What is a Mzungu?

Last year I went to Uganda for an internship. My biggest fear was moving into an unknown country and leaving my family and friends behind. I had to prepare myself six months before departure and on that D-day I was like, … ok this is it! I was really curious about the country and the people I would live with, because I had no idea how I would react in that kind of situation.

Everything worked out very well. We lived in a big house with Dutch and local people (who were on the board of AIESEC Uganda). They were really friendly, just like all the other residents in Uganda. Everyone made a conversation, wanted to know your name or just simply called you mzungu (this means ‘rich’ white person). Every evening we had dinner together. They cooked for us and vice versa, sometimes we even made dinner together. If you would ask an Ugandan resident what their favorite dinner is, they will still say ‘rice’, even when they eat it every evening. We tried to make spaghetti for them, but they didn’t really like it. After dinner we had some dance lessons. This was so much fun. I really appreciate those little things, just like doing the laundry for two hours (because you have to do everything by hand) and when you’re finally finished you find out that the washing line is full or it starts raining. Over there it just didn’t matter, because there was no rush or stress.

I have had an amazing experience in Uganda working as an Intern in the Lubaga hospital. We had the possibility to change departments and we went to a health centre in a small village. It taught me a lot of things, like being satisfied and happy by the things you already have. Instead of focusing on everything you could have done better or haven’t done yet. For example, I took some stuffed animals to the small village and a little girl with HIV from her mother was so happy when she got the present. She has no idea what kind of impact HIV will have on her life, but on that moment, she was happy and that was the most important thing. It was back to the basics, like getting water at the pump. And in the evening it was so dark, that you just wanted to stare into the starry sky all night long.

That was one of the most beautiful things I have seen. It was really instructive to see how people in Uganda manage everything. In the village the cook learnt us to make chappati’s. And if you bake an egg, put it on the chapatti and role it up, you have the famous Uganda Rolex! During the weekends we made beautiful trips through the country with my new Dutch friends who were also doing the internship and lived in the same house. I have made friendships and reached a point where I felt like being home. So I encourage everyone to take up on any experience abroad so you can get exposed to the way of life of other cultures.

 

This post was written by Marissa Traets. Marissa went on a voluntary project with AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth. 

Read more
Your exchange packing list

Your exchange packing list

As the summer vacation is approaching, so are many volunteering projects and internships. But what to pack on such a new exciting experience? Even if you have been abroad many times and are an expert in packing, there are sure to be moments when you miss a thing or two. To help you have the best preparation for your project, or any other vacation, we made a special AIESEC exchange packing list!

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

When we talk about young leaders, people quickly think of Greta Thunberg or Mark Zuckerberg, due to their media attention or Greta’s well-known, activist speeches on climate change. But more quietly, the world is packed with young, inspirational leaders, trying to create a more stable, sustainable and inclusive world for future generations, minority groups or the society they are part of.

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

When I decided to participate in the Nour project of AIESEC, I felt like I did something impulsive yet brave. I never went abroad on my own before. I always had people I could depend on like friends and family. This time I wanted to challenge myself by doing this project on my own, and I wanted to discover and embrace another culture.

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

We’ve pulled together some inspiring TED talks for you to watch about inequality. The speakers in these videos describe their view on inequality and what the world needs in order to change this. Let these people inspire you, to create new ways of thinking about inequality and the road to changing this.

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

On average, recruiters spend 5 to 7 seconds screening a CV before deciding whether to continue with the applicant or not. It equals the average time that we spend looking at an Instagram post on our feed. So, here are some tips that can help your CV stand out in a large pool of applicants.

My AIESEC volunteering project in Italy

My AIESEC volunteering project in Italy

In January 2020 I participated in an AIESEC Project on environment and sustainability in Castellana Grotte, Italy. I was lucky to stay six weeks in one of the most beautiful small villages I have been to. My work was about teaching the kids in the local Highschool on the UN SDGs and sustainability. My fellow AIESEC students were so kind to pick me up in Bari. They made sure I was safe and showed me how to travel to my destination.

Handling stress of working from home

Handling stress of working from home

Many people regard working from home as an overall goal for their work-life balance. They work with the help of evolving technologies such as Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Slack, Google Hangouts and cloud computing. Recently, the work from home job force has gotten a push by the current global coronavirus pandemic.

Interested?

Take the first step.

Book a free consultation call in one of our cities to explore your opportunities!