I don’t know about you, but I love going out of my comfort zone. I like trying new and exciting things because they either determine you to discover a passion and talent you didn’t even know you possessed or, you know, they give you a funny story to tell it over and over again. I think the fear of living a boring and monotonous life and not taking advantage of every moment makes me say YES to almost every challenge that comes along the way.
That brings me to my latest big challenge (yet), which is my summer in Brasil, and why doing exchange now is the best time ever not only for you, but for the world as a whole. Today’s events from all over the world still shock me and although my experience in AIESEC made me aware of the importance of this organization and the exchange we proudly promote, it is the time spent in Brasil and the recent tragic events that made me realize just what kind of impact this volunteering exchanges have on people. I will explain how in the following.
1. Refresh your personality
First of all, volunteering in a different country gives you a “refresh to your personality”. And that’s a good thing to do in general, from time to time. Repetitive actions and even hanging out with the same people over and over again start to define you as a person. Going out of this warm and comfortable plastic bubble and facing a real challenge, in a cultural exchange, all by yourself, changes you and from my perspective, this is indeed how you grow up. It’s like taking a break from time to time only to summarize your chapter of the life, draw some conclusions, make some changes if necessary and go on with your lessons learned.
2. Going on a cultural exchange makes you more aware of yourself
You can test your limits, discover new things about yourself, maybe try some things that you would not try at home ( because the new you= more courage= why postpone that tattoo that I wanted to take for so long? ) This list can be so long for me. I realized that I really do understand Spanish and I will start bragging with that in my CV. The second thing will be that I can work on my patience but at the same time is so hard to keep it together and not get frustrated when encountering language barriers and not being able to explain some things ( google translate was a big helper at the beginning). Thirdly, that I can work and make a certain impact in a totally different country with a language I don’t fluently speak through a language that the others don’t understand, and the list can go on.
3. You can be the ambassador of your own country
This aspect, I believe it to be the most important one, precisely in the days we live in. When being a Romanian in Brasil, a territory filled with warm and curious people, they will have a lot of questions to ask. You are the main responsible for the image that most of the people there will form about your country and while Romanians have a certain way of complaining, me included, this goes away so quickly when you are far away from home, and you start to miss it. You will become a real patriot and while promoting your country you will find a profound feeling of pride towards it.
As a second aspect to this point, you will also meet a lot of little ambassadors from countries all over the world. Some of them will become your best friends there ( in your new life away from home) some others will inspire you a lot and you will notice that by the end of the project you will not recognize them by their cultures rather by their personalities.
When going back in your country you will be the living proof that people can live together regardless of their beliefs as long as they respect each other and you will become a little world ambassador of peace. Because it’s this kind of experience and people that make the world change step by step.
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Flavia has visited 21 countries in Europe, plus parts of Turkey and Brasil. She loves Nutella and books . She wants to learn how to surf, and her biggest dream is to travel the world.