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Kate Lysenko’s Story:

In the spring of 2011, I had the unforgettable opportunity to go on a two month internship in Budapest, Hungary. I swiftly gathered my much-too-heavy bags under the pretence and formal job description of being a teacher’s assistant at a German/English Bilingual School for kindergarten to grade 8 students. I foresaw it as a wonderful way to put my fondness for proper punctuation to good use. This internship called for that, and gave rise to infinitely more rewarding possibilities. This small country in Central Europe still radiates with nobility from its glorious days as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The cobblestone

roads spiralling down Budapest’s Side, and the intricately detailed architecture of the buildings – patient observers of World War 1 - now slightly covered in soot, all contribute to the mysterious atmosphere Budapest seems to possess. Upon arriving to the capital, it was the Parliament Building of


neo-gothic inspiration that instantly captivated my attention as it proudly stood on the Pest Side of the capital. The luring smell of hearty food wafts out of stalls and restaurants, encompassing the traditional Hungarian meat-filled cuisine, one can be promised to never go hungry in Hungary. In particular, the Langos – fried dough smothered in warm garlic butter, topped with sour cream and an abundance of cheese is truly something to be missed on cold nights. It is Hungary that allows your ears to be filled with music of the fiddle and accordion, played by a contemporary Hungarian band in a charming blend of old and new tradition. The Hungarian language with its endless complexities that challenges, taunts you to learn it, all the meanwhile encouraging you to strive to connect with others by overcoming the language barriers. It is precisely those moments of uneasy acceptance of strange conversations fluttering past you, that one

It is travelling that ignites the desire to explore the magnificence of this earth further, and to appreciate the challenges that lie ahead.

realizes they are no longer in the familiarity of their comfort zone.

While I ventured into this intimate country with the determined intent to help teach children, it was I who was taught the valuable lessons by them each day. These wonderful characters opened up my faded eyes to the binding connections of this seemingly vast world. No matter the age, culture, or language, innately, all we desire is simply attention and affection. To say that this internship was a lifechanging opportunity would be an understatement. Not only did this experience solidify my purpose in life to make a positive impact on the lives of children, but it gave me a chance to do just that, every day. By going abroad to Budapest, Hungary with AIESEC, I had the chance to not only receive a passing glance at such an intricate culture, but to fully embody it.


Workshops/Resume Critiques. My role consisted of researching information for these workshops, organizing the venue, creating a presentation, looking for supplementary handouts that would help students, marketing the workshop to students, presenting the information, and reviewing and correcting their CV one-on-one. I also assisted the other interns with their projects. Through this internship I was able to develop or further develop my skills in communication, event management, marketing, and my cultural horizon. I was really able to understand what it was like to work with people from different cultural (regardless if they were my Canadian/Filipino/Hong Kong co-workers or my Mainland China/Hong Kong/International students).

Tiffany Leung’s Story:

In June 2011, I accepted a nine-month position as a Teaching and Project Assistant at Hong Kong Baptist University. I arrived September 2011 and was thrown right into the work as the school semester had already started. At the University, I worked with four other AIESEC interns; three of them also happen to be Canadian and one was Filipino. As a Teaching Assistant I was responsible for one of the Business Communication classes in the Business Faculty. My role was to attend the class section that I was assigned to each week, assistant students with their work, mark assignments and exams, record grades, act as a liaison between the professor and students, and arrange class activities for the intercultural Teaching Assistant & Project Assistant

communication section of the course. On top of being a Teaching Assistant, I was also a Project Assistant where I was responsible for organizing and facilitating the Resume and Cover Letter

Hong Kong itself is a really fun place to be, especially if you're young. It is a city that is constantly changing and there is ALWAYS something to do. I have gone to see the Big Buddha, beaches, bargained shopped in street markets, hiked on trails with


amazing views of Hong Kong, spent an afternoon at Stanley Market, went to Disneyland Hong Kong and Ocean Park, partied in Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai, tried stinky tofu and snake soup, experienced Chinese New Years in Hong Kong etc. Food is relatively cheap, transportation is amazing day or in the middle of the night, and its an ideal place to be if you want to travel to other countries in South East Asia. Since I have been here I have traveled to China, Thailand, India, Japan, and the Philippines; I hope to travel to Singapore and Taiwan before I leave. The AIESEC community here is definitely present and amazing. Each University in Hong Kong take turns organizing outgoings so you get a chance to meet other people. I have met so many people who are a part of AIESEC or are friends with people in AIESEC from Hong Kong, Russia, Colombia,

Philippines, Bangladesh, Singapore, Poland, Germany, France, Brazil etc. My advice to others: Go abroad to another country or even come to Hong Kong. Don't be afraid to take the leap that I have because it truly has turned out to be a life changing experience through the people I have met, countries I have traveled, or the friendships I have made with my coworkers/roommates. This AIESEC internship has allowed me to develop professionally and personally. Although you will develop culture shock (something that I didn't think I would experience too much since I was born and raised in Canada to a Chinese family), but Hong Kong sometimes has a way of doing that to you because it is so fast past. Either way, my advice if you come to Hong Kong is stay true to your roots and who you are and try not to let the environment or the people influence you and what you do; but most importantly have

fun


Ashley Morgan’s Story: In 2011 I went on an incredible adventure to Liaoning, China, for an internship within human resources for the largest IT firm in China. For a full 8 months, I lived like a local in two bustling Chinese cities where it was common not to see another foreigner for days. The experiences I gained and things I saw were eye opening, and helped me understand the environment that people in a fastdeveloping country are living in. The food was quite an adjustment, but worth it to meet the amazing young professionals in China who will make a difference in their country. It was also eye-opening to change my own lifestyle to suit a local habit, where everyone is part of the community, where way too many people crowd onto busses, and where foreigners are fascinating and menacing at the same time.

Overall, AIESEC changed my life!


David Martin’s

I arrived on Qingdao on August 17th, 2012. My job was teaching a group of kindergarten students as much English as I could, and leave some degree of teaching material behind for the school, before I left. With great effort I believe I achieved the antecedent, but I failed in the latter. Despite attempts to make concrete lesson plan, video tutorials and other teaching material, time was not on our side and none of the aforementioned was truly completed. Regardless, my hosts were happy with what we had achieved and great pride in the education of their pupils.

Story:

The value I place on my internship can be measured by the smiles of my students and hosts.

Outside the school is where I stopped being a teaching and started being a student. I learned about Chinese culture and language, tried amazing and sometimes terrible new foods and developed a new motto: anything once. It wasn’t a matter of throwing caution to wind but of embracing opportunities I would otherwise be too scared to take advantage of. Some of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had were with the friends I made in Qingdao; climbing mountains, giving lectures at the University, traveling to strange new places with sometimes strange new people. All lessons I brought home with me when I returned to Ottawa on December 27th, 2012.


Jennifer Nguyen’s Story:

Recently I went on an internship in Lisbon, Portugal through AIESEC. It was the best decision I have made in my life thus far.

I decided to go with the Make It Possible project (started by AIESECPortugal). One of the goals of the project is to raise awareness among young students about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Not only was it about raising awareness, it was about empowering and encouraging these students to be leaders and make a change, no matter how big or small. My job was to teach students, about these goals and the issues surrounding them. We asked our students about the experience and many of them said that it really opened their eyes to things that they hadn't known about before. They told us that they felt more knowledgeable about world issues and that they wanted to stand up and do something about the problems that people face every day.

The fact that they cared about what we teaching them and appreciated us being there is something that made us very proud. We felt the impact we had on these students, and we were, just normal, everyday people


Before this, I had no experience teaching, no working experience in the field of development and global issues, and I had never been away from home without my family or friends for more than a week. I thought that I would try something new and dive head first into something unfamiliar. It was scary and exciting at the same time. The result? A life-changing experience. I fell in love with everything during the internship: The city, the country, the students, the interns, the AIESECers, and as someone who loves to eat, I have to mention the delicious pastries. It also made me realize that I want to be more involved in volunteering and helping people. It's been almost 3 months since the internship ended, and I still think about it everyday. Perhaps that's the bittersweet part of the experience, but I certainly wouldn't take it back. In fact, if I could rewind time and re-live it over again, I would.

Your internship will most likely not be perfect, mine certainly wasn't, but perfect isn't always fun.


Genevieve Juillet’s Story:

My AIESEC experience was one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life, though overall it was a great experience and I am so glad that I took the opportunity to go. I spent seven weeks in Delhi, India, working for the Indian Cancer Society. I arrived in Delhi at the end of May. While I knew it was going to be hot, I had no idea how hot summer in India really is! I spent my first few weeks in India huddled next to the air conditioning in my bedroom. It took quite awhile for my body to adjust to the heat. While in Delhi, I shared an apartment with eleven other interns. There were four of us to a bedroom. My roommates were from China, Poland and France and spending time with them was one of the highlights of my trip. Overall, meeting all the other interns from all over the world was my favourite part of my AIESEC experience. I now have friends across the globe and I can’t wait to visit my AIESEC buddies! It did take me a while to adjust to the culture in India. The hardest part for me was how locals treated me as a white woman. My coworkers, who were Indian, informed me that most Indian men are only exposed to white women through pornography and therefore think of white girls as sexual objects. I never really got used to the stares and comments that seemed to follow me everywhere I went, despite the fact that I made sure to dress in a culturally acceptable way – i.e. legs and shoulders covered. There were times were I


definitely did not feel safe and felt like I was in danger. My advice to female interns looking to travel in India is to take a cue from the local women: stick to a group, dress modestly and never go out alone after dark. Rape is a very common crime in India, especially in Delhi. Overall, I had a great trip to India. Other then my international friends, another major trip highlight was the travelling I did outside of Delhi. Delhi is a dirty city that even Indians don't like, so getting out of there even just for a weekend was awesome.

Traveling I did outside of Dehli:  I took weekend trips to Rishikesh, a town in the Himalayas known as the "yoga capital" and for its white water rafting  To Manali, another Himalaya hill station known as a hippie headquarters. Manali is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen, so I definitely recommend that every intern in upper India take the chance to go there.  I also went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, which was a necessity.  The biggest trip I took was to Kathmandu, Nepal, which was fantastic!

While I don’t recommend that interns go to India during the summer months or take an internship with AIESEC Delhi, I still think India is an amazing place to travel and somewhere that everyone should

experience at least once in their life!


For those of you considering an internship abroad or an academic exchange in another country, I would encourage you to think carefully about the decision. At the beginning it can feel overwhelming; you will be challenged and you’ll be asked to work hard, to present the best side of yourself even under the most strenuous situations. Shed your fears aside and accept the opportunity before you, TO DO SOMETHING AMAZING! - David Martin

A I E S E C

Exchange Participant Storybook  

Stories from participants of international internships facilitated by AIESEC Ottawa