6 weeks that changed my life - 6 important lessons

Note: This is the second post about the volunteer internship i did in Serbia last year. You can read the first one here (only available in portuguese sorry).

It started with a simple hello and ended with a complicated goodbye. 

Flatmates from all over the world :D (Italy, Nigeria, China, Turkey, Tunisia)

I still remember the day i arrived to the apartment that was going to be my home for the next 6 weeks. An italian girl, two tunisians boys and one canadian were already there. After a whole day travelling to get to Belgrade i just introduced myself and explained why i wanted to be involved in this volunteering internship. 
In that day i could not imagine the adventures and discoveries that were waiting for me.
This was a lifetime experience and i have been receiving questions from people that want to do the same but have some doubts. It's not easy to go alone to a country in which you don't know anywone for 6 weeks. And i did not left Europe, so it was easier. Going to Asia would have been an even bigger challenge...

Here are some important lessons that i learned by doing a volunteer internship with AIESEC: 

1- You will earn a lot by embracing the culture of the country where you are

While i was in Serbia i tried to learn as much as i can about its history, people, traditions etc. Even before going there i was making some research. 
I think there is a before, during and after travel, don't you think? Before travelling you start realizing what is waiting for you, during the travelling you are just overwhelmed by everything that you are seeing and just only after returning home you realized what you learned and understand better what you saw. 

Discovering Belgrade with a serb guide (hvala Dusan) - from left to right: Hamdi from Tunisia, Burcu from Turkey, Dusan from Serbia, Theron from Hong Kong, Michela from Italy and me

My third day in Belgrade (in front of Saint Sava temple; read more about it here)

The day we went to Avala tower and ended up meeting people from Cyprus, Spain, China, Lebanon and Russia 
2- You will receive more than you give

During my experience i tried to teach everything i knew from talking about Portugal (i was always making sure that everyone knew how beautiful Portugal is, how to say hello in portuguese etc), to teach about business model canvas (before doing this internship i developed a business idea in Startup pirates during one week so i learned a lot of things that i could teach in Global School of Entrepreneurs)... basically everything i learned from being an active student since my first year in college. 
But this is nothing compared to all the knowledge i received in this 6 weeks. 

3- You will become more self aware and a world citizen
AIESEC has a Leadership development model based in 4 elements essencials for a lider development: empowering Others, Solution Oriented, Self Aware and World Citizen.

Self aware of your strengths and weaknesses. 
Solution oriented (during an internship with AIESEC you will have to lead a team, solve problems, etc) 
Empowering others (you are not changing the world by having this experience! But you will change the life of the children that were your students)
World citizen by connecting with people from all over the world! 

Leadership development model of AIESEC 

4- It's not about where you live but with who you live 

5- You make friends for life :D 

i still keep in touch with the people i met in Serbia.

6- After all the world is really small =) 

I highly recommend having an experience like this. If you have any questions just let me know =) I will be happy to help you.  

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Filipa Figueira

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