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Monday 14 June 2004
Working abroad: Stevie Cameron
Written by Stevie Cameron, AIESEC member
Stevie in Barcelona
Stevie (centre) in Barcelona this year

Stevie Cameron is travelling to the Philippines this summer.

He's travelling with the AIESEC student organisation, and he'll be writing a regular diary on BBC Birmingham.

SEE ALSO

Stevie Cameron
Stevie's in The Philippines.
Introduction
Diary 1
Diary 2
CSR Conference
Diary 3
Diary 4

Andrew Webster
Andrew's in India.
Introduction
Diary 1
Diary 2
Culture Shock!
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

Jess Rudkin
Jess is working in the Czech Republic.
Diary 1
Diary 2
Diary 3
Diary 4
Diary 5

James Eder
James is sharing his marketing skills with local people in Colombia.
Introduction
Diary 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Diary 6 - Aims
Diary 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
Diary 12 - 13 - 14 - 15
Diary 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

Working with AIESEC
Jame Eder introduces the student organisation.

AIESEC in Birmingham
Amaneeta Shokur explains more about AIESEC and how she is involved.

Scheila
Scheila came to Birmingham from Brazil on a student scheme run by AIESEC.

Students index

The Philippines
Profile of the country from BBC News.
WEB LINKS

AIESEC
Official website for the UK.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

FACTS

PHILIPPINES FACTS

Population: 80 million (UN, 2003)
Capital: Manila
Major languages: Tagalog (Filipino), English
Major religion: Christianity
Monetary unit: 1 Philippine peso = 100 centavos
Exports: Electrical machinery, clothes, food & live animals, chemicals, timber

AIESEC FACTS

AIESEC (pronounced "i-sek") stands for the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce.

AIESEC is the world's largest international student organisation with 30,000 members in over 86 countries.

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Monday 14 June

Today I applied for my visa. Weeks have passed filled with anticipation ahead of my travels to the Philippines and on Sunday I finally set off. I am staying in the Philippines for two months, long enough for me to adapt to such a distant culture, yet short enough in order to be back in Birmingham for my second year of study.

I finished school in July 2003 and went straight on to study Russian, Spanish and European Studies at the University of Birmingham. About the same time last year, I began to feel very similar anxieties. Having lived in North London all my life with my family, going to university was bound to be difficult to cope with at times. Settling in turned out to be fine, but I still suffered from an element of a culture shock. So I joined AIESEC.

Opportunites with AIESEC

Stevie Cameron
Stevie

AIESEC sold itself as an organisation that would give me business experience as well meeting like-minded people, all in an international context. It's almost a year later, and I now know that AIESEC does a whole lot more than that.

In March I was elected onto the local executive board as a Vice President, and this experience is one of my many highlights of the year. I have also made good friends from all over Europe after going to an international conference in Latvia. After my exams, I was also privileged enough to be able to visit the AIESEC branch in Barcelona and stayed with the locals there.

Preparing for culture shock

However, Sunday will bring the most daunting, exciting and enlightening experience of them all. Being sent to the Philippines for my summer is something I could never have imagined happening prior to joining AIESEC. Whilst out there, I am looking to make contacts with businesses and hopefully develop some interest amongst them in supporting our organisation.

Since finding out where I was going about seven weeks ago, I have had an injection a week! But that has been the least of my worries, as now the culture shock of coming to live in Birmingham seems like a drop in the ocean compared to what I am expecting to experience in the Philippines.

When I tell people about my plans, they seem to be in awe. Most 19 year olds who travel go to Australia or Thailand. The Philippines however comes across as an undiscovered land by British travellers. My parents, as always, are very supportive, although still have some reservations about how I am going to survive. Friends likewise are also unsure as to whether I'll be able to handle the heat, food and flying cockroaches...

Today, as I walked through Kensington, looking for the Filipino embassy, my forthcoming trip still felt as if it were months away. Suddenly though, as I stepped inside the building, it hit me. It was a particularly hot day, though the heat seemed to congregate in this one room. The smell of rice was so strong, and I was surrounded by Filipinos, all of which made me feel like my trip had begun a week early.

What does this journey hold in store for me? I can hardly wait to find out.

Written by Stevie Cameron

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