AIESEC Sri Lanka, Leadership, Lifestyle, Programs, Travel

Priceless Experiences create unforgettable memories | Volunteer Experience of Sudeera in Poland

Usually, I’m not a person who would adhere to philosophical sayings. But, one of my experiences made me believe. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”. Here comes the life-changing experience I got as a volunteer through AIESEC in University of Kelaniya.

I’m Sudheera Fernando, the Former local committee vice president for marketing for the term 21.22. I’m well known for my daring nature. And I do not take things much personally. Accordingly, My character has allowed me more space to enjoy my life. As a result, I make the full out of the situations that come across me. Thus, this volunteer program was solely based on travelling under the Sustainable Development Goal 08, Decent Work and Economic growth.

Sudeera in poland

A long-awaited moment to place in Poland

Indeed, I would say I was very excited before the commencement of my journey. But from the beginning, I knew this would be very challenging. Above all, this is an experience in a completely different social and geographical setting. I began my adventure from Krakow in Poland. It is a Southern Poland city near the border of the Czech Republic. Also, it is a well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter. It was an ancient city among the tourist destinations Wawel Royal Castle, Basilica of St Francis, Collegium Maius, Kazimierz, St. Mary’s Basilica, and Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Most importantly, it is the second-largest city in Poland. Indeed, I would say it is really happening. As I was engaging with some locals, I met a fantastic kid. And his passion was trekking. And to specify, the youngsters in Krakow, including the whole of Poland, were good at football. With that country as inspiration, we taught them cricket, the major highlight of Sri Lankan sports and most popular in Sri Lanka. Also my favourite.

I have to say this journey to spend six weeks in a foreign land was initially challenging. But the presence of my best friend Malaka made it bearable and memorable. And he, too, joined this experience. Two of us wanted to travel as much as we could and gain a lot of experience.

During the second week of the exchange, we went to Budapest. It is the capital of Hungary. The name “Budapest” itself comes with the geographical aspect. I was lucky enough to visit it and get an idea of the fantastic diversity in different countries. The river Danube divides this city, Budapest. The Chain Bridge built during the 19th century connects the hill area called Buda with the flat land called Pest. Thus, this city is collectively known as Budapest.

It’s a blessing to have an even-minded friend.

It’s a blessing to have an even-minded friend.

Moreover, Budapest is well known for its adventurous activities. So, you may see along the roads there are places made for axe tossing, and people are gathered around it. And Buda Castle, the Hungarian parliamentary building, Margaret Island, Dohany Street Synagogue, Gellert Hill, and St. Stephens’s Basilica are some of the many attractions.

After spending a few days in Hungary with some other friends, we headed towards Vienna, the capital of Austria. It is situated on the other part of the river Danube. Most probably, as we got to know, Austria is a land of intellectuals. Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud are residents of Austria. The Vienna architecture was outstanding as they had enormous castles with minute inscriptions. And glass played a significant part in construction materials.

It’s never impossible to have fun in the rain.

It’s never impossible to have fun in the rain.

In the coming week, we returned to Klodzko, another city in the southwestern region of Poland. It was situated in the valley of the Eastern Neisse River of Lower Silesia. Since those days were rainy and gloomy, I would hardly name them as good. Yet, we enjoyed our best. Above all, I met many new people during these journeys and made good friendships. Among them, Joanna and Anita were unforgettable characters. And they made my trips more lovely and amusing.

 

My next destination was my dream city Amsterdam. It is the capital of the Netherlands. It is more or less an artistic heritage, with an elaborate canal system and narrow houses. Getting a chance to visit the Netherlands was one of my dreams come true. It was a chance to tick off one of my bucket lists. As a person who loves travelling, I won’t ever forget the event I got to wander through these magnificent cities in the heart of Europe.

And then to the dream city Amsterdam. Yeah, you all know that it is all about fun when it comes to Amsterdam. As a person who loves travelling, I got the opportunity to wander through beautiful cities in the heart of Europe.

In conclusion, don’t wait. Just join AIESEC in the University of Kelaniya. Drag the opportunity and explore the world.

 

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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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Travel

Ever illustrious days with Project Oceano #2

Oceano 7.0 is a project aligned with SDG #14 – “Life below Water” organized by AIESEC in University of Moratuwa with the aim of increasing, contributing, and raising awareness about the protection of the sea turtles and marine biodiversity in Sri Lanka. Our mission is to identify vulnerabilities and issues regarding the coastal ecosystem of Sri Lanka and to take corrective actions to eliminate the causes of detected issues.

With a beach cleanup in Wennappuwa, I started my second week as a volunteer for Oceano. With our work we tried to reduce the devastating impact of the fire of the container ship “X-Press Pearl”, focusing particularly on the removal of the plastic pellets that were loaded intones on the vessel.

We also had the luck to visit NARA, the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency in Colombo this week to learn more about the marine ecosystem and pollution in Sri Lanka. During this field visit, we were able to talk to scientists of all departments about the impact of environmental pollution on the Indian Ocean and furthermore the effects of the container ship disaster. This week I was again able to accompany the Feel Lanka team. Within three days I was able to visit the cities of Nuwara Elia and Ella and explore famous sights and delicacies of Sri Lanka.

In summary, week 02 of Oceano 7.0 was successfully completed with 3 events – Beach clean-up at Wennappuwa, Field Visit to NARA, and Trip to Nuwara Eliya & Ella.

In this moment, it is with great pleasure that we mention our gift partners – The Tasty Cake Corner, BlackGen (Pvt) Ltd, Frutti Natural Ice Cream, and Tiny Jungle. And our Hiking Partner – Mora Hiking Club. Our Venue Partner – Clove Reef Seafood Restaurant. Moreover, our Green Partner – The Book Rack. Also, our Creative Partner – ARTSDO. And Finally, our B2B Partner – Shanthi Sustainable Development.

Stay tuned with Oceano 7.0 to celebrate its third week which will be filled with lot more events such as School Awareness Sessions and Tours.

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Travel

Ever illustrious days with Project Oceano

Oceano 7.0 is a project aligned with SDG #14 – “Life below Water” organized by AIESEC in University of Moratuwa with the aim of increasing, contributing, and raising awareness about the protection of the sea turtles and marine biodiversity in Sri Lanka. Our mission is to identify vulnerabilities and issues regarding the coastal ecosystem of Sri Lanka and to take corrective actions to eliminate the causes of detected issues.

My first week as a volunteer for Project Oceano started with a city tour in Colombo to get a first impression of Sri Lanka’s capital. After getting to know the city and area I live in, my team leader and team members introduced me to the project tasks and upcoming events. My first event is the organization of a quote competition – the kickoff was brainstorming the perfect name for it and discussing the upcoming milestones within the event.

To prepare me for the project tasks, I had a Marketing session about the programs and tools we will use, such as Photoshop, Canva and Adobe Premier. Through the Incoming Preparation Seminar, I was able to get to know the culture in Sri Lanka and give some insights into the German culture.

As the Oceano team enabled me to join my roommates traveling to Sigiriya and Kandy with the Feel Lanka project, I was furthermore lucky to get in touch with parts of the country, culture, and a lot of people. Throughout the activities of the first week, I was also able to get to know a lot of members of AIESEC in University of Moratuwa.

In summary, week 01 of Oceano 7.0 was successfully completed with 5 events – Colombo City Tour, Trip to Sigiriya, MKT Workshop, Incoming Preparation Seminar, and Trip to Kandy.

In this moment, it is with great pleasure that we mention our gift partners – The Tasty Cake Corner, BlackGen (Pvt) Ltd, Frutti Natural Ice Cream, and Tiny Jungle. Then, our Hiking Partner – Mora Hiking Club. Our Venue Partner – Clove Reef Seafood Restaurant. And finally, our Creative Partner – ARTSDO.

Ultimately, stay tuned with Oceano 7.0 to celebrate its second week which will be filled with lot more events such as Beach Clean-ups, Field Visits, and more Trips.

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Leadership, Travel, Uncategorized

A fact to heed – Experience gained comes above the salary earned

“If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”                                             ~ Henry Ford

At the budding stages of our career, most of us look for a higher-paying job instead of a better one just because we are so eager to earn money and be independent. We get this competitive mindset within us to earn a higher salary than our peers. But, think for a moment, is this high-paying job a stable path for a successive career? Or will it benefit your future professional journey? I’m sure you will have a small doubt in your mind.

Why? Because gaining work experience is the most important part of starting your career as a young adult. It is the place where a foundation for your future professional journey is created. So as we all know, just like a building cannot stand without a solid foundation, a succeeding career won’t build up if the job seeker does not have adequate, value-adding professional experience. 

 

Why is experience so important?

You might have seen in job adverts, most of the employers ask for experience. It’s very rare to come across a job opening that has not listed prior work experience as a requirement for the applicants. Ever wondered why? 

That is because employers want people with experience for the roles, and being a uniquely-experienced professional will give you an extra boost to land your dream job.

Let’s take a software engineer as an example. Designing software is not an easy task, and when it comes to the real world, some clients require complex, innovative, and massive scale software. So an amateur software engineer will have very little chance of developing such software as the knowledge learned from books and degrees will not be enough to deal with this level of critical, real-world requirements. This level of expertise can only be achieved through experience. And this is why one should prioritize experience when they are seeking a job.

Exemplary work experience sets you up for better jobs in the future.

 

Choose what is best for you

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”                            –  Steve Jobs

People who are of the working-age spend a large proportion of time in work settings. It even has a major impact on the person’s well-being. So selecting a path that you like to pursue as a career is important rather than wasting time doing something you don’t like just because the pay is good. 

If you’ve watched “Friends,” the American sitcom, you must recall how Chandler quit his high-paying data configuration job because he didn’t like spending his time on it.

It is important to consider your needs and career goals when selecting a job role. Enjoy doing something you love for a living, irrespective of the paycheck!

 

How can experience come above the salary earned?

Money is an important factor in our lives as it is needed to pay for things that we need to live. So the fundamental problem for most people in the world is, “how can I earn more money?”

And the answer to that question, if you are not self-employed, is getting a well-paid job.

But in order to land a well-paid job, one needs to have the necessary qualifications and, most importantly, something that will make them stand out from the rest of the applicants.

So the key aspect a budding professional should look for is to acquire unique skills which will keep them two steps ahead of their peers.

Gaining value-adding work experience is more vital than earning a high salary in your early career. 

 

How can AIESEC internship opportunities help?

Signing up through AIESEC is a way for all passionate individuals out there to find opportunities that will help enhance unique skills that future employers are looking for and to apply theoretical knowledge into practice!

AIESEC provides a wide range of foreign internship opportunities for the youth in diversified fields of work which will give them an immersive global experience with cross-cultural understanding. From whichever field you are interested in prospecting, AIESEC provides the best foreign internship opportunities that will support you to escalate your professional journey. 

 

Finally, it is important to know that working with the intention to gain experience and to learn comes above working for the salary paid because, at the end of the day, the experience you gained is what’s going to decide your career success and not the paycheck you received. Prior work exposure will make you a confident professional and help you advance in future career opportunities.

 

 

By Dulni Wedage
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

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