Friday, September 7, 2012

My First Exchange Program Abroad!

I was with AIESEC for two and a half years when I was still pursuing my Degree at Taylor’s Business School. It did not take me long in deciding to do an exchange program abroad with AIESEC.


Back in Year 2009, with the help of my then EP Manager, Kenny Chong, I was matched with a company in Shanghai, iLemon Group Inc., for a one-year exchange program. Many were surprised with my choice including myself. However, I am glad that I made the right choice. If I were given a choice to choose again, I would still choose Shanghai. I left for Shanghai back in August 2009.


I was fortunate to have great colleagues. Not only did I get to work with the local Chinese, I had the opportunity to work with people from different countries ie. France, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and United Kingdom. Some were the company’s permanent employees while a few of them were AIESEC EPs like me. Therefore, I was blessed to be able to learn and exchange culture and knowledge with these people. I am an Accounting and Finance Majors graduate and I worked in a gaming industry company. It was not easy but it was definitely exciting, challenging and most important of all, fun especially with these aforementioned people!


In Shanghai, I got to meet other great AIESEC interns who were there before me – some called themselves FAISECers (Fake AIESECers) though. There was a few of them that had become the permanent employees after their internship ended. Each and every one of them has their own story but they have one thing in common – amazing! These people are amazing. In less than a month’s time, you made a lot of close friends. Back in Malaysia, I was still worried that I may not enjoy my internship in Shanghai. I am glad that I was proved wrong.


Some of us traveled together to another province in China. It was my very first time to venture as a backpacker. We took a train to our destination, Nanjing. We stayed in a backpacker hostel. We went around with the guidance of a map only! Just because of this one trip, I fall in love with backpacking and would love to do more!


One of the most memorable moments was when all of us gathered together on Halloween night, suited-up and crashed Shanghai’s infamous haunted mansion, Shanghai Nightmare. We were the only ones who dressed up and became the center of attention. Lurking that night were mummies, vampires, pirates, Leatherman, Shangers' beloved HaiBao and Shinigami (that’s me!).


Throughout my journey in Shanghai, not only I met a lot of wonderful people, I had to part with them too. I attended numerous welcoming as well as farewell parties. Before I could realise what happened, it was my turn to bid farewell to them and Shanghai. It was hard especially when I had the intention to work permanently in Shanghai.

Honestly, this journey had really changed my life. It changed me as a whole. I became more independent and learned to make decisions on my own even more as well as be responsible for them. It was not a perfect journey – there were ups and downs – but I am really proud of myself. I became stronger and tougher.

“So, aren’t there any disadvantages of this exchange program abroad?”

Yes! I could not stop talking about Shanghai even after I came back to Malaysia. My friends were all fed up of me mentioning whatever happened back in Shanghai. The virus lasted for six months!

What are you waiting for? AIESEC provides all the opportunities you could ever think of but it is YOU who have to grab it!

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