November 1, 2015, by Jonathan Teoh
My summer adventures with Aiesec at China!
During the summer break, I participated in a program organised by Aiesec (International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences). Aiesec is an international non-governmental not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide young people with leadership development and cross-cultural internship and volunteer experiences to enable them to make an impact in the society.
August 2015 was the start of my journey as an exchange participant (EP) to Chengdu, China to take part in the “Dare to dream” project organised by Aiesec at the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) in China. There were 24 EPs in this project that originated from different parts of the world including Germany, Russia, Cambodia, Italy, Poland, Spain, Palestine, Morocco, Mexico, Slovakia and Kuwait.
The aims of this project was geared mainly towards cultural exchange activities with the local school children to enable them to be exposed to different cultures of the world and also to learn English. The duration of this project was for a month where we spent some time at a local non-government organisation (NGO) when we first arrived. There, we spent some time with the local children and bonded really well with the kids through different activities that we’ve planned to foster interaction with them.
One of the highlights of my time spend in China was meeting Lisa. Initially, Lisa was not fluent in speaking English and she might not be the best student in the group but surprisingly, on the last day of our English class, she wrote me a letter in English. Even though Lisa was always the girl that sat on the last row during our activities and lesson, I was very surprised and touched as she translated each word from Mandarin to English using a dictionary. It was a touching moment for me personally as I felt that I have made a small yet significant impact in a young girl’s life.
For the second part of our month long project, we visited a local primary school which had more students. Here, each EP were given the task to take charge of a class of students and I was in charge of the lively kids from grade 4. The school kids were really excited to spend time with us and some even asked if I will be back again next year.
Another integral component of the project was Global Village, where each EP represented their home countries to showcase our individual countries and cultures to the local community. Various activities were held which includes performance and some games and activities which allows us to showcase our own culture and tradition through traditional games, dance and cultural costumes. We also brought traditional food from our individual countries to be shared among the locals and the other EPs.
I was glad that I took part in this program where I gained unforgettable memories with the rest of the EPs and brought smiles and joy to the local community in China.
Tan Hui Woon ( 3rd year BMS student)