Friday, March 14

Live Like a Local! - Piumal's Unique Experience in Philippines

"It is an experience which you can gain countless values to your life, while having fun, adventure, memories and new friends."

The total experience was based on the help of AIESEC. AIESEC merged me between Sri Lanka and Philippines. Therefore the LC Davao (LC in Philippines) treated me as a member of a same organization than a complete stranger from a foreign country.

I worked for the Institute for Socio-Economic Development Initiatives (ISEDI). Its vision is to empower communities and sustainable organizations by nurturing people to reach their full potentials and maximize their resources.

Basically I Completed 2 projects and got involved for a community project. I Made a leaflet on the topic of “Climate Change Adaptation and Natural Disasters” to give to the community to improve their knowledge on the topic and to make them aware about the ways that they can save themselves from natural disasters.  Philippine is one of the top countries in the world which gets affected by natural disasters frequently. (Eg: The Yolanda Typhoon) Therefore it’s a must for the citizens to know about the topic. The leaflet provides info on how to get prepared, how to face and how to overcome the natural disasters. Yolanda victims are the main target group of population, since the area is more frequently get attacked by disasters.

Then I Made reports for few selected entrepreneurs on how to improve their business and maximize the potentials. The team visited the business several times to collect info and to conduct interviews and the suggestions were made by discussing with the team. We, the Exchange Participants with the help of the TNM, organized a half day event for street children with full of games and fun. There we gave free lunch, snacks, toys and gifts for everyone. Children had an awesome time with us.

Philippine is a Christian country, and the people are much more progressive than Sri Lankan, mostly women. Activities like drinking alcohol, smoking, clubbing is considered as very normal in the society. The relationship between parents and children is weaker than Sri Lankans. Most of the families are dependent on the male. Hospitality of the locals is same like Sri Lankans.

Not each and every citizen in Philippines speaks English, mostly the villagers don’t and it came as a huge challenge for me; Communication.  . Therefore when I wanted to travel to some village areas, I needed some pre plans as in the name of the place and the roads written in their own language on a piece of paper. Also I learnt some commonly used Philippine words like “how much?”, “How far?”, “Please”, “Thank You’ and etc. Still it was a great Experience. I would have never experienced this if I was ever to step out from my comfort zone.
It was fun and memorable. I just loved the freedom I had over there. It’s totally about you and the confidence you have on yourself. Just had to manage everything by myself, sometimes according to the interest of others, time and specially the budget. It feels awesome to have new friends from all over the world. I’m pretty confident that I have improved my English and communication skills from the internship. That’s something I really wanted to happen, a unique experience that you can never match with anything else.

Piumal Tennakoon
Undergraduate in Electrical Engineering
University Of Moratuwa

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