In 2011, I was in my 2nd year of university, after my first cultural exchange in North Cyprus, I decided to change my major from Accounting to Philosophy, and run for the position of AIESEC Local Committee Vice President. That was the first time I drew my story to let people know more about my and why I made this decision.
“Before university, I called myself Dummy Doll, because I felt that I had no freedom, I was controlled by parents, teachers, friends, schools, etc. I loved mask so I could hide myself. And I hoped that everything could change when I enter the university. ”
“So when I entered in University, during the first semester, I was so excited and wanted to try everything. I joined the Student Union, participated in Chinese Poetry Recitation competition and got the first prize, designed a special hand painting outfit for the design contest and got the grand prize, I had enough time to join my favorite classes except for my major , I always stayed in the library to read novel till it was closed, and I still got 3.7/4GPA, I was happy but simple, even stupid and naive.”
“However, when the second semester started, and I saw so many courses about accounting or tax which I actually hated them, I felt that I won’t have enough time for my own interest, and I couldn’t image that I would become accounted in the future! ”
“Besides, I couldn’t imagine what kind of person I would become if I just repeat the same life as what I had experienced at the first semester, that was interesting for a freshman but I need to do something more challenging. I didn’t know what to do next, I felt that I lost my direction and I was so upset.”
‘To find the direction and hope, I went to lots of lectures and courses in school and talked to some people. But still, the resources in my university couldn’t provide me the platform and answers.
Until one day, I met AIESEC. I went to the induction sessions and met a girl who shared about her university life, she went to Indonesia for children education as a volunteer, she went to Germany for Leadership Conference, and she had a team to run NGO together in her university, she talked about youth, team, leadership, culture, dream and peace. I was sitting there totally stuck, yes this is what I want for my university life! So I decided to apply for AIESEC to do internaitonal exchange as a volunteer.”
“Both my friend and I got the application form, when we came back to dorm and started to filled in the form, we faced 5 English questions and the answers required in English, both of us felt it was hard for us, she gave up and told me she would learn English better than next year to apply, but I told myself that even though my English was not good I still wanna try and I could practice before I went to international exchange.
So I applied and it was my first time to have 30-min English interview and passed it. Wooooooow, I couldn’t believe it ! I was super excited and yes I found the reason to continue staying here ! ” “I gave myself fully into the preparation for the cultural exchange, and I did so many things for the first time in my life at that semester, I went to Beijing to join a 3-days Leadership and cultural conference, I met 400+ students from all around China and talked them about university life, I applied voluntary projects and had interview with foreigners and finally decided to go to North Cyprus, a country I have never heard before ! I applied for a passport and went to embassy to get Turkey visa by myself, I bought insurance and lots of chinese gifts, I searched about cultural understanding and communications,etc… I just did so many things for the first time at the age of 19, the journey was full of surpreise, happiness and challenging. But I knew that I was closer to my dream. ”
“Finally , I made it to North Cyprus, a country I have never heard before! I was so scared when I searched the information about this country, it was about conflicts and wars 30 years ago.But when I arrived, all concerns disappeared, it was such a beautiful island and people were so kind and happy !”
“At beginning, I’d love to be alone and do my own things, I went to castle, beach, mosque, different cities, I met strangers and made friends with them, everything was new and interesting, I kept writing diaries, later when I came back China, I even published one book about my experience. ”
“Gradually, I joined other people for the team activities, we had 100+ volunteers from 20+ countries, it was my first time to know some countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Morocco, haha, I was really stupid and knew so fewer things about the world. We danced and sung together, we shared stories and country cultures, we joined different classes, we designed the marketing plan for the university. This experience helped to open my eyes and know what other young people thinking and doing, and I could become part of them. It was my happiest and most colorful memory. I would never forget. ”
“after 53 days in North Cyprus, I came back to China, on the one hand, I was excited to share my life-changing experience with people. On the other hand, I was still confused about what should I do next.”
“Luckily, I went to Beijing again for a 3-day AIESEC Leadership Conference, during the conference the President of AIESEC in Tsinghua University shared with us his story, he said that in everyone’s heart there was a bottle full of water, if you don’t have any shock or challenge, the bottle is full and nothing could be added in, but if you faced some shock or challenges, some water would spill out and you had some space, then you could add juice, wine, or anything into your bottle, if you keep shaking it and your heart could always have some space and have new things inside. He did voluntary work in Indonesia for 2 months but it was too short for him, his heart just spilled out some water and he needed more time to challenge himself.
That moment I understood that why I would feel empty in my heart after the first cultural exchange.”
“I decided to make some decisions, to push myself jump outside of my comfortable zone and follow my heart to do what I love, I hate my major accounting, I wound do anything about it in my future and I didn’t want to waste any time on it, compared to learning how to earn and manage money, I’d prefer to learn history, philosophy, literature and understand who I am.”
“When I came back school, I talked to my teachers and finally changed my major to Humanity, I was so excited about my new study life in university. It’s not that hard as what I expected, it’s possible to follwo your heart and when I knew what I want, people would help me and support me to achive my dream. ”
“This is my story till now, I wish to meet another Mowen during this journey, I want to see how far I can go from here, I want to change myself, change other people and even change the world, yes it’s hard but challenges made us unique and grow, and I want to keep moving and keep learning. ”
Till now, I still remember those nights before the election, I couldn’t sleep but kept drawing these stories on paper then took a photo and found some online photo edit website to make it look better, and still remember how happy I was when I shared it on Renren(Chinese facebook popular among students) and see so many people liked and shared it.
Maybe I need to continue drawing my life story, each time I had one special experience 🙂