Starting from my first days in AIESEC after reading description of the organization, it was a big question for me: “Is it possible that an organization which is led by “students” (they are just 17-23 years old!) could send me to another country for an internship for a long period??” One of my core reasons to join AIESEC was my curiosity to check the reality of this mission.
In summer 2011, It was time to check the “Magic” whether it works. Therefore I applied to an internship in Cluj, Romania. However, for the first time it is failed due to my own unexpected personal reasons.
It was hard to wait for the next summer as I was studying, working and could not take it in other periods. And it was a term when I changed my mind and decided I would go somewhere extraordinary rather than “elegant, clean, beautiful, architectural, safe Europe”! And I chose Sri Lanka!
Together with 5 AIESECers, we have created our project and sent it to AIESEC Sri Lanka board. They liked it and invited us to Colombo.
I had never been in tropic countries before and when I stepped out of Colombo Airport, I unconsciously said “The Magic started”. I was extremely tired when we reached to the place where we should stay and I just slept…
When I woke up in my first day in Colombo, I found myself in specially decorated room with lots of religious items around me. When I went sleepy out of home almost stepped on a huge varan! I would never imagine people could live with such kind of animal together peacefully. And it was just the beginning of extraordinary situations and unexpected adventures in the Paradise Island.
We have organized the project successfully and did a great job during the 7 weeks based on local’s feedback. Together with professional work, we experienced lots of extraordinary things including eating “extremely” spicy foods together with spicy drinks (Ginger Beer), taking tuk-tuk (small cabs with 3 wheels) with 5 people, playing Cricket with local friends (or trying to play J), thinking about to play cards with bananas (as banana was extremely cheap), trying unknown fruits every day, as a team secretly reaching to the roof of 5 Star Hotel – Taj Samudra which is located in the city center at 3-4 am in the night, even sleeping in Buddhist Temple!
Each day spent in that internship was unexpected and extraordinary for me. After Sri Lanka Internship I believed AIESEC Internship “Magic” exists. In the end of trip I decided the location of my next internship: My childhood dream – Brazil!
The next year – in 2013, I managed to get my internship in Juiz De Fora – a small city, 3 hours way from Rio De Janeiro. As soon as I landed to Rio, I felt something bizarre. Did I come to Brazil? Maracana, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Jesus Redeemer, Favellas, TV Series, Salsa, Carnavals, Amazon? Cidade De Deus?!
Now I was alone from my country and Brazil was extremely dangerous. However, this country was more than “Magic”! I met with lots cool people from different countries during the project and in my daily life. Have visited lots of beautiful cities, beaches, mountains, villages. The island “Ilha Grande” was the most beautiful place I have ever been. And Brazilian people were the most easygoing people I have ever met. Although none of my host family members (excluding a son) could understand in English, I lived in their apartment for more than a month thanks to Google Translate (English-Portuguese typing). J Although I thought I could play football very well, just a game with locals explained me that “Be silent, I am in Brazil in the country of football!” . Although I lost in Favellas 2 day by day when I was looking for my host house it was nice experience to remember the movies “City of God” or “Elite Squad” (people who watched them could catch my feelings there) and panic in the dark streets in 1-2 am in the night. It was awesome to watch the match in Maracana, find myself in the middle of public protests in Sao Paulo, be followed by 15-20 dogs on our way (almost a km way) from the bus station to hostel in Paraty, be in the island like paradise with 7 beaches in Ilha Grande, and of course visit the statue of Christ in Rio De Janeiro.
Meeting with totally different people in different hostels, travelling different cities, regions for weeks, somehow communicating with the people who didn’t understand anything in English, enjoying Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana and other moments were just a tiny part of my unforgettable internship.
Although I could not ride an elephant in Sri Lanka and could not enjoy hang-gliding in Rio De Janeiro, still I feel I am lucky that I have met with AIESEC… I am sure my memories will call either more memories in the people who have been in AIESEC Internship at least one time or more desire for participation in the people who wish to do it for the first time.
Still don’t believe to the “Magic”? Be sure, it is worth to check the reality…