Alyssa Leong, a first year biomedical student from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus embarked on a journey to Taiwan during her summer break in the month of July. A foreign country, with foreign people, and a more foreign environment. The first challenge Alyssa had to face was on communication. She’s never seen those people before-whom she would be working with for the upcoming 6 weeks, and talking to them, who ALL, came from different countries and cultures as her, was terrifying and nerve-racking. Would she be able to make friends? Would she be able to blend in? So many questions, yet- so much excitement.
And so, it was time to step out of her comfort zone and ACTUALLY work towards forming a strong team with the other exchange participants, while fitting in to a completely new culture. But the question is, did she manage to do it? Well, of course! One of the main things that she has learned from this experience was on working with people with different mindsets as hers. Through the project, she also got to learn about session designing, facilitating, and also interaction with others- especially children! One of the best things that happened in the project, if you may ask her, is definitely the people she’s met.They’ve opened up her eyes to so many different cultures that she has yet to discover or experience. She’s learned to break out from her bubble, embrace, and most importantly, to respect cultural differences. To her, they were just like family, at a place far away from home.
But don’t all good things have to come to an end? The 6 weeks spent in Taiwan for Alyssa was magical, and most definitely, unforgettable. Through this experience, she’s realized how fortunate and privileged she was to be able to leave an impact, while making a contribution. But the changes, lessons, and experiences- they stick around. She may not be able to relive the experience, or meet these people ever again, but the things that they have taught her, the exposure that they gave her, the memories that they made, together, will forever be stuck to Alyssa- unforgotten. And if there is one last thing that Alyssa would wish to convey to all the youths of Malaysia,
“The small step from impossible to possible, could only be made by YOU.”Yi Xuan
Original story from Yew Yi Xuan (Student)
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.