Introduction
Hi there! My name is Rose, and I am currently going into my 4th year studying Psychology in UBC. This summer, I went on a 6-week exchange to the Philippines with AIESEC University of Philippines, Diliman. The reason that I decided to go on a 6-week exchange was because I wanted to do something different this summer. Personally, I know that when I travel I would learn a lot more about the world and myself. I was ready to go out again and explore something new. I chose the Philippines mainly because I found the projects that they had were interesting. I have so much to say about my exchange but I will summarize as much as I can.

The Internship

The project that I volunteered in is called Kickstart. Basically what Kickstart is about is we volunteer at different NGOs to get expose to the social issues in the Philippines and also to teach social entrepreneurship to the NGOs as well. The three NGOs that I volunteered in are

  • Jeremiah: A housing shelter for young girls who are victims of battery and sexual abuse. I had a lot of fun interacting with the girls here. We mainly played games to help them learn English and also help out with their homework if they needed it. The girls are so sweet and are so creative! They also taught me how to make these really cute sandal key chains.

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  • Grace to Be Born: A maternity and nursery home for pregnant women (most who are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse) of all ages. They are cared for until they give birth. I taught the mothers about my Thai language and culture as they were interested in learning about my nationality. And the mothers in return, taught me Tagalog words.

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  • Healing Servants Foundation INC: We volunteered at a school called the Divine Healer Academy of Sorsogon where they educate children who come from families of very low incomes. I had a lot of fun teaching the students and interacting with them as well. I taught grade 5 students how to cup beat and I taught grade 7 Thai language. As for grade 9 and 10. I taught them about my Psychology major and also a dance routine! The students in return taught me some words in Bicol (another Filipino dialect).

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Meeting other EPs

Personally, my favorite part about the 6-week exchange was meeting all the other Exchange Participants! We were housed together and lived together. In just 6 weeks, I was able to meet a lot of new people and also made close connections with them as well. I went on a trip to the Philippines every single weekend when I did not work. I was able to see the beautiful side of the Philippines – ranging from seeing volcanoes, swimming in the beaches, to hiking on mountains and rice fields. There were many memories that were formed in just 6 weeks with all the other interns that I won’t ever forget.

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Culture

In just 6 weeks, I really did adjust living in the Philippines. I knew how to get myself to places using the local transportations of Jeepneys, tricycles, the train systems of MRT and LRT. I also picked up a few words in Tagalog as well that was useful mostly in transportations. But from interacting with the locals here, I’ve learned how happy Filipinos always are even though they do experience a lot of natural disasters. People here are always helping each other and are always are so happy in every kind of situations.

Conclusion

Overall, I would say that I had an amazing time in the Philippines. Since it is a volunteering work experience – don’t expect too much and know that things are always changing. Always be open minded and get yourself out there to meet and get to know as many people as you can because you can learn a lot from the locals and also from all the interns that you will be meeting from that are coming from all over the world. It is one of the summers that I will forever cherish and will never forget.

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