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Friday 2 July 2004
Working abroad: Stevie Cameron
Written by Stevie Cameron, AIESEC member
Stevie with another British AIESEC member at a school in the Philippines
Stevie (centre) with Filipino friends

Stevie Cameron is in the Philippines this summer.

He's travelling with the AIESEC student organisation, and he's 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 12 July 2004

I cannot believe I have only been here for three weeks. My days of not being able to breathe and staring in wonder at the unique approach to driving seem like a distant memory.

Friends and family will vouch for the fact that my first two weeks were filled with stories of cockroaches, lizards and mosquitoes, but through all my traumatic experiences of such creatures, I've come out a lot stronger. As long as they don't come near me, I no longer run away! The food still plays with my angry stomach from time to time, but all in all, I'm feeling less like a tourist everyday.

Making new contacts

Stevie with the governor
Stevie meets Raphael Buenaventura

My last week has been very busy. I managed to get access to a FOCAP (Foreign Correspondents in the Philippines) event.

It was here that Raphael Buenaventura, Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, (the equivalent of the Bank of England), spoke about the economic situation to a group of 20 foreign journalists… and me!

Stevie with a bust of the governor
Another view of Stevie with the Governor!

After introducing myself, he invited me and some colleagues to lunch with him.

Together we worked out a way in which both our organisations could work together in the future, a partnership which will be of great value to AIESEC.

He also organised for the curator of the Museum of Money, and the Gold Museum to give us a private tour - who would have known that the entire history of money could be made so interesting!

Visiting schools

I have also visited universities and spoken to classes about myself and the organisation I represent. Maria Farren from Northern Ireland, who's also representing AIESEC, came with me to St. Scholastica's college. We donned the Union Jack - as if we don't stand out enough anyway!

The reactions of audiences have been quite mixed. Some listened intently trying to decipher every word I spoke whilst others openly giggled at my accent. Everyday, I still notice people stare at me, and never have I felt so self-conscious when jumping into a public pool half naked!

Religous zeal

The Philippines is 95% Christian, and the majority are devout Catholics. God and religion are held close to the Filipino heart, so much so that even shopping malls hold prayer sermons. Crucifixes and other religious icons and messages cover public buildings and transport. All this is quite a jungle for a Jewish Brit to get his head around, especially when questioned by a lecturer in front of a class about the meaning of prayer. However, as much as anything else, this is a cultural experience I have savoured.

Breaks away

Stevie at the beach
Stevie at the beach in Bataan

I've worked hard, but also enjoyed travelling outside of Manila. I spent last weekend in a province called Bataan, and this weekend I was in Los Baños and Tagatay, where you can see Taal, the smallest volcano in the world.

Both retreats gave me a greater insight to the people and sights of the Philippines, outside of Metro Manila. It gave me a chance to see the beautiful rural Philippines, covered in rice fields and mountains, yet another dimension to these captivating islands.

arrowRead about my visit to the Corporate Social Responsibility conference »

Written by Stevie Cameron

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