I got a chance to go on AIESEC’s global volunteer program in Russia this summer. My experience in Russia has been the best of all the experiences till now and I am sure that this volunteering program has become a lifetime memory to cherish. Since this was Russia’s National project as well as AIESEC’s biggest project till date, powered by United Nations, I got to meet around 140 interns from all around the world.
It was a one-time experience: From saying Hi in Chinese, eating Russian, driving German, chilling with Latin Americans, working with my fellow Indians, listening to music with Egyptians, dancing with Europeans and much more. A vast exposure, a thrilling adventure and the best memory of my life; that’s how I can describe my trip.
The people I met during this exchange were very kind and loving. In the beginning, we weren’t talking much but once we realized that we all are different and nobody was there to judge, we all opened up a bit and started socializing. The day I landed in Russia, I wanted to go back home but finally, when the time came to leave for home, I wanted to stay back and live my life more.
One of the most important highlights of my trip was that I got to learn so many things. Since I was working on the goal of Reduced Inequality, I realized that there is inequality not only amongst humans but even amongst animals. We used to approach random strangers on the streets, greet them, speak to them and spread awareness about our goals. We did not realize that we were actually learning a lot and most importantly, we were developing our own skills.
The only problem I faced was the language barrier; hardly anyone knew English there. My workplace was Ekaterinburg, the Industrial city of Russia. The place was really beautiful and people were quite welcoming.
Every good thing has a downside. The worst thing I experienced was getting lost in Ekaterinburg when I was going back to my hostel at night without any help in sight. It got really difficult to book a cab as the cab driver wouldn’t understand where I was standing. I then used google maps and had to walk almost 8kms to reach my hostel when the temperature outside was around 8 degrees Celsius.
Apart from this one experience, my trip was extremely enriching, especially on the events front. This, led to a lot of learning and experience.
First of all I would like to thank my dad and brother for always being there to support me and to motivate me in whatever new things I want to try. They have never said no for anything in which I get to learn something new. My mom and my sister for always caring about me and supporting me morally. It was all because of them that I got an opportunity to go abroad and stay in an unknown country and that too with unknown people.
Last but not the least, I would like to thank all the people I met there. There was something to learn from each one of them. They helped me open up and stop giving a damn about all the negativities. Judging people is now a thing of the past. I have realized that everybody has their own story and a different way of living. Nobody is wrong. They are just “different”.
I recommend the youth of our time to go for such volunteering programs and do something good for the world and for your overall development. More than anything, you learn to become Independent by living on your own.
Thank you, AIESEC for giving me an opportunity to volunteer for this amazing project.