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Jakarta Post

A volunteer's memorable winter in Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt   /   Wed, April 6, 2016   /  11:49 am
A volunteer's memorable winter in Alexandria, Egypt Alexandria Egypt Harbor Qaitbay Castle (Shutterstock/-)

“Are you serious?”, “That is so dangerous!” and “Why did you accept the project there? It’s totally unsafe!” are the three top common reactions I got when I told someone I was going to Egypt.
My parents were even willing to pay me to cancel my project and choose other country. But I refused as I had wanted to go there ever since I watched movie set in Alexandria a few years back.
Besides, AIESEC LC Alexandria offers an interesting project, which is Amal Project Career Entrepreneurship and Career Development Program. I applied, underwent screening with the project manager and fortunately was accepted.
After inquiring about safety from AIESEC LC Alexandria contact persons, I was told the city was totally safe and nothing would happen. So I left the archipelago for a month of adventure on Jan. 21.
After an almost 20-hour flight, I finally arrived at Alexandria's small Borg El Arab airport. The scenery was really nice on the way from the airport to my apartment, particularly the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea, despite the windy, rainy and cold weather.
The Amal Project, which I participated in, is a social project that aims to encourage fresh graduates and young people to start their own business. One of my tasks included doing a presentation on how to correlate my biotechnology studies with business.
At first, I was not at all confident; a first year student who knew nothing about business having to speak in front of a large group of people and talk about how to get a startup up and running. But that was exactly why I participated in the project, became a volunteer, so that that I could improve myself, besides have a positive impact on other people.
I did sufficient research, consulted with my lecturer and practiced the presentation a couple of times. We also conducted meetings with big companies and people who had founded startups.
Surprisingly, the response I received was encouraging. Some high school students have said they might study biotechnology after they graduate.
Staying in a totally strange country for a month was indeed a memorable experience for me. It taught me how to deal with and adapt to different circumstances and cultures. It taught me about professionalism, patience, friendship, love and loyalty and gave me more knowledge and much more.
I realize that it doesn’t really matter if you are the youngest in a group, as long as you interact and make the most of it; you will survive. In fact, you might feel that you don’t want to return home because it feels like you still have a lot of things to do in that country.
The experience has changed my life as I am now more patient, less self-doubting, curious, open-minded and eager to encourage people in a positive way.


Trifani Rosayu Salsabila is an AIESEC member and currently a student at the School of Agritechnology at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.