Yosra Ferchichi, a student from Tunisia, went on a Global Volunteer (one of AIESEC’s exchange products) summer 2018, in Bursa, Turkey. This is her story!

I have always heard from my friends about their own exchange experiences with AIESEC, but I never bothered to wonder and I wasn’t that curious either about the whole matter.

Then one day, in my university, I noticed flyers announcing an AIESEC event that would take place in few days. And so, I decided to see what I can find on the net about the organization.

The day of the event, I met a lot of members, spoke to them and they were very kind. They explained to me the procedures and how I can go on an exchange.

Once home, I signed up on the platform and started opportunity hunting!

My experience with AIESEC taught me alot, and I’m going to share with you what were the benefits of my AIESEC Exchange:

  1. Contributing to the SDGs :

The project I found in Bursa, Turkey, was my opportunity to contribute to SDG number 10 : Reduce Inequalities. I worked in a rehabilitation center for a month and a half with people who had special needs.

Spending time with them was a very unique experience. My team and I bonded with them, got to know them and understand them better. It helped me see them for who they truly are, despite their illness or suffering. They are like us, smart, funny and hungry for life, just like anyone out there. We became very close, and even  my last day at the center was very emotional, and we all cried.

The time I had with them impacted me on so many levels, especially on a personal level, and I happen to think that it was the same for them too.

2. Independence and adeptness :

My AIESEC experience taught me how to be independent and adapt in every situation possible. It was one of the main things that will definitely help me in the future.

When I first arrived in Turkey, I was with friends and people that I share with the same nationality. I was very comfortable with them and it bothered me at first when we got seperated. Then I found myself in a total different atmosphere with a family that I didn’t know, and a city that I didn’t speak its language.

It took me a while to get out of my comfort zone and try to adapt instead of being afraid of the environment I found myself in. But then I learned how to go on my own, using public transportation without getting lost. I learned few Turkish words. I learned about beautiful and breathing taking places in Turkey, that I would pretty much visit again, if I were to come back. I learned how to spend my money wisely and be more mature. I learned how to always try and find a solution for any problem that would come my way. It was challenging in every aspect of the word!

I basically learned how to adapt to every situation and how to count more on myself.

3. Living diversity:

I made friends from all over the world. We spent a lot of time together during work hours or the weekends. We went to various places, trips and picnics. We were very different; not the same background, culture or even mindset, yet, those differences we had, were complementary.

The diversity I experienced during my exchange made me realise that being different is actually a blessing and it’s what makes everyone unique.

4. Life changing adventure:

I didn’t go on a voyage to Turkey, I experienced a journey, an adventure that changed me in so many ways. The people I met, worked with, stayed at their home, shared stories with, etc.. The skills I have learned, the places I have visited.. Everything I encountered during my adventure changed my perspective on the world and I am forever grateful. Who knew that taking the risk and going on an exchange would be the experience of a lifetime?

I’m sure I didn’t at first. I was afraid, and it wasn’t a risk that I was willing to take. I mean, I was going to spend almost two months in a country different from mine. But I decided to go for it anyway, and I certainly don’t regret it a bit!

5. Feeling home everywhere you do :

My teammates made me feel at home during the one month and a half I spent in Turkey.  The friendships I made during my exchange made me realise that your nationality doesn’t matter, your language doesn’t matter, your background doesn’t matter, in fact what matters is your actions and the way you are. I made very strong bonds with many people, and they are very dear to me. And every time I was with them, I always felt like I was home. They’re like my second home!

Among them, my Spanish friend, who at the end of my adventure handed me a very special gift :

Real friends don’t always need to be together.”

But not just them!

When I faced difficulties, mostly during the time I couldn’t find a place to stay, there is this family that took me in, took good care of me and they hosted me for weeks. They treated me as if I was one of their daughters, and I could never forget what they’ve done for me. We still keep in touch, and every once in a while, they ask me to come back to Bursa and visit them!

For sure, my experience was unforgettable  and unique for me. I got the chance to live amazing moments with special people, I got the chance to see the world from a different perspective, I got the chance to learn and be a better version of myself.

So my advice is to take the risk, and go on an AIESEC exchange! Because I know for sure, that I am more than willing to go for another one!

What are you waiting for? Cease the chance right now and live the experience you’ve been dreaming of!

Did you enjoy Yosra’s story? Let us know in the comments below!

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