“Who in the world am I? Ah, that is the great puzzle.” This excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s greatest legacy brought the world to a screeching halt at the dawn of the 20th century, what millennials mark as the beginning of the era of existential crisis. Who are we? What is it that defines us? And so the people sought out to seek, until we came to the realisation that we may be just mere reflections of our influences. Yes, we are the projections of the places we grew up in, the people we interact with, and we can be more. We take control of defining ourselves with the decisions we take, the moves we make. When we make our choices about where we want to go and what we want to do with our time, we define ourselves. Hence it is when we volunteer, that we become.
I intend this to be a message from a student studying in Manipal, to you; this is not just another ‘Exchange. Explore. Experience.’
Your decision to participate, either to volunteer or to intern, will expose you to situations that will demand and bring out the best of your skills. The opportunity to interact with people from different places and different cultures, and to bond over their food helps us find our home on foreign land. Global exposure helps you broaden your perspective, and tackle the toxicities that you may face in your daily lives.
As students, we thrive to learn, and getting exchanged brings to you learning like never done before. This could be your break from your routine, or another place crossed off from your bucket list. Every city has a different experience to offer. For instance, Manipal: the city of students, having a student to resident ratio of roughly 3:1, is like none other. Run by Academies and the students attending, this city has needs and requirements, and experiences to offer, that drastically differ from the other cities that surround it.
Exchange programmes breed professionalism. It develops leadership abilities and prepares you for challenges. Plus, it looks pretty glamorous on your CV too! Recruiting companies in India today recognise and seek skills that are developed in exchanges. Choosing a good programme will not only benefit the cause, but will also reap in tenfold.
For if there’s one thing we’ve taken in our hearts from Dead Poets society apart from the marvel i.e. Robin William’s brilliance, the message that comes loud and crashing, “Carpe Diem”. Seize every opportunity that comes your way, for one will never be like the other. We are here to make a difference, and we are here to thrive!