Tan Rou Jie
Editor Rou Jie was a former AIESECer who ran local projects with her team and international volunteers to impact students in Pahang and Kuala Lumpur. She believes in impacting the world one baby step a time.
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Thinking of Global Volunteer, actually it’s a hardest decision I ever made in my whole life. The reason this idea pops up in my head is because I have the thought of making my youth years become something that I can remember and smile when I get old, you know like people said, YOLO! (You Only Live Once). I applied for a English-teaching project call Summer School Sensation 2.0 from AIESEC in Universitas Sumatra Utara and passed the interview in a project that was in Medan,Indonesia. WAIT, INDONESIA?!

That’s literally what my parents said when they heard the news that I am going to Global Volunteer in Indonesia. But in the end, I thought, well why not go explore there and break the stereotype of them? So I accepted the project, packed my bags and went there.

This was how I started the journey

Once I stepped on the land of Indonesia, all of my worries were blown away by the heat there and also new views on Indonesia. Turns out, Indonesia wasn’t so bad after all. Medan is quite a small cities but it have everything it should have.

Their street view which is not much difference from Malaysia

I stayed in a Muslim Host families for six weeks. I was very nervous upon meeting them because my Bahasa sucks, but luckily my foster parents are patience and kind people, they welcomed me with all the snacks and cookies. To my surprise, I have a roommate from Morocco and her name is Dihia. Honestly without her, I would have felt lonely without her dirty jokes and stories

from left: Suhen, my cute EP buddy; Melda, daughter of my host family

Dihia, my Moroccan roommates for six weeks. She was taking videos for her diary.

Having dinner with Host Family

After all the preparation camp, I was assigned to teach English in SMP Santo Thomas 1. It’s a junior high school but the lowest grade student are aged 11 years old. Its different from Malaysia as Malaysian enter secondary school only at 13 years old. The students are very obedient and lively. Most of the students here are Christian or Catholics, they pray every time before they start the class or after they end the class, and they pray in Bahasa. But sometimes the students see me as a Malaysian that might not understand the verse so they pray in English.

See how cute these little angels are until they started to ask why am I single…

The students always do salam(hand kissing) after schools end.

It was a private school in Medan so the school fees are quite expensive and their classrooms have air conditioner. I was stunned realise how lucky these children can study under cool environment. The English level is quite average but English for them is like a foreign language. So, not many students dare to speak in English and some of them not understand an English word I said become a challenge to me. But I took it and I tried my best to teach what I know to these students.

The students wear different uniform every day,this is their batik uniform.

In this project, I had to hold a conference that talks about benefits of using internet wisely and at the same time collecting books for the Alusi Tao Toba organization. These books that I collected are donated to underprivileged children that lives in Samosir Island which I will head there after 3 weeks staying in Medan.

First time ride on a motorcycle(in picture,Gaby and me riding motorcycle to explore the city)

Visited Orphanage in Medan makes me realised how lucky I am.

I spent one week in Samosir Island for a whole week without connection to outside world. Samosir island is a island which actually stays inside Lake Toba, a volcanic lake that forms thousand years ago.This place is said to be the origin of Orang Batak, the indigenous people of Indonesia.

The view of Lake Toba

Petr from Czech driving the boat. (feeling my life is at stake)

global volunteer

I went there in a team which made up of one AIESECer, one exchange participant from Czech and another from China. I called it Fantastic Four team haha. We moved from parts to parts in Lake Toba area by boat with the help of local volunteer. While enjoying the view of the lake, we didn’t forget our job there. We exposed the children our respective country’s culture , played games with the children and also encouraged them to dare to chase their dreams.

Primary school for one part of area in Samosir island that we visited.

Activities with the local children with the help of local volunteer,Kak Eva.

Even though there is not much resources if compared to Medan but I can see every children and people there lived a simple life .The place that I stayed in Samosir island is not exposed to tourist yet. There are electric shortage every single night. The locals are very welcoming that they catches and grilled some small lobster for us. They even invited us to sing a song with them since I had a bad voice I think I just listen would be enough.

The library in Samosir Island.
Seeing your name is on the visitors book is definitely the best gift ever.

Boat is the basic transport for them to go to school in Lake Toba

This is definitely a fruitful journey, even there are some dramas and some conflict happened. The stories are lot more and if you want me to describe it,it would take years for me to tell.But this journey definitely changed my view towards everything. I’ve seen a lot and grown a lot and it’s not something I can describe it with words.

Sometimes you really have to experience it yourself and see the difference for yourself.If you want to ask if I regret in joining this experience I would definitely say YES because I met a whole bunch of people that treat me like their family but NO because the money that I spent gave me one experience that I won’t forget.

If you have the stereotypes, BREAK THEM by knowing them through life.

HORAS!!(it means Hello in Bataknese Language)

Original story from Ong Shir Nee (Student l Universiti Malaysia Pahang)

In AIESEC, we believe in developing leadership through practical experiences in challenging environment, and we do this by delivering cross-cultural exchanges. We have created thousands of stories ever since we started in Malaysia 50 years ago. Here’s just one of them.

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