Saturday, May 25, 2013

Preparing AIESEC GCDP Exchange


You might noticed the word AIESEC on the picture. Yes, if everything is going as planned I am going to stay and volunteer in a totally foreign country, which I haven't been to before, for 6 weeks. So no, I'm not part of the AIESEC local committee in ANU, I'm just one of their exchange participant for this winter (summer for the rest of the world) break. Despite the long and nervous-y interview with AIESEC ANU, for me the hardest part is the matching process. You have to pick the project and there are enormous number of projects (3000++), apply, do a skype interview if they are interested in you (which sometimes is scary because the interviewer for whatever reason just decided to not turn on their lights or, worse, the video while the interviewee has to turn it on. talk about fairness and mutual respect :p), send the document, wait for the reply document, and finally, got matched. I realised I didn't encounter problems with applying because apparently my mini essay application worked just fine. I got a number of interview invitations within the next few days after I sent the applications.

I experienced a couple of 'funny' moments with these peeps from mostly Middle East because I was targeting that region. I got three interviews for projects in Alexandria and Cairo, during the interviews they seemed like they were interested in me ('Hope to see you in Egypt!','would love to have you join us') but then I never heard anything anymore, until the next 3 weeks, one of them finally contacted me and said that the project that I was applying for got cancelled :p towards the end, I got accepted in a city and a project that I wanted to do, sadly, I already sent confirmation for the other project. ANYWAYS, finally I got matched and the world is beautiful now.

Based on my short experience going through the matching process, I have learned a lot about cross-cultural communication and some general yet important tips in applying for projects in the Middle Easter countries. Firstly, apply, apply and apply for more. From my experience with the Egyptians I really can't imagine what if I was just waiting for a positive reply for 3 weeks and only one replied just to let me know that the project was cancelled and offered me another totally different project. Don't get me wrong, they were the nicest interviewer ever (plus the awesome girl in Ankara) but on that point, with exams coming and flight tickets kept rising, I was just looking for certainty period. Secondly, if they are not responding for awhile after 2-3 replies, keep emailing them. Some projects are huge that they are actually corresponding with massive number of interns so sometimes they might skipped your email or were just not in the mood to reply. Thirdly, do not accept a project that you are not really interested in. Magic could just happen anytime and you have to be ready for it. I was an inch to regret my own decision, to reject the acceptance from the project that I really wanted, before finally realised that this was just a consequence of my own decision.


Soo today we did the exchange preparation seminar and AIESEC ANU was giving EP (exchange participant) packs for everyone. As you can see, they prepared the t-shirt, two cliche Aussie souvenirs cute koalas, small embassy info booklet, TimTam (a favorite in Australia, tastes different from that in Indonesia), and vegemite. The last one is a very very very Australian thing, as you can see on the picture it's a concentrated yeast extract. Full of vitamins and goodies for your bodies, yes, but just like many other healthy things it tastes... quite unique. The Australians usually spread vegemite on their sandwichs for breakfast or on-the-go snacks, mostly popular with kids. The other fun thing is I will have to be the ambassador for Australia because I'm technically representing AIESEC Australia (see the obvious t-shirt?).

So yeah, let's end this long post and back to study, which country am I going to? Secret! :D Btw, some of you might know that I went for a similar program in 2011 to Fiji, you can read some of my experiences (ok tbh, this is just a tiny bit of it lol) here :) and pardon my baaaad english.

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