The most impactful moment came for me on the very last day of the programme, where the students had made a huge appreciation card written in English for me.
My goal in life is very simple – to be happy. There are a lot of ways to achieve it, be it alone or with others. I always try different things in my life to gain different experiences, and try to live my life to the fullest. I realised that giving back to the society is one of the many ways to make me happy as well. The moment when I realised that I have the power to do something great for people and even change their lives – I would say the satisfaction is the best feeling in life. Besides that, travelling alone abroad had always been one of the things on my bucket list. For me, it is a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. Going on this volunteering journey for me is like killing two birds with one stone. Not only I get to explore an unfamiliar environment, I get to do something interesting and beneficial at the same time, and learn plenty of skills on the way.
We were working with elementary school students, and the goal of our project was to create an English speaking environment in order to improve their English speaking skills. We worked together with the teachers in designing English learning games and programmes, and thought of creative ways to ignite the students’ interest in the language. The most impactful moment came for me on the very last day of the programme, where the students had made a huge appreciation card written in English for me. Looking back on their first day, they were so shy and not confident at all to communicate in English. Now, they actually dared to speak in front of a crowd using English and even wrote a short essay for me. In that moment, I felt that all my hardwork has truly paid off. I had fulfilled my responsibilities.
Before embarking on this volunteering journey, I had always thought that Taiwan is a country that has a rich culture, and has generally good living standards. I had also assumed that their English will be good as well with a good education system. Volunteering and living there for that six weeks had really opened up my eyes. Most Taiwanese couldn’t speak fluent English due to their limited English speaking environment. This is further enhanced by them not feeling the need to speak the international language as their national language is Chinese. However thankfully, some schools are well aware of this issue and take their own initiatives to organise English-based events to attract students to learn English.
Throughout my journey, I can feel my socialising skills improving in leaps and bounds. Furthermore, I learned how to be more independent as well. It was definitely not as easy task to work with students. I always had to think of ways to get their attention in order for them to listen to me and be participative in the activities. My patience was also being challenged all the time. I had realised the importance of teamwork as well as I need to work together with the team to achieve our project goal. It will be impossible for me to accomplish it alone! However, in the end, I am glad that the students loved the activities that I planned and gave me lots of positive feedback.
In conclusion, this volunteering journey had made me learn a lot, even my own weaknesses! I will continue to help others to discover their strengths, so that they can also use their strengths to help others in need. The satisfaction that I gained in this volunteering program had driven me to continue challenging my limits. You will never know where is your limit until you try to break it!
Original story from : Gan Jie En (Student, Sunway University)
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.