What is the best way to get to know other cultures? To most people, the answer might be to physically visit the country. However, with the event initiated by AIESEC on Saturday, August 18, students got to experience the culture of 10 countries without having to physically be there.
Held at National University of Management (NUM), “Global Village” was an international event aimed to achieve culture understanding across the globe. During the event, international students from more than 10 countries gathered in one place to demonstrate and represent themselves through their native food, handicrafts and language.
AIESEC is a non-political, independent, non-profit organisation run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. Founded in 1948, AIESEC headquarters is in the Netherlands. AIESEC is currently operating in 126 different countries including Cambodia. It was established in the Kingdom in 2009.
Jack Low, AIESEC Cambodia country director expressed that being part of AIESEC, he gets to travel to many different places, experience new cultures and learn a lot of new things about people and the world. In his speech during the Global Village event, he acknowledged the importance of getting to know other countries’ culture as well as to work with people who come from different races.
“Being in team composed of different nationalities allowed me to understand different cultures, different mindsets and also experience how to actually collaborate and work with different people from different cities, from different background.”
Mr Jack strongly believes that “cross-cultural experience” is very important. He added AIESEC can develop youth leadership skill by putting young people in practical situations and challenging environment. He further said that AIESEC works with the belief that leadership is fundamental to solve every problem.
However, he expressed that in order to have effective cross-cultural experiences, one needs a platform. Thus, the emergence of Global Village. Its objective is to be an avenue where potential young leaders from different countries can gather to share about their cultures with one another.
Global Village was created so that all exchange participants in Cambodia would be able to showcase their country’s pride. Moreover, it is also made for the locals to show their own culture so they could experience different culture, different food, different understanding and different knowledge in a single venue. Global Village saw the participation of 35 exchange AIESEC members from 10 different countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Philippines, Finland, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Morocco and France. Besides coming to join Global Village, all exchange participants were asked to teach Cambodian kids as well. They did not only teach English to the kids, but they also experienced living in challenging environment and gain cross-cultural understanding.
Setha Lee, one of Global Village organisers, said what she hoped that all those who were involved in Global Village event had fun and gained deeper understanding on other countries’ cultures and traditions.
“Personally, I really want to expose Cambodia to different countries and cultures as well. Not only that, I also want everyone to have chance to talk to the exchange participants in order to make friends from different countries and so everyone would feel like they have friends in many parts of the world.”
Global Village also offered a wide range of performances by the AIESEC members in Cambodia. Exchange participants also presented traditional dances and songs from their own homelands. Two exchange participants – from Malaysia and Indonesia – also sang a Cambodian musical piece.
“What I expected the most from those performances is the same with the whole event. I hope everyone had a good time, not just the audience, but also the performers. I hope they also had fun with the performances.” Setha Lee said.
“Hopefully, with the Global Village, Cambodians will feel more connected and feel that other parts of the world is just close by. It is not too far for you to reach. You just have to step out of your comfort zone and try to engage with different people.” she added.