Two weeks of remarkable learning experience built the motivation of our empowered champions to pursue what they have started in the Asia Pacific Youth Exchange (APYE) program and eventually paved their way in being one of the organization’s emerging leaders.
In this paradigm shift, a total of 6 Asia Pacific Youth Exchange Philippines (APYExPHL) graduates from different iterations of the program were given internship opportunities to take part of the the organization in co-organizing the 8th APYE program in the Philippines.
All program interns are currently university students who juggle multi-roles in studying, participating in university activities, and devoting their time in contributing to the success of the program. Despite these constraints, our interns proved that this breakthrough is more than just adding a series of lines in their professional profiles, it is an avenue for them to share what they have gained to inspire the next set of delegates.
Let us hear their diverse stories on why they chose to embrace the challenge and what kept them moving forward.
Encouraging the next APYExPHL leader to drive a sustainable impact
(Bella Angela Del Rio | APYE 4 Graduate | Business Development and Communications Intern)
Who would have thought that a delegate before with a simple vision would unleash her qualities as a changemaker after the program? Bella, a Filipino student who lived most of her life abroad, just wanted to discover her real roots, and to immerse with the Philippine culture by joining the program. But APYExPHL offered a more extensive awareness that enabled her to think critically and realized that her ideas could make a positive impact on the lives of people.
Aside from being an Economics student focusing on development, her remarkable experience in APYExPHL served as her motivation to be an intern because she also opts to empower young people by encouraging them to use their abilities and ideas in developing projects which would eventually be implemented in the communities.
She added, “I wanted to be part of the team because they taught me that my mind is a powerful tool and that being part of youth doesn’t make me incapable but rather capable of impacting lives and developing communities.”
Change starts with self to create a better society
(Georgina Onagan | APYE 5 Graduate | Delegate Management Intern)
Georgina believes that change entails educating and empowering oneself in creating a better society. For her, APYExPHL is a platform which strengthens and broadens this kind of perspective. As the program continues to empower young people in multiple aspects, it serves as one of her main reasons why she progressively supports the organization’s agenda.
The statement, “Open heart, open mind, and an open will” is already a mantra to many of our Empowered Champions. But for her, this learning point is a reminder that we should always act and do things with compassion. She also specified that setting goals must not be self-centered and we must choose to live more by doing things that are bigger than ourselves.
Equipped with all the learnings that she had absorbed in the program, her aspiration is to take part of the organization which engages youth in social issues and making them asn prime movers in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “I wanted to contribute to the success of the following APYEs, aligning the youth in achieving SDGs is an opportunity I know I can pass on”, she concluded.
Enabling APYE graduates to put learnings into action-oriented ways
(Christopher Klausner | APYE 5 Graduate | Delegate Management Intern)
Certainly, learnings acquired will be more meaningful if utilized on a daily basis. This has always been the thinking of Christopher to view himself as a changemaker and constantly apply his learned APYE lessons towards his lifestyle and activities as an intern of the organization.
Christopher mentioned that he puts into action all the things he learned in his life by looking for people whom he could probably extend his arms to and serve with random acts of kindness. Also, APYE has taught him that everyone deserves help and generosity which makes him believe that this act is what makes us human.
Now as one of the interns for this coming 8th APYExPHL, he added, “I’m applying the lessons in my organization as means of motivation to continue my work even with struggles and challenges, to keep up the things I do because I know I am making a difference and a significant change for others too so that they can make change as well”.
Self-empowerment by going outside the box
(Eljay Busmente | APYE 7 Graduate | Delegate Management Intern)
There are numerous barriers that impede young people in stepping out of their comfort zones. However, Eljay broke the wall when she joined the program and went outside the four (4) corners of the classroom to make a change by believing that she is also capable of what other youth can accomplish.
Meeting co-delegates to understand the context of SDGs, receiving a heartwarming treatment and love from the host families, and developing project ideas for the community are the reasons why she will cherish her APYExPHL experience forever. Since her experience as a delegate was unforgettable, she is still attached to the people, and to the organization which is the reason behind taking the challenge of moving to the next level, as an intern.
Eljay is looking forward to increase her knowledge on how APYE empowers youth and fosters a new batch of empowered champions, whom she is excited to meet. “What motivated me to apply as an intern was that I really love what APYE is doing for the youth and to the communities, and I wanted to be part of an organization that can bring change to the world even if it is a small thing”, she concluded.
Different program iterations, same feeling of gaining new experiences
(Jarod Aparis | APYE 5 Graduate | Knowledge Management Intern)
Jarod is one of the empowered champions who continuously walks the path of APYE journey. From being a delegate, leading a certain SDG group as a Learning Circle Leader, serving as a program volunteer to perform documentation, and now, being an intern for Knowledge Management of the organization.
Before joining the program, Jarod is the type of person who doesn’t want to step out of comfort zone and doesn’t have any interest in SDGs. But when he decided to take a big leap, it changed the way he interacted with people and started to think possible solutions for communities by learning about sustainable development. In addition, he got to realize the deeper context of training and immersion when he joined the program.
“The experience is always new in each APYE I’ve been, it’s always a breathtaking leap whenever I enter those doors, see the SDG boards, and the APYE logo. What I learned from the program is to always have an open heart, an open mind, and an open will for everything that I do every day”, he shared.