A Fateful Meeting
Three years ago, I had the privilege of meeting some wonderful Indonesian friends. They not only left me with great impressions but also ignited my curiosity about their country. Since that day, the desire to visit Indonesia has been burning within me. I yearned to understand the people I’d met and deepen the cross-cultural friendships we’d forged.
A Journey of Self-Discovery
Two year ago, I made a life-changing decision. I left Vietnam to study abroad in the Netherlands, which opened doors to exploring various European countries. However, amidst my European adventures, I often found myself questioning my knowledge of my homeland and my continent, Southeast Asia.
An Unexpected Opportunity
Fate works in mysterious ways. It was by chance that I stumbled upon AIESEC and a unique project in Bandung, perfectly aligned with my summer break. Without hesitation, I eagerly signed up for this remarkable opportunity.
Immersed in Bandung
In the summer of 2019, I found myself in Bandung, dedicating six weeks to volunteering with Socep 2nd Wave. My role primarily involved producing Kecimpring in the charming village of Ciumbuleuit. Though describing my daily tasks might seem laborious, every moment spent with the Ibu-Ibu, the people at the production site, and the aroma of Kecimpring filled me with endless joy.
Insights and Transformation
I consider myself fortunate to lend a helping hand to the village’s women, gaining direct insights into their lives and the challenges stemming from unstable incomes. Engaging in conversations with the Ibu-Ibu and the LVs allowed me to immerse myself in Bahasa, a language I found simple and lovely. Alongside this linguistic experience, I delved into Indonesian culture, absorbing diverse perspectives that shattered my deeply ingrained stereotypes.
A Newfound Appreciation for Home
Moreover, teaching and introducing my own country to Indonesian students made me treasure my homeland even more. The LVs and the students served as reminders of my privilege to study abroad and the importance of embracing my roots.
A Second Family
During this incredible project, I need to dedicate a special place in my heart to my host family. Having been away from home for nearly a year, they rekindled the warmth of family in my heart. Their kindness extended beyond providing accommodation and meals. They shared stories, lent a listening ear, and offered advice to a sometimes-troubled teenager like me. In my eyes, they became a second family, if not more.
Gratitude and Fond Farewells
Last but not least, I want to extend heartfelt thanks to the people who made this journey extraordinary. Kaya, my best friend during this project, deserves special recognition. I appreciate the time spent sharing stories over drinks. To Tien and Vi, thank you for allowing me to reconnect with my Vietnamese identity. Kai, thanks for creating unforgettable memories during our week off together.
Arya, you’ve been an amazing buddy and a motorbike lender. Marta, my three-week roomie, I’m grateful for your patience. Talman and Rizqi, your assistance with Grabbike and exploring Bandung made my stay memorable. Elen, thanks for ensuring I reached my host family safely.
Army, the beautiful Batik gift you gave me will always be cherished. Daffa, thank you for embracing my silliness. To Francessca, Vasco, Afonso, and Rafael, you were incredible and reliable leaders. Tias and Alsa, your chic and elegant Vogue video was a standout.
Arpoova, your loving hugs brightened my days. Most importantly, I owe immense gratitude to my host family, who introduced me to Indonesian traditions and cuisine while imparting valuable life lessons. To those whose names I couldn’t mention, please know that you’ve left significant memories from this project. I wish you all success and happiness, and I hope our paths cross again someday.
A Note to Self
Lastly, I want to thank myself for choosing Socep 2nd Wave in Bandung – a decision I’ll forever cherish.