Friday, September 16

Merel Jansen shares her experience in FEEL LANKA 9.0

For the summer of 2016 I decided that I wanted to do something meaningful with my 2 months off. AIESEC provided the perfect opportunity of getting to know different cultures, exploring a foreign country and making yourself useful in a volunteering project with their Global Citizen projects. After some browsing I found a project that immediately got me excited: Feel Lanka 9.0. On the 12th of July I arrived in Colombo for a summer full of travelling, photographing and reviewing. The goal of Feel Lanka 9.0 was to promote Sri Lanka's tourism sector to get people excited to visit this beautiful country. During the project I made several 3-day-trips with 14 other interns through Sri Lanka where we got to know more about the islands' surroundings, culture and food. A few of the trips were sponsored, such as a rafting trip with the company Borderlands. In exchange for Instagram shoutouts, personal blogs and TripAdvisor reviews from all the interns we received a 2-day rafting and bonding experience with Borderlands, which was an amazing deal.

 Whenever we were not travelling, we stayed at our EP-house in Moratuwa where we could edit our videos, write our reviews for the hotels we stayed at and of course, chill. By living together with all 15 interns for 6 weeks in one house we really bonded as a group! Everything we needed was located near the EP-house, which was very convenient. E.g. K-zone, a hotel with a swimming pool we could access for 8 dollars, etc. Due to the last sponsored trip being cancelled, we had a lot of free time to organize our own backpacking trip to the parts of Sri Lanka we hadn't been yet. This was a great and challenging travelling-experience. By always taking public transport and eating at local food stands we could really engage with Sri Lanka's local life!

It has been a great summer with making friends all over the world (our project had the biggest diversity in cultures compared to other projects in Colombo!), learning about other cultures (as well as at the Global Village as in daily life) and developing myself. It was not always easy being in such a different culture for 6 weeks straight in weather conditions I was not used to, but I would do it all over again. I can really recommend the project Feel Lanka to whoever wants to improve Sri Lanka's tourism sector in a very fun way.

Watch the video of the Down South trip of Feel Lanka 9.0 -

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