My Leadership Story: How Zaman empowered youth

One of the reasons why I decided to join AIESEC was challenging myself, get experience that you cannot get in university, and an opportunity to get to know new people through traveling. I joined this organization in October 2013 and started to wait for a chance to go for the internship.

Starting from April 2014, every single day I was thinking about internship. I woke up in the morning, and preparing breakfast told myself “Internship will change many things”. It was a bit crazy time, because you do not know still where you go, but you know for sure it will change you.

In the beginning, I failed two interviews with Poland: It was Rzeszow and Bialystok cities. I almost was demotivated, because applied for 10 different projects and there was no result. At last, I got my exam schedule, I understood that I am free after 12 June, I definitely had more opportunities, and found one cool project in Greece, which provided opportunity to be a Team Leader of group of children of various age. Without any hesitation, I applied, passed interview, which lasted 80 minutes, got my visa during 4 days for 73 days in Europe, bought my bus ticket to Istanbul and flight to Greece and was ready!

Leaving Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, on 21 June in the morning, I felt very strange, because nobody was seeing me off. As soon as I got off from taxi on the central bus station, and stayed alone with my heavy luggage, I understood that challenges begin from this moment!

I spent a good time in Istanbul, loved this city very much, even did to have time to see all beautiful sides of this powerful city! Finally, I got to Thessaloniki, after 1 day arrived to my camp, and started my work. Generally, my work consisted of dealing with Greek and Russian children whom I had to spend time with. I worked in two different camps, in different parts of Khalkidhiki Island. Spending overall five and a half weeks volunteering, two weeks of them were devoted to camp activities, 3 weeks – dealing with children and supporting camp stuff. It was challenging to be responsible for kids aged between 10 and 15.

I tried every child (actually it was 300 Greek children, who did not speak English properly) feel AIESEC spirit and taught them our dances. Additionally, I had opportunity to learn much about Greek people and understood that they
have somehow similar culture to Azerbaijan. During my work in second camp, I was leader of Russian kids. It was interesting, because of new culture for me, although I knew Russians and Russian at good level, but children were small and it required very big responsibility from my side. I was solving their problems, spending always time with them everywhere. I just saw in them small me and took care as my own children.

Empowering them on daily basis, giving a lot of advice, when seeing someone disappointed try to help him – that was one of the biggest learnings of my internship. One of my aims before internship was to represent my country on the best level as possible. Even I do not count myself as patriotic person; I tried to spend my free time in discussions about Azerbaijan and providing different perspective and about my country, breaking prejudices, at the same time getting to know cultures of interns in my camps – from Russia and Ukraine.

It was very hard to say goodbye children whom I was together during 5 and half weeks. I did my best for them enjoy the camp time, starting from going to the seaside every morning, playing “monopoly” game in the “quiet time”, and making their time valuable.

to the end, I would like to mention that I never regretted about any second which I spent in my internship, cause it helped me to become mature and feel responsible for a lot of things: for myself, for people around me, for the world. That was my life-changing experience, I was happy to get it through Global Volunteer!

Zaman Gambarov, a member of the national team of AIESEC in the Czech Republic, coming from Azerbaijan.

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