I joined AIESEC as a member of the team that was responsible for sending people abroad. My tasks were helping people to go for an internship. During every meeting I felt jealous towards these people because they could go for an internship abroad, respectively I envied them the fact, that they are brave enough to pack their staff, leave their friends and parents here and go to spend their summer somewhere.
By Beginning of June 2014, my plan for summer changed immediately. My girlfriend back then decided to go to Bulgaria for summer, to work as „animator“ in some Hotel resort. The whole truth is that the typical men’s vanity caused that I decided to go abroad as well. But, the question was how? Work’n’travel had already closed registration, and anyway I would not have a lot of money anyway, Apply for summer university was too late as well, and go to work as „animator“ in this situation was the last thing that my EGO would be ok with.
Suddenly I remembered an AIESEC internship. I was persuaded that my contacts there will help me to find something for that summer and I thought I could choose. And it was almost true. I called to AIESEC Pilsen (I am sorry ČZU), next day I signed the contract and I spent two sleepless nights in the system that I needed to use for an internship in that time.
The truth is, that I planned to go to Columbia or Mexico, or Thailand, but I ended in Romania, which wasn’t on my wishlist of top 30 countries. On the other hand, what I could expect in my situation – It was June and I was free only till the end of July, my budget allowed me to buy tickets inside Europe and I was really picky in terms of Job description and project purpose.
I just want to stress that between signing the contract and day of Realization was only twelve days.
According to the Description of the project, it seemed that I go for something like our Czech project EDISON, I will present my country to kids in Romania’s schools. Because of that, I started to prepare a presentation about myself and my country, our culture and so on. BUT the first week showed me how I was wrong. The project I signed for – project GROW – started by 5 days long conference in a small city called Predeal. There were almost 100 delegates from different corners of the world. It was the first time for me when I had a chance to meet so many different people in one place. I think I can say that this was the best possible way for us how to break all these stereotypes about each nationality or ethnicity.
On this conference, I realized that my main job description going to be delivering various sessions for high school students, the topics were about personal development and soft-skills. Immediately I understood that first thing I will be developing going to be myself first.
During this conference, we were preparing all these sessions and training for upcoming 5 weeks. We were also divided into the couples, in which we were supposed to deliver. My partner was ISHA, a lady originally from India but when she was 3 years old she moved to the USA, she was a native speaker, well it was another of thousands of challenges I faced there, because I doubt if my English skills are enough for presentation in front of group of people, and feeling that I have native speaker as a partner didn’t help me at all.
After The conference we moved to Suceava, the city where we were supposed to stay another 5 weeks, we traveled there 7 hours by train, and during this journey, we were able to observe all the scenes that Romania offers. The beauty of its nature, huge mountains, endless fields, And different Cities. I started to feel that going to Romania was a good choice.
This feeling was underlined by the first touchpoint with our audience – the high school students. Yes, of course, I have read about Romanians that they are one of the warmest people in the world, but you never believe these lines in “booklets about the Country” or so. But they really are, the students were proactive and seemed that they really appreciate the opportunity to meet someone from abroad and learn something extra besides the school lessons. During every break, they were curious about my background, country, politics, economics, about everything connected with us as well as we asked them everything about Romania, and it got us the chance to build a true picture about the country and not only live with the pre-judgments we find on the internet.
I am aware that it sounds like a cliché but this experience really changed my life. Long time I thought that The internship changed only me, but I am still in contact with many of my students and I get messages that my lessons also influenced them as well. And this was for me the biggest honor I could get.
Jan Škuba, a member of the national team of AIESEC in the Czech Republic, telling his story about volunteering internship Global Volunteer in Romania.