Who’d have thought that a friendly ‘hello’ from someone at a Bun Fight stall could lead to a summer internship in a new country? I would certainly not have done, but am realising that this is now the exciting reality of my situation: having joined Southampton’s AIESEC committee, I have signed up to take part in a summer exchange in the South of Turkey.
Since becoming a member of AIESEC, which involves attending weekly meetings, I knew the summer exchange was something I had to try. After all, AIESEC is all about sending people abroad to work, and once settled into the way of things and used to the acronyms that make an AIESECer’s language almost a completely separate on of its own, I had decided to take the next step and commit myself to going on an exchange. Although I was definite in my decision, the application process iteslf has proven difficult at times.
Reassuring myself that I’d be OK, I signed up for the preparation course: a weekend in Manchester, which I was assured would answer all my questions. The weekend proved quite an experience: every AIESEC committee from the UK was united, yet, with the organisation active in over 100 countries, this only scratches the surface of its enormity. After a day of games, activities and lots of note-taking, I returned to the hostel, where AIESECers got ready to explore Manchester’s exciting nightlife. The final day of the preparation proved as useful as the first, but my mind was still buzzing with worries, the main one being that I was still completely uncertain of what country I was going to.
Returning to Southampton, I decided drastic action was needed. I emailed different internship organisations across the world, keen to be matched with an internship and get thinking about post-match logistics. Eventually, after lots of patience, I came across an email from the organiser of Southampton’s exchange programme. It was about a programme called Young Leaders, which involved kindergarten work with five to six year-olds and is based in the South of Turkey, not far from the Mediterranean coast. I immediately got in touch and, to my delight and surprise, then became matched. Both thrilled by the prospect of working in such a beautiful country and daunted by the organisation that was needed to get everything in order with relatively little time to spare, I began thinking about insurance and flights.
A few weeks later, it’s all sorted and my flight leaves tomorrow morning. I have prepared a brief presentation about Britain for the children I’ll be working with, my sister luckily proving the perfect age for somone to practise in front of. All that’s left to do now is to see what my Turkish experience has to offer. I may have never been abroad alone before, but it seems all that is about to change. It’s time for a fresh start and an adventure.