AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Membership, Programs, Travel

Imparting knowledge while exchanging cultures: Global Classroom 1.0

Finally after months and years of barricades, AIESEC in Colombo North (University of Kelaniya) embarked on the project Global Classroom in the month of July setting forth another remarkable milestone in the entity. The country was facing a hard time in terms of the economic crisis. Nevertheless, AIESECers of CN were delighted to welcome the exchange participants to deliver them the best experience. Therefore, Antonia Ziecke from Germany, Marianka Veraverbeke from Belgium, Mariam Abdelmageed, Dina Abdelrahman and Mona Foud from Egypt began in the last week of June to commence their volunteering journey, here with us CNers. The project for teaching in Sri Lanka lasted for six weeks starting from July. Its main focus was Sustainable Development Goal #4, Quality education.  Their schools were in two different locations, Wise International Kandana and Leeds International, Panadura. Even though they stayed apart on weekdays, they made sure to catch up during weekends exploring Sri Lanka. The best thing was that the exchange participants had a remarkable experience during their working period. Because it was both about teaching and exploring the beauty of Sri Lanka. Since the very first day itself their energy level and enthusiasm was next level. Teaching small children was their passion. Despite the cultural diversities and the differences in school systems, they adapted themselves and had utmost fun throughout their stay. 

IPS Day 

The Incoming Preparation Seminar (IPS), is a significant event in the AIESEC culture. Here we set forth the expectations while exchanging cultures of both parties. The event took place before the volunteers officially proceeded with their project in order to avoid any cultural hindrances. While the cultural exchange took place, we explained them further about their role and the job descriptions. As this was their first encounter together, it was more of a warm hug to ensure that we’ll be there for them throughout their stay over here. The day started with roll calls. Then we introduced some of the cultural cuisine of Sri Lanka. They considered them to be ‘really spicy’ yet couldn’t take their hands off the table. They witnessed our culture, whereas CNers got the opportunity to learn their cultural significance through various activities. 

Exploring Sri Lanka

As much as they enjoyed teaching, one of the main reasons for their arrival to Sri Lanka was the stunning natural wonders we owe. All of them loved traveling. Along with the OC they got the opportunity to explore the city of Colombo. Afterword, some other significant temples as well as beaches along the coast. Trying out various street foods and shopping around in the city, they enjoyed their time. And as the OC, we enjoyed guiding them and spending time with them. Furthermore, the beloved Organizing Committee members took steps to give them the best experiences one can get in Sri Lanka. Thus, we took them to Kandy and Galle, two of the most significant cities in Sri Lanka. Moreover, Kithulgala is considered to be a hub for adventure as well as for nature enthusiasts. From white water rafting to abseiling and exploring waterfalls, they were mesmerized by the beauty of the mountainous regions. “This is the best experience a nature lover can ever get” they said. Besides, the week after, we took them again taken for camping in Blue Beach Island, a destination one should never miss. Everyone along with the OC members had one of the most remarkable visits and collected memories worth a lifetime.   

Final Event & the farewell

Reaching to the end of their volunteering project, as the final output the volunteers gathered and organized a ‘spend a day’ event at the Twinkle Stars Montessori School Panadura. The children were excited to see new faces of the foreign volunteers and everyone had a good time exchanging their cultures through different games and fun activities. Volunteers made sure to reward the children with gifts and handmade cards to mark their presence.  Finally after six weeks of fun and good memories, we only had a week to bid them farewell. In order to make it more memorable the OC organized the farewell party in House of Vandervort, Dehiwala to remarkably end an amazing project of six weeks. Everyone reminisced about all the memorable days and events they had and it was a nostalgic moment as they knew that this is it. The bond they’ve created with the members so far made it hard to bid farewell to them.The OC gifted them with Ceylon tea, significant food items which they loved from Sri Lanka and a significant photograph  marking their presence with us in order to make their journey of six weeks remarkable.  Likewise, with dozens of memories with the exchange participants, the project Global Classroom concluded successfully making it one of the hardest goodbyes in ones life.
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AIESEC Sri Lanka, Programs, Travel

Mapping the Beauty of Sri Lanka; On the Map 1.0

Leisurely spinning on a globe, she spotted a small island on the map. An island anyone should not miss, a paradise anyone should not be unlucky to miss. Yasemen Togrul is a Turkish post-graduate studying data science and journalism who has a passion for exploring the world. She was searching for an ideal destination and fatefully heard about the new project ‘On the map’ by AIESEC in Colombo North. Luckily, these two parties finally met on the 08th of September 2022, commencing the project ‘On the map’.  She was another lucky soul who is to witness the beauty of Sri Lanka.

Project Goals

The project aims to contribute to SDG #8 by enhancing local communities’ capacity to build sustainable local tourism activities. That brings revenue and boosts employability in the region. Thus, Yasemen Togrul, the project’s exchange participant, travelled to various regions targeting tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. She spent a period exceeding four weeks in Sri Lanka.

First Impressions

The journey started with a visit to Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya and Galle face beach. The panoramic views and rich history of this Buddhist temple became an inspiration. While the picturesque sun settings at the ocean-side urban park of Galle face were mesmerizing. And they became a kickstart to the project ‘On the map.’

bomburu ella

Capital Highlights

Then, the next day was marked with three wonderful visits to Gangaramaya Temple, Diyatha Uyana, and Thapowanaya. The visit to Gangaramaya Temple gave the exchange participant a wonderful sight of modern architecture and cultural essence. Moreover, visiting the monastery scum meditation center in Thapowanaya enhanced Togrul’s experience in serenity and Buddhist practices. However, after visiting these two places representing the unique Sri Lankan culture, day two was concluded with an evening at Diyatha Uyana. It offered a unique experience in a novel outdoor recreational area. The week ended with a trip to Galle and the IPS day organized in collaboration with the project Global classroom 2.0.

Visit Royalty

The following week marked a shift of destinations from the Sri Lankan capital and its suburbs. She headed to the legendary city of Kandy. The journey consisted of a visit to revered religious places such as the Temple of the Tooth Relic and Ambuluwawa Temple. Further, the hikes in the Udawaththa forest and watching elephants at Pinnawala Elephant orphanage. Then, the team, the organizing committee, and Togrul visited Hiriwaduna Lake, where they had an incredible time sightseeing and swimming.

Further, the journey’s direction was shifted to Ella starting on the 24th of September, comprised of a visit to Ella Rock, Nine arches, and Bomburu Ella. These visits gave a team heap of priceless memories and panoramic views of nature’s beauty, showcasing the beauty of Sri Lanka.

The 27th of September marked a special day in the project calendar when the exchange participant participated in the celebrations of World Tourism Day. The farewell party concluded the projected at Lunar Cafe Kiribathgoda on the 6th of October.

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Event, Lifestyle, Programs

Helping Hearts

I have always aspired to donate blood because I believe it will make a world of difference.

To donate blood is to be presented with a golden chance to help someone who is in need and contribute to their existence in some way or form. It is said that one pint of blood has the capacity to save up to three lives. This means it is an act of kindness which makes every blood donor a life saver.

This thought has always fascinated me and was a driving factor for my enthusiasm when AIESEC in USJ announced that they will be organizing a blood donation campaign called “Helping Hearts” in collaboration with our Buddhist Society on the 27th of July at the Sumangala Hall in University of Sri Jayawardenapura. 

It was my great pleasure to help organize this event alongside AIESEC and as it was a collaborative initiative with the Buddhist society, the anticipation for the event was even more exciting. The event was done in a grand scale due to this group effort and many posts and flyers regarding the Blood Donation project circulated around university and within AIESEC USJ as well. In the flyers, adequate information about the campaign was given and the requirements for blood donation were informed to the potential donors prior to the event to ensure they met the criteria.  

On the day of the donation campaign, I came early to prepare and arrange the venue for the event. Ten medical officers soon arrived with the equipment necessary for donating blood. Members of the organizing committee were carefully allocated to handle each section of the process from registering donors to providing food and refreshments after blood was donated. Many students from both AIESEC and the Buddhist Society also gave tremendous support by taking on tasks head on and doing so very diligently. Due to this teamwork, there was a harmonious flow to the process which I thoroughly enjoyed looking at.  

I too wished to contribute to the cause by donating blood so I consulted the medical officers there to see if I am suitable as a donor. For this, I was first asked to provide basic information regarding myself and my health history since it’s my first time. Following this, I was instructed to check my weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature as well as testing my blood. There was a waiting line because there were many people ready to donate blood but soon I was taken in by one of the medical officers and told to rest so the donation can begin.

 

The medical officers were extremely kind and helpful throughout the process of donating blood and AIESECers were also present to provide any support needed to me and the other donors at all times. After the blood donation was complete, I was guided to a chair to rest. All donors were provided with a slice of cake, a fish bun, a milk packet and a King Coconut drink for refreshments. What I found thoughtful and sweet was that donors were gifted a ‘thank you’ key tag after donating. I remember as I sat down, a sense of contentment washed over me because I felt genuine happiness for contributing to the blood donation campaign.

It was indeed a memorable experience.

By  Dunali Wanasinghe

Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team

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Event, Leadership, Programs

Creative Circuit 3.0

In the latter half of July, the creative industry of Sri Lanka was set alight by Creative Circuit 3.0, the annual flagship event conducted by AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura revolving around creativity and innovation which was conducted for the 3rd consecutive time. The event was graced by 19 speakers across 4 continents with over 13k views covered 12 fields related to the creative industry.

Creative Circuit 3.0 kicked off virtually on the 15th of July with an introduction into the business side of the creative industry conducted by Mr. Niruban Satchi from Sysco Labs. It was followed by “the Art of Adobe,” a session on graphic designing by Mr. Abhishek Pandey from India and “The Roots of our Digital Experience,” an in depth session on UI/UX Designing by Rootcode Labs.  The first virtual day was concluded by Mr. Dean Wright who took the audience through the secrets of visual effects behind some of his most famous work such as Titanic, Narnia and Lord of the Rings. 

The second day kicked off with the earliest rays of sunshine on the 16th of July. Speakers from all over the world joined with the audience and covered many topics including Emmy winning Prosthetic Makeup Artist Mr. Sean Genders whose work included Elvis, Pirates of the Caribbean;  Oscar Nominated Costume Designer Ms. Kym Barrett whose portfolio included the likes of Aquaman, Shang Chi and the Matrix and also Ms. Betsy Heimann, another acclaimed costume designer who helped bring to life Rush Hour 3, Pulp Fiction and many more.

The last day of Creative Circuit was conducted physically on the 23rd of July and was focused on local artists. It was held at the DHPL auditorium in Colombo. Mr. Athula Jayasinghe and Mr. Anura Jayantha kicked things off with an interactive session on dubbing.  The session was enjoyed thoroughly by the crowd who got to explore a previously unknown side of the local dubbing industry. After the lunch break Mr. Hirushan Maddumarachchi took the stage, a proud product of our motherland whose talent on audio engineering was recognised by studios worldwide giving him the opportunity to partake in projects such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Doctor Strange, She Hulk. The physical day was wrapped up by Mr GK who covered different aspects of digital music distribution.

Several partners came on board to make Creative Circuit 3.0 a success, including Elephant House, Urban Records Entertainment, R. G. Brothers, Foreway Logistics, Ceylon School of Gaming, and Prima Kottu Mee. Furthermore, Teaser Beverages as Beverage Partner, Eclipse Motion as Live Stream and Studio Partner, The Good PR, Daily Mirror and Lankadeepa as Media Partners, and Ever Prints as Printing Partner, followed by several generous Banner and Gift Partners helped bring the event to fruition.

Creative Circuit 3.0 had a massive impact on the creative industry. Requoting one of the delegates from the event, “Creative Circuit was truly inspiring. To hear all of these artists talk about how much they believe in their work, and how their passion has driven their careers is so inspiring. Dean Wright’s session on visual effects was so interesting and comprehensive, seeing the storyboards behind the big projects really puts things into perspective and shows how all of it starts from a small idea. It sort of gives hope for all of us as well, that maybe we can do this one day too!”

The speakers also had positive feedback regarding the event. Mr. Prakhar Agnihotri who had worked as a VFX artist on some of the biggest blockbusters ever released by Marvel Studios such as Avengers Infinity War, Endgame and Black Panther had the following to say about Creative Circuit 3.0. “It’s really amazing when you have a whole event centered around creativity, connecting us with everyone, and providing access to information that I myself wished I had in my early days is a great achievement.”

Thus ended Creative Circuit 3.0, another successful chapter in the books of AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura, leaving a mark on the creative industry as never before.

By Indeepa Maddumage 

Jayewardenepura Showcasing Team

 

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Event, Programs, Travel

All for love

“Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person”

‘All For Love’ is a novel initiative taken by the Incoming Global Volunteer function of AIESEC in University of Sri Jayewardenepura. The objective of the project is to uplift the standards of education of underprivileged students in Sri Lanka by reducing inequalities and spreading love, life and happiness which everyone deserves.

The project was held on 4th August, 2022 at Kandewatta Siri Sumana Vidyalaya, Siyambalape with the participation of little kids and teachers of the school, foreign exchange participants and members of AIESEC in USJ.I was fortunate enough to participate in the project and be a part of it, witnessing the innocent smiles of little kids.

We reached to the school at 9.00 a.m. and kids warmly welcomed us. Students were from grade 3-5 classes. They gave us a beautiful handmade flower and still I have it as a memory. After lightening the traditional oil lamp, a student in the school delivered the welcome speech. After that, the principal of the school addressed us and appreciated our effort to do something impactful for the society. After all these, we donated the stationery items to students including pens, pencils, books and clay.

Next session was the most interesting and enjoyable one. Foreign exchange participants had an interactive session with the children. After introducing themselves to the students , they taught children some phrases which are useful when doing a self introduction in English  including name, age, class, favourite colour and favourite food etc. . Students were able to understand it well and they introduced themselves really well. Next, the exchange participants taught them the parts of the body. They also taught them a song which describes the part of the body. It was very enjoyable to sing it with little kids. They learned it quickly and at the end, they were able to describe the parts of the body in English. Some students voluntarily came forward and described others what they have learned.

In the next session, the kids were given some A4 sheets to draw a girl or a boy. Then, they had to name the parts of the body in the drawing they have drawn. The exchange participants and us helped kids to do it correctly and they were very enthusiastic to learn. We helped kids to figure out the mistakes, and they learned very happily. It was a rare opportunity and a new experience for them to learn from foreign teachers and they enjoyed it a lot. At the end of the session, we were able to see very beautiful drawings of the kids.

After finishing the session the exchange participants requested the students to come forward and sing the song they learned. They came forward happily and sang it with others. It was a great pleasure  to see their talents and happy faces. The principal and the teachers of the school thanked us and appreciated our effort.

All good things come to an end. After all these, we said good bye to students marking the end of the project. It was an admirable initiative taken by the Incoming Global Volunteer function and by participating in it, I understood that we should help and support underprivileged students as we can because they are the blooming buds for the future generation.

By Agraja Sandasarani

Jayawardenepura Showcasing Team  

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