipunya Photography, Quadrangle, and Good PR supported generously to make this event a memorable one. Moreover, Hatch, AECC Global, Articulate and Mount spring became shadows of success with their support from the initial stages of the event. On a final note,  the contribution of the organizing committee and the Executive Board are the massive reasons for the success of the event “EVOLUTION AI”.

partners

The partners of EVOLUTION AI

 The album of Evolution AI 

 

 

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Lifestyle, Partnerships, Travel

Between countries and cultures – Experience of the Exchange Participant Jeramine Alexander

Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.

– Sherry Anderson –

Volunteering in a non-profit organization is an amazing experience. You will meet new people, you will help to change something to better, either in the local community or even in the world. What’s more, you will get your first real working experience,something you can put on your resume. Such an experience will make a lot of difference later on, when you apply for your first paid job.

 

  • Let’s introduce yourself brief Jeramine

I’m Jeramine Alexander. I’m 23 years old and I’m a computer science graduate at Segies campus Nugegoda. I like to be creative and I like volunteering as well.

 

  • Okay Jeramine, spell out  about your Foreign  Project

Yes,The description that I am telling now, sends upon the experience actually rather than the description given in the website. Okay, so what actually happened was I worked at a primary school in Egypt, Zagazig, the academy called Rose Academy. So what I had to do was to go there to teach them something new. 

It was a contract between Dr. Harger and AIESEC in Zagazig, so I had to go there from 11.00 to 5.00 from Sunday to Thursday to teach kids Aged from two to thirteen . Basically that’s what I had done.

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  • How did you get on this golden turn?

Basically, my campus didn’t have AIESEC. So AIESEC in USJ established AIESEC in Sagies. They had the initial meeting for people who were interested in AIESEC and I was a part of it. That’s how I knew that there is something like this that you can actually go abroad and do cool projects. I was interested.

 

  • How did you come up with passport and visa preparations?

Okay, Special thanks to the AIESEC team. Especially Disuri, every single time that I needed to do something she told me and through AIESEC. AIESEC in USJ was a great support actually to make my passport. Because I didn’t have my passport done and I didn’t have the flu. They helped me a lot, to get a VISA, to get a passport and to get the ticket and everything as well. 

 

  • How would you adjust to work in a far off country like Egypt?

There are two things. One thing was the weather. It was not as expected. Because in Egypt, you think it is always sunny and adaptation to that weather was the biggest challenge I faced and that was affecting my working hours as well.

Another thing was to work. I tried to communicte with the principal Dr.Harger, I tried to explain how I would like to do things and how they would like to do. Then we came to the middle area where both parties were comfortable. That’s how I actually adapted to it.

 

  • Did you reach any EP buddies there? 

Yeah. The second day I was given an EP buddy. His name was Disokie and he was really helpful and was always there whenever I needed.

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  • When did you have your first cross cultural adventure and what was the nature of that experience?

Actually my very first cross cultural experience that I would consider as a heavy thing was with a Brazilian girl. We were roommates. At the first dinner we both tried to figure out what kind of food to have.She was not so fond of spicy foods and suggested eating cheese and bread.Although it’s unfamiliar to me, I enjoyed it.

At the moment I understood that Sri Lankans and Indians eat mostly spicy food. That was the first actual experience where I felt like; “wow my culture is so different”

 

  • What was the most discomforting thing you had to face there?

It’s a totally different culture.I was going to meet new people with whom I had never associated before.I took my cultural dress to wear there, like the salwar kameez, because that country is a very cultural place.But the people there looked at me abnormally. It made me  more embarrassed. It felt  like I was an alien. That’s it.

  • Could you please express the support you had from AIESEC Sri Lanka and what are the special mentions for the future participants?

I would actually recommend AIESEC Sri Lanka a hundred percent. Because they are the people who put their feet out there and do the work. They are really great. TEN OUT OF TEN.

This discussion about Jeramine’s volunteer story with AIESEC came to an end with her very agreeable words and we would like to add our genuine credit for allocating her time to mark these words. At the same time as the AIESEC in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura Team, we would like to wish her all the very best with her future endeavors as well as the hope of meeting her in future AIESEC projects as well.

We believe that “Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone”, and AIESEC can be a supporting hand for that.

by Haseeba Wadood
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