Tin’s life changing internship in Austria

Tin Cuyugan, a Psychology student from the University of the Philippines Diliman, went on an internship in Linz, Austria not knowing that this would actually change her life for the good! Tin was accepted to intern for Colors of the World program in Austria where she had to teach middle/ high school students about cross cultural sensitivity among teenagers. She visited a total of 8 schools and was able to talk to almost 200 students about our country. Through this internship, she not only learned a lot of insights about our culture but also lessons for herself on how she started being independent and practical while having the time of her life. Watch her internship video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jtJLIZ1UyY&feature=plcp

Tin’s life was changed through this internship! When do you plan yours? Sign up for exchange now! tinyurl.com/aiesecupd

Last summer was life-changing for me. I have never felt so infinite in my entire life. Two months was enough to transform me to a better version of my self, people say so, including me. It shook the very core of my existence, and I believe, for good.

In a nutshell, this is me: I do not like stepping out of my comfort zone. Spontaneity scares me. I hate uncertainties. I’ve always wanted to do things in my life, but I never actually did, because I was too confined in an environment that hinders me to do so, and I was also too much of a coward to actually do them. I am considered by a lot of people as a “sheltered” kid because I do not know a lot of things, and my parents always spoils me.

Things changed last March 28, 2012 – I got accepted in the Colors of the World Program, an internship in Austria wherein I had to prepare workshops in middle/high schools, which aims to teach cross-cultural sensitivity amongst teenagers there. My parents allowed me to go – actually they really wanted me to go because they thought it would be a really good experience for me. They were right. I was kind of hesitant at first. I was really scared, but excited at the same time, but still so scared because for the first time in my entire life, I was going to be alone for two months – with no one to depend on, with no one to cook or clean for me, with no friends just a stone throw away from me. I had so many doubts and fears, but somehow I made it through them all and went on exchange in Linz, Austria.

In my two months there, I went to eight schools in total and talked to at least 200 students about the Philippines. I have held several workshops regarding our country, our social problems, and I have interacted with countless Austrian teenagers who in one way or another really thought of how they could actually make an impact on our country’s problems, despite them not actually being a member of our country. It was a really great experience, being able to hold workshops like that. I’ve never had the chance to voice out my opinions to people who are actually interested (and not just required) in what I have to say. I have never stood in front of a room full of people so eager to listen in what I have to say – may they be just simple stories about what it means to be a Filipino.

Also, in my two months there, I was able to do the things I’ve always said I should learn to do, or try out at least. For example, I now know how to wash my own clothes, wash the dishes, cook my own food (and not just microwave or fry stuff), shop for grocery, budget my money, and a lot of other practical things I never really did back here. I also learned how to be not so uptight with things. Usually, if I don’t plan something and just let things be, I feel really anxious, but now, I am not that scared anymore. In short, the whole experience “loosened” me up, and I think I kind of needed that.

Moreover, in a way, I think I became braver than I was before I went there. In my free time, like when I do not have schools for the week or something, I could do anything I would want. So what I did was I travelled around Europe. I went to Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Hallstatt, Rome, Vatican City, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Prague, and a lot more small cities in Austria. Most of those trips I went alone, and somehow I didn’t care. The old me would have never done something like that. The old me would not have the guts to do so. Thankfully, the new me, the me I developed into when I was there, just wasn’t afraid anymore — and she did go around doing whatever the hell she wanted to do with her life. And it was great. I’ve always said I wanted to go explore the world, taste different food from different countries, walk around the old cities and towns in Europe, and a lot of other things. I had the opportunity to do it, and even though it really took me a lot of pushing, I was able to take a leap of faith and do them all. I cannot tell you everything of what I experienced there, but so to speak, everyday – may it be for work or for play – was amazing for me. I think I have lived more in the two months I was there than in the 19 years I spent here in the Philippines.

I cannot imagine what I would be now if I did not go on exchange this summer. I would still be that really uptight girl who plans everything, and is just sheltered that she hasn’t experienced anything in life at all. One of my close friends told me when she first saw me “Before you were happy with but’s, but now, you’re just happy.” And I am. And I am really thankful that I did this. I needed it. Here I am now, prepared to face any challenges life has to throw at me, excited to finish my studies and explore the things I have yet to see, and most importantly, ready to make more moments in my life that would define me – just like how this one did for me. 🙂

(below are some of Tin’s pictures when she was in her internship)



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