The value of a smile
AIESEC volunteering internship: read Martina’s story. AIESEC is the world’s largest organization run by students.
Martina Ghirelli is 21 and lives in Ancona, Italy. She is a university student and she is also part of AIESEC, the world’s largest organization run by students, present in over 110 countries and territories and with over 60,000 members.
- What are you studying? Which university are you attending?
My name is Martina Ghirelli and I'm 21 years old. I'm attending the second year of Economics at the University of Ancona, Italy.
- What kind of internship did you choose and why?
Last summer I chosed a volunteering internship in India. There are many reasons why I have taken this decision: I was tired of the usual summer and I wanted to do something different. But the main reason was that I was not sure about what I wanted to do in the future and I really wanted to go away from my town for a while, so I began looking for some opportunities abroad.
I didn't know which place in the world to go, but then I found something that looked exactly what I was waiting for.
- Which country and which city did you go to?
I went to India, and in particular I stayed in Manipal, a university town in the Karnataka State of India.
- How long did your internship last?
My internship lasted for 6 weeks: from the beginning of August to the second week of September.
- What was your internship about exactly?
My internship consisted in spending time with children and women affected by HIV and working in some Indian schools around Manipal, where I had the chance to teach, through games and role plays, some basic information about this disease, which is very spread in India. Another thing I did was working in an hospital in the same university town where I lived, so I had the chance to work giving some basic information on hygienic care.
- Five things you learnt during the internship?
1-One decision can change your life
2-You can never know what it is going to be and what you are going to get
3-Happiness is a matter of choice: you can choose your attitude and decide to be happy
4-People who have less are also the ones who smile better
5-Spicy Indian food is one of the best things ever!
- Why did you choose to go to India and to Manipal in particular?
At the beginning I didn't know where to go and what to do. Since I love travelling I have never put any kind of limit to my decisions. The real reason why I chose that particular place was because of the project that I have found.
- What was the best moment of your experience?
These six weeks experience have been for me so incredibly full of beautiful and difficult moments.
The best moment was probably one of the most difficult ones at the same time.
It was probably the last night. Saying goodbye to everyone meant for me starting to be aware about what I had done, where I had been, what I had learnt in these 6 weeks, which kind of strong feelings I had lived and how many strong relationships I had built.
- Would you change your experience in any way?
I would have loved to have the opportunity to go travelling around that beautiful country, but except for this there is nothing that I would change in my experience.
- Any suggestions for students who are about to leave on an AIESEC internship?
I really think that it's all up to you. Before leaving I began thinking that the whole experience would have been about me and my attitude. I strongly think that in life we can really change our daily life starting from our attitude, just starting by changing ourselves and our minds!