About the Author: Rishabh Singh from Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC) Engineering College, Hyderabad, shares how he learned to face his fears at AIESEC Global, Egypt.
I started my AIESEC Global (International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences) volunteering internship in June 2017; it was a business development and IT Internship, and I worked on the goal of sustainable development.
I always wanted to go far away from myself, do something which I had never done before, and challenge my deepest fears. I kept attending several seminars and workshops, to find out where my soul belonged until I heard a person telling a story on how he managed to bring a change in himself after being a part of an exchange program. In a Youth Speak forum by AIESEC in my city, they spoke about the Global Volunteer Program, and that was when I asked myself – “Why shouldn’t I?”. I registered for the program, and after prolonged thinking, I decided to choose a project on sustainable development in Egypt. I was a bit scared, but I was ready to push myself to any limit.
An AIESECer was already present at the airport to pick me up when I landed in Egypt, he exuded bonhomie. My accommodation was far away from the airport and on our way there, we started talking about our cultures, traditions, religions, education, cinemas and some world issues. I noticed that everyone was very friendly and helping. Since it was Ramadan, I observed people helping each other break their fasts by distributing water and fruits. While we were traveling in a bus, I took out my mobile to take a selfie with him, when suddenly, people sitting behind us started saying something in Arabic, pointing towards us; I assumed that we weren’t allowed to take pictures in public, but what they had actually meant was that they too wanted to be clicked with us. Time just flew during that journey.
After traveling for 20 hours, I slept for 3 hours in my room, after which, I got a message from my project manager that I can take rest and start from the next day. I decided to start it from that moment itself, so I told her that I would be starting that day itself. I went to the office, and the CEO along with an AIESECer showed me the workplace and briefed me about my job description, but I wanted to do more work than what was mentioned in the job description as I believed I could. I developed business strategies to help kill the competition in the market and created a website for the company. People from my office were very friendly, in fact, we were like a family. Once, I was talking to an employee, when she asked where I was getting my breakfast from. I replied that either I drank milk or went to McDonald’s every day. After hearing this, she invited me for Iftaar with her family and made some ‘nabati’ (vegetarian) food for me which is difficult to get in Egypt.
Moreover, we had trips every weekend. Initially, I was reluctant to go on trips because of my work, but then I thought, I will regret the things I did not do more than the ones I did. Some of the best memories that I have today were made during these trips. Generally, we slept for 3 hours at night but during our trips, our sleeping time reduced by 1 hour and the fun factor increased to a hundred percent. We snorkelled in the world’s second largest Blue Hole, scuba dived in the Red Sea, camped in the Sahara Desert – under millions of stars, climbed the Crystal Mountain, jumped in a natural water pool from a cliff, saw the river Nile from a hot air balloon, went inside pyramids, danced along the bonfire on cold mountains, participated in Global Village, trekked on hills, and went swimming in the sea at night. But above all, I made interesting friends and we all became like a family. We sat down to share some amazing stories and did some crazy things together. Egyptians are very friendly people: some shopkeepers gave me fries, milkshakes, sheesha, and even clothes for free when they came to know that I was from India. On one of these trips, a stranger invited me to a boat trip to a place from where we could see the borders of Saudi Arabia and Israel. Later, I came to know that she was the owner of the resort we were staying in.
And finally, it was time to leave Egypt – where I had the best summer of my life – as my project was complete. I knew I had made friends for life, and learned lessons which no professor will ever teach me in a classroom.
I learned to face my fears, do smallest of things in a productive way, and to learn from my failures. The separation was hard, as we all lived like a family. I knew I had to go back from where I had started, but I knew it’s not going to be the same again. But then, the end is where we start from.
“Lose the fear of being lost, and you might find yourself”.
Are you also motivated by Rishabh’s journey? Don’t hold back; follow your passion today. Check out these cool International internships.
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