THE ADVENTURES HAVE BEGUN

28/09/2012

In the previous post “INTO THE INCREDIBLE INDONESIA” I wrote about preparations for an internship in Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia. And now I am finally enjoying it!

The adventures though began even before the trip there. In the evening right before the departure I managed to hit hardly the joint of my right hand. So, during the whole following trip I had to try being left-handed.

Then there was the 15-hours sitting in airplanes with transfer in Moscow in the Russian Federation and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Although tiring, the flights were quite comfortable with much delicious food served. However, the adventures met me also in the middle of one of the flights: somewhere above the Indian Ocean on the way from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta one of the passengers felt very badly. As far as I understood from talking to a stewardess, there was a question of life and death. In these circumstances, the pilot decided to turn the plane back and land at Abu Dhabi. I believe it was a wise decision.

At the Abu Dhabi International Airport we were transferred to another flight, which took off and consequently landed about 7 hours after the scheduled time. Of course, due to this delay I missed the preliminary booked flight from Jakarta and Semarang. Therefore I had to spend a night at the Jakarta International Airport watching movies on my laptop together with mosquitoes and cockroaches, which were quite a few there.

The next day I managed to buy another ticket and finally arrived to Semarang. But one more surprise awaited me there: the host family, where I had supposed to be staying, had gone somewhere and could not host me anymore. Still, I did get a place to live – at the room of a friend of one of the local AIESEC members. This young Lady turned out to be very nice, kind, caring and responsible. We have already explored some streets and corners of Semarang on her scooter (which is a common means of transport here), went to a night party and tasted Indonesian food (that almost burned my throat and stomach as it is very spicy).

I also met the members of the local committee of AIESEC in Semarang. They seem to be very energetic, receptive and friendly young people. And at the welcome party with them I got to know that although I am the first intern from Moldova, I am not the only one here – there are people from Germany, Japan, Romania, Russia and other countries doing eXchange in Semarang through AIESEC nowadays. Hopefully we will organize something together in the nearest future.

Last but not least, I got to know my internship place – the local environmental organization BINTARI. Nowadays I have the office, the person to work with and report to and soon will receive my first tasks.

So, here I am – in the city of Semarang on the island of Java in the country Indonesia. I have already experienced many pleasant and not so pleasant moments. But the real adventures are still ahead.

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KEEP UP GOOD SPIRIT

12/02/2012

A piece of good advice hanging above Amagerbrogade, one of the streets at the island of Amager in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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LEVEL 5 TRAINER?

31/05/2010

During my time in the global organization AIESEC, where I had managed to be in the role of trainer and facilitator within various events in different countries, I have observed quite interesting phenomenon connected with people’s character, reasons to become trainers, and their further performance. Now I would like to share it with you.

The NGO AIESEC is very active in the training/ facilitation area: rarely can you find a project / event here without some sessions / workshops entangled there (it has both advantages and disadvantages, but this is a discussion apart). Therefore, one has many opportunities to interact with young people on the start line of their training career, more experienced trainers, and senior specialists in this field from alumni and partner companies / NGOs. And from my discussions and collaboration with them, the following conclusion comes to evidence.

Basically, there are 2 categories of successful trainers grouped by specifics of their character and reasons of engaging into the training / facilitation area:

1) The “Stars”:

These people are mostly extrovert with strong need to be if not in the centre, then at least within large social groups. They enjoy communicating with people; social skill is one of their strongest points. The “Stars” are aware of this fact and seek any opportunity to actively interact with others. Training / facilitation area is very attractive for such people and that is why the majority of trainers are of this kind.

Truly, they are the “Stars”. Such trainers are able to work with public in a very effective way without any significant effort – well, it is their natural behaviour. They feel themselves like fish in clear water full of nutritious plankton. Thus, these trainers really shine on the sky.

However, the “Stars” perceive their training performance as natural and personal success (“How else could it be?”), therefore, they are not so attentive to details, innovations, and, in general, further development. Why change anything, when things are going more than very good? Especially if I am the reason of these “more than very good things”! Certainly, in most cases such approach creates stagnation in training development with the trainer himself stuck in his own “spotlight”.

2) The “Quasars”:

The majority of these individuals are introvert and sometimes even shy. They accumulate and use energy within them: from their own inner thoughts, imagination, and activities. Such persons can be characterised as modest, quiet, calm, and never boastful. Naturally, their communication skills are not developed so well, in some cases are one of the weak points. It should be quite unusual for the “Quasars” to be interested in such social-oriented, effective-communication-demanding, and egocentric area as training and facilitation. But, this is exactly the word “unusual” that brings such trainers great success.

Yes, the “Quasars” are aware of their weakness in social skills, but at the same time they possess very strong will to change this. It brings them certain discomfort in personal life, and that is why they put themselves out of the “comfort zone” by trying various social activities, like training / facilitation. And where these individuals lack in effective communication and adaptability to different social environments, they gain in unwavering resolve, undeniable desire, drive, hard work, focus on details, creativity and innovation. Truly, they are like quasars in open space: far outnumbered by the multitude of shining stars, they suddenly emerge from the darkness of supermassive black holes of unusual ideas and approaches, spreading their light to unbelievable distances and attracting everything around them with mighty gravitational forces.

It is interesting that something similar can be found in the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. The common point is related to Leadership and is called “Level 5 Leader”. The author points out that in order to reach Level 4 Leader, who maintains moderate or good performance of an organization, an individual should possess such characteristics as intelligence, ambition, charisma, egocentrism, etc. But in order to become the Level 5 Leader, the one that is able to give an organization “impossible” boost for a very long time even after his / her leaving, such paradoxical combination of humbleness with incredible dedication and drive for the organization is essential.

Such approach can be applied to the above-mentioned categories of successful trainers. You really need highly developed communication skills, natural outgoingness with public, self-confidence, and strong ego to become Level 4 Trainer. However, it is the synergy of “personal humility + professional will” that is able to take you to Level 5 Trainer – the level of successful performance with an unusual, but truly quasar blast.

Images are taken from here, here, and here.


FIND YOUR AIESEC

18/02/2010

Currently there is a spring recruitment period in the non-government organization AIESEC in all 107 countries and territories where it is present (including my home country Moldova). This can be determined by various posters and banners with powerful messages or simple, but real stories, presentations (called “Big Picture”) and info desks at universities, on-line articles and so on.

If you noticed any of these banners or posters, then you might have asked yourself: “What is this AIESEC? What is in it for me? And should I really join it?

Truth to say, I am not so good in inspirational speeches and promotional articles. So, I will answer these questions as objectively as I can, with positive and negative points, with successes and disappointments, with personal examples and opinions of other AIESEC members.

When you look at all those happy faces from the “I am an AIESECer” posters and photos / videos of various events, you perceive AIESEC as a positive, successful and rapidly growing organization, where all members live and work as in a fairy tale. Yet, this is not quite the truth.

The organization itself is neutral. It does not transform you into a successful leader – it only gives you a large variety of tools and environment you can use to “mold” this leader out of yourself. The descriptor clearly points this out: “AIESEC – the international platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential.” You see: this is only the PLATFORM for you to use as a trampoline to reach new heights, which is much harder to do without it and alone.

Emerging from the previous fact, the second one becomes obvious: in spite of the 60-years global growth and many successful experiences AIESEC is not the ideal place. It is all about PEOPLE. And all people make mistakes. Due to this point I have tried to quit AIESEC about seven times during my 3-years experience here… but even after becoming an alumnus still remain close to it. Why? Just let us look at this fact from the other side that considers such well-known idea: “Your most powerful learning experience is obtained through your own mistakes”.

Compare two young persons of about 21 years old, who plan to start their business. The first one, who just graduated from a university, has no or little idea of what is project management, how to manage a team, and what to do when risks knock boldly on your front door. The second one, who combined university studies with volunteering in AIESEC, has already experienced these and many more things, and now is able to use them effectively and efficiently. A rhetorical question here: Who has more chances to become successful entrepreneur?

Now, I propose to combine the “neutral” character of the organization and all challenges and not so pleasant experience it might hide. And what do we get here? Yes, YOUR OPPORTUNITY! It means that it is YOU together with other members who make the organization as it is.

You do not like the destination it goes to? – Become a leader of the project / conference / committee, propose your direction and strategy, and lead your team.

You consider there is lack of professionalism and quality in providing internship services? – Apply for the so-called eXchange Quality Board and improve them on the global level.

You notice unethical attitude and behaviour? – Go for the International Ethics Subcommittee or even establish your local one and educate members on the importance of ethical leadership.

As you see, the present and future of AIESEC depends on each member of the organization, including YOU. It will be what you all, together, make of it. No more, no less.

Thus, my suggestion here is: Think carefully about this opportunity and

Find YOUR AIESEC! (Literally)

More information and videos can be found HERE.


WITH AIESEC TOWARDS SUCCESS

30/12/2009

In the year 2008 while being in the National Executive Board (MC) of AIESEC Moldova we applied for The Most Active NGO That Promotes Volunteering in Moldova Award given during the annual event called “The Festival of Volunteers”. And… what do you know… WE TOOK IT!

You can read about the event and all awards in the articles HERE and HERE (in Romanian).

This year I decided to test my luck and apply for The Most Active Volunteer Award available also within the above-mentioned event. In my application form I described my experience in the National Board of AIESEC Moldova in 2009, internship within the project “Learn to Change the Future 2009” of AIESEC in Craiova (including work for “Habitat for Humanity” there), various training / facilitation and ecological initiatives related to AIESEC and not only, and the outcome of all these volunteering activities.

Fortunately, the pleasant moment occurred again at this year’s edition of “The Festival of Volunteers”, when I was announced to receive the III-rd place within this Award. The moment extended with a diploma, a small financial reward, and warm congratulations from my AIESEC friends being at the Festival.

The information on other winners and the whole event is available in the following articles (in Romanian):

– “ONG.MD”: A 7-ea ediţie a Festivalului Voluntarilor din Republica Moldova, 2009.

– “Timpul”: Jos pălăria în faţa voluntarilor.

– “InfoPortal”: Jos pălăria în faţa voluntarilor.

– “Guvernul Republicii Moldova, pagina oficială”: Prim-ministrul Vlad FILAT a participat astăzi la inaugurarea celei de a VII-a ediţii a Festivalului Voluntarilor 2009, cu genericul „Jos pălăria în faţa voluntarilor”.

– “Monitorul Civic”: Prim-ministrul Filat a participat la inaugurarea celei de a VII-a ediţii a Festivalului Voluntarilor.

Alexandra Bivol: Află cine este voluntarul anului!!!

Yes, this is not the first place, however still a very nice thing to remember. But most importantly, the receiving of this Award indicates once again that the organization AIESEC provides effective and efficient instruments and methods on all levels (local, national, regional, and global) for its members to benefit from in their self-development and personal growth. Whether they wish to demonstrate this fact or not – it is up to them. I am sure there would be a lot more Award winners from AIESEC to display here, if they find some free time in their large schedules filled with managing projects, applying for grants, performing sales meetings, delivering trainings, leading department teams, etc. and fill in the application form for this Award.

Another evident conclusion comes to my mind here: not a single significant achievement can be done without other passionate and devoted people to support it. And people – this is what AIESEC is all about.