Six Weeks to connect deeper with the essence
My first intention to join AIESEC was to go for exchange. However I got so carried on with my AIESEC experience as a member that it took me over 2 year to go. That is how my adventure in Kyrgyzstan began. I spent there 6 weeks as a Global Volunteer intern. My project was called Share your smile. I worked with children from families below poverty line. Therefore, the project was designed to contribute to two Sustainable Development Goals, SDG#1 No poverty and SDG#4 Quality Education.
However, I do not want to be writing about project itself. I want to share with you how I got deeper connected to the essence of AIESEC through developing my leadership. There is no better way to to demonstrate the way we do develop people than through our core product – exchange.
Continuous self awareness building
I thought I am very self aware person at the time I went for the internship. That is why the experience challenged me the most, since I discovered much more about me living in such a diverse country as Kyrgyzstan. It truly challenges your value and way of thinking if your personal values clash with completely different reality. In my case it was the reconnection with family. It is in Kyrgyz nature to be very wholesome and family based. Coming from modern society some things were not very automatic for me. They would do anything for their family even laughter would give her first son to take care of the parents in case they don’t have son themselves. This is one of the many things that made to challenge my perspectives and helped me to grew.
Empowering myself through empowering others
The nature of the volunteering projects abroad in country with different culture, language and perspectives is predetermined to empower others. Helping people in need and showing them that even though they are not in a good economic situation they can learn, develop and enjoy fully the life they have. Further, I really learnt how to communicate effectively in very unfamiliar environment for me. I had no idea how can I express myself differently than with words using my hands and legs with children raging from 5 to 17 years old. The 5 year olds my biggest challenge and also biggest achievement in my opinion. The girl have not talk at all. But I haven’t stop trying to engage her in different ways and the last week we were working she started to repeat words after me. It was very strong moment.
Eating solution orientation for breakfast
Being solution oriented is a must even in normal life but when it comes to the internship it is make it or break matter. There are tons of situations that are uncomfortable for us. Starting with a small things like how to ensure the kids are learning end developing when the organization is not 100% perfect and at every class there is always one or two new kids. Getting to the issues of how to make sure you get to the airport on time when there are no taxis at 4 in the morning on the street, then first taxi broke, second has not enough gas and third one finally takes you to the airport. There is nothing certain when you are on exchange. Although you had some expectations it is usually far from the reality. Staying positive, looking for the solution and take risks is the make it moment to develop yourself and to make the experience unforgettable.
Becoming better world citizen
Either going to the other side of the globe or just to the neighboring country, it broadens your horizons dramatically. I have read about Kyrgyzstan and I have met people from Kyrgyzstan but the experiencing the country yourself is the only way to truly understand it. Adding up on that, the volunteering itself gives you the power to take it to your hands and influence what is happening at the local community. And when you have done it once, why not to believe that you can make a difference again?
Over and over going on exchange as a member was the best decision that I could take. I believe that it maximized the learning I got from the internship for myself and certainly it gave a great insights on how to work and develop AIESEC in Czech Republic. Last but not least, it gave me the drive to want every young person on the world to go through such an experience.
Markéta Grbavčicová, a member of the national team of AIESEC in Czech Republic, telling her story about volunteering internship Global Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan.
Go on your internship now, there is thousands of opportunities and #MakeYourStory