Sunday, April 19

Charana shares his exchange experience

Hello, I'm Charana Udugama from Sri Lanka. I'm studying Computer Engineering in University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Thank you so much AIESEC in Sunway for selecting me as one of the Exchange Participants for your project THUMP 2.0. Being a non AIESECer, I got to know about this opportunity from an info session conducted by the members from AIESEC Colombo South collaboration with AIESEC Pera. There I met Sandaru Karunasiri (My Exchange Participant Manager). He suggested me Sunway since he was there for his own Internship Programme. I asked my parents about it. Usually they don't allow me to travel. But surprisingly they agreed. So I took it considering the fact that this being my only vacation until my retirement. It was a bold decision and it eventually paid off. I'm proud to say that I'm the first Out Going Exchange realization from my university.


It all started with an interview by Ms. VeeVian Yong. I was so nervous. But it went well. After couple of days I got the news that I was selected. I took a flight on 30th November early morning. I was kinda scared and shaking because it was not the best of the times in terms of airplanes. I reached Kuala Lampur International Airport at about 0700h. VeeVian, Abraar(Exchange Participant  from Mauritius) and also Tan Chee Lin was waiting for me. Came to the EP house which was a really nice place to stay. And also I got the master bed room. 

The very next day we started the planning right away. A meeting with the Organizing Committee President and my fellow Exchange Participant . After two days Vivek (Exchange Participant  from India) came and we carried out the project. Couple of workshops by Michelle Lee and Tan Chee Lin. We had such an awesome Organizing Committee. Esther Yong, my beloved Organizing Committee President  who was always there to motivate and help us in everything. Yip Vyona, VeeVian Yong, Onnyi Lam Su Zanne and Celine were the other Organizing Committee members who helped us in every way for THUMP and also for the experience in Malaysia. 

The urban mapper project took place in a PPR named “Kota Damansara”. Whch was 1 hour drive from Sunway. My part was to facilitate the Engagements, a presentation relating to “Critical Thinking” and also teach them Chess. I also need to thank Chris from UNDP who taught us Chess. Having a 3 months of experience in teaching maths and science to kids in my home country, it was not too hard to get along with them. I taught them how think critically and find answers in tough situations in their life through my presentation. I used some puzzles and riddles as practical examples. Esther helped me in translating it to Malay. After that I conducted a Chess session using a presentation and interactive sessions again with the help of Esther. 

Actually dealing with kids was a sensitive job. Teaching them something and seeing them learning it, is such an amazing feeling. I consider my self a good teacher. So I did my very best and after 5 engagements they were really good in Chess. 6th engagement was a Chess competition. 

Besides the project, living in Malaysia was such an unique experience. It was my first time abroad. I should note something about people in Malaysia . They are really friendly and helpful. They don't honk and they are very patient. Transportation there is costly but comfortable. A lot of people prefer driving rather than using public transport. Cities are very clean and highly developed compared to my country.

I explored Malaysia with my fellow Exchange Participants and Organizing Committee members. Specially Esther took us around KL and did her very best to give us the best experience by making us try different kinds of food. Being a part time photographer I was lucky enough to capture some great pictures and moments. 


The best part of this experience was mixing with the culture. I learned some phrases in BM and it was fun using them with local people. Actually I learned a lot about people of different cultures. How they talk, eat, dress, behave etc. 

It was truly a life changing experience. I was a different man when I was leaving Malaysia.

I've developed my skills in handling a workshop, delivering presentations, working with a team etc. I took a step from my comfort zone. And it wasn't easy. But I made it through. Even though almost all the people I worked with are younger than me I learned a lot from them. Relating to the profession and also relating to life. Above all I gained some good friends from different countries. 

The project wasn't a walk in a park. We faced many hardships and obstacles. But most importantly we sticked together. I need to thank my fellow Exchange Participants and Organizing Committee members for that. Without them this project won't see the end it saw. From my point of view the project was a SUCCESS. 

Thank you Esther for being the best Organizing Committee President ever. Thank you Vyona, VeeVian Yong, Onnyi Lam Su Zanne and Celine for being such an awesome OC. Thank you Abraar Surooprajally and Vivek Khan for being good partners and also better friends. 

Also I need to thank Michelle Lee, Tan Chee Lin, Figo Chin WH and other AIESECers who helped us to get the best experience in Malaysia. 

At last but not least. Thank you AIESEC in Sunway for being such a great host. 

Now I've already started my AISEC career. I've joined GCDP function,which will be starting a 
project in next month. And I applied for the TL OGX for the next term in AIESEC Pera


Best of luck AIESEC Colombo South for your future goals and aspects. I will not hesitate to recommend your LC for my fellow AIESECers for an internship in future.

Best Regards,

Charana Udugama
Faculty of Engineering,
University of Peradeniya

No comments: