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Engpichsomaly Leyhong: My Six-Week Volunteer Program in Malang, Indonesia

Interviewer: Hello! It is a pleasure to have you here. To begin with, could you please introduce yourself and tell me about the extracurricular activity that you participated in? 


Maly: My name is Engpichsomaly Leyhong. I am a junior student in the Department of Business Administration. During this summer break, I participated in a Global Volunteer program in Malang, Indonesia. It was a six week exchange program of AIESEC Cambodia. The program was initiated under a project theme relating to SDG8 “Decent work and Economic growth.” The project was named “Peoplepreneur Summer 2019.” 


The reasons that I decided to be a part of this program were because I wanted to challenge myself to go abroad alone and to get out of my comfort zone. Moreover, I was inclined to discover what I really want to do in the future by immersing myself in different activities. Besides that, I intended to make an impact on society even if it was not my own. During the program, I experienced many activities such as visiting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), giving solutions to SMEs problems, learning about Indonesian culture, and living with an Indonesian host family. 


Interviewer: Would you mind sharing your overall experience during the program?


Maly: Yes, of course! The program was really amazing, and it was aligned with my major at the university. During the program, I was able to meet new friends from different backgrounds and from different countries including Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Belgium, and Indonesia. We worked as a team to handle each SME for the entire 6 weeks. We also learned about the Indonesian culture such as being familiar with Indonesian musical instruments, living Indonesian life in a host family, as well as visiting a ceramic factory, a museum, and a tempeh factory which is one of the signature snacks in Malang. My host family was really kind and friendly even though we could not talk much due to language barrier. However, we could use google translate to communicate with one another. 


Interviewer: How do you personally feel about your experience?


Maly: After the project ended, I realized that it was awesome because we actually made an impact on SMEs in the long run because we did not only solve their current problems but also taught them how to properly plan in their business and set their own goals, visions and missions for their company. The project offered the participants a chance to make a direct impact on the society. I never regret being a part of the project because I was able to learn a lot from this experience. More importantly, I also made many friends along the way.


Interviewer: What are your challenges and lessons you experienced during the program?


The biggest challenge I encountered during the program is food because ever since the day that I arrived until my departure, I still could not get used to eating their cuisines. I could only eat some of the cuisines that have similar tastes to Cambodian food. Besides the challenge, I learned to be independent and confident because during that time I did not live with my family. 


Last but not least, if you really want to challenge yourself, you should go on an exchange program to a different country, go to see how big the world is, do volunteer work, confront your true self, and learn from it all at the same time.


Interviewer: From what you said, you must have a very good time there exploring and learning from the program. ParagonIU is proud of your accomplishment and wishes you good luck with your next endeavors. Thank you so much for joining me today!