Karla’s Malaysian Exchange Experience

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It was the best summer I ever had.  And if I had to relieve my experiences, I would do so in a heart beat.  I think part of the reason my seven-week Malaysian internship was awesome was my willingness to make it one.  Every day I woke up with enthusiasm to go out of my room and experience something new.  Knowing that my stay was limited made me do things I normally would not do in the Philippines.  I lived each moment and see the brighter side of things.  Yes, there were a few rants especially about the bathroom.  But all of it just made my stay more fun and vibrant.

I was part of The Red Project – HIV/AIDS, a national initiative of AIESEC in Malaysia, Standard Chartered Bank, and Pink Triange Foundation.  My primary job was to conduct one-day workshops in secondary schools, colleges, and universities to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.  In between work, we would go to PT Foundation’s office to help them pack condom kits that they would then give out to people during their scheduled trips to hotspots.  I also volunteered for AIDSAware, which is a joint project of PT Foundation and ruumzcauses aiming to gather people to be the message themselves against HIV/AIDS.  My co-interns and I also visited Rumah WAKE House where we got to interact and talk to women and transsexuals with HIV/AIDS.  It was a humbling experience.

Our scheduled work was too spread out that we were able to travel across Malaysia.  I was able to roam around food haven Penang and see the historical Malacca.  I mastered the train system around Kuala Lumpur and enjoyed every part of the city.  Malaysian AIESECers accompanied us to malls, China town, Central Market, and other places just like what friends would do.  We had lunches and dinners together every day, and drank at the AIESEC room during weekends. It was a blast and everyone had a good time.

Meeting these wonderful people from Malaysia and other parts of the world is only one of the best things of going on an AIESEC internship abroad.  One day, I was sitting with two Koreans, a Japanese, a Brazilian, a Finnish, a Dutch, two Bangladeshis, a Chinese, a Nigerian, and a handful of Malaysians.  I am a Filipino, and to be part of this diverse and passionate group was more than overwhelming.  It felt good to be there and to know that despite differences in culture and beliefs; we are aspiring for the same things.  Having to talk to and work with a multicultural team made me more understanding of others and helped me develop my own understanding of myself and our country.  My AIESEC internship definitely made me see the world and myself in a different perspective.

Going on an AIESEC internship not only made me see the limitless opportunities the world offers, but made me see how I can concretely work on my dreams and goals.  I was always aware of the benefits of going on exchange abroad.  But only through my own internship did I fully believe that nothing really is impossible through passion and hard work. Cliché as it may be, but this is what pushes me whenever I aspire for things that I think may be out of reach.

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Karla Caraan went on a development traineeship in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi, Malaysia in the summer of 2010.  She is currently in her third year at the University of the Philippines Diliman studying BS Business Administration.  Karla enjoys writing, loves dogs, likes taking photographs and watching movies, and hopes to go on another AIESEC exchange program after graduation.

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