It all started when my best friend introduced me to an organisation called AIESEC. I was not so intrigued, then magic happened.
By: Marwa Khalifa | Sub-Editor: Adrian Vasilescu
I was in a zone where challenging myself was not an option. Having to go through interviews and selections was not my thing. No one likes filling in applications and going to interviews. I filled in the application and did the interview and passed it. I was somehow shocked and proud of myself simultaneously. I had achieved something and had finally broken out of my comfort zone.
It was such a relief for me when I was done with the interview. The next step was as important as the first one, as I had to choose a project in a country of my choice. And let me tell you, having to choose one country out of hundreds was not an easy job. I wanted to visit them all. I ended up choosing India and that was when the magic started to happen.
After doing all of the paperwork and taking care of my visa, it was the time for me to go to a different country, on a different continent. I arrived at the airport in India and I met a nice, smiling man who asked me whether I was Marwa. He was my driver.
I settled down and met my flatmates, people from different countries and with different backgrounds. They left a mark in my life. I could call them my second family, a family I would not forget for the rest of my life. People who taught me that I would never be completely at home again, because part of my heart would always be elsewhere. I will gladly pay the price of loving and knowing people in more than one place.
The project I was working on was an educational one. The first day at work was not as easy as I imagined. The kids were between five and nine years old and they could not understand me, nor could I understand them, and that was challenging. I had to teach them English and was determined to do it for I wished to have an impact on their lives even if it was going to be a small one. I did it eventually, after many attempts and failures.
Those kids taught me a lot in return. They taught me never to give up, to keep trying until I get what I want or be where I want. They taught me that nothing was impossible. They also showed me how to be happy with the little I had, that money is not everything and that it does not buy happiness. No matter how hard their lives get, they will always be happy and grateful. They taught me the real value of simplicity and left a huge mark on my life.
I travelled to more than one place during the time I spent there. One of the closest places to my heart was Kashmir. It was very spiritual and clean, one of those places where you feel calm and relaxed. I also went to the famous, iconic Taj Mahal. The place is breath-taking. I could not believe I was standing in front of one of the world’s seven wonders. Jaipur, or the pink city, was another destination. It was such a beautiful city, with such nice people and playful monkeys.
It was a life-changing experience. During those two months, I was taught to go beyond the barriers, think differently and accept everyone the way they are. I went to India as an introvert and came back with a whole new mind set and a different person from the one I was before I applied to AIESEC.
Go out, travel, meet new people and explore new places, get out of your box, out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Change people’s lives and your own.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Ghandi