Bahrain at Its Best

In a world dominated by superpowers like the United States of America or China, one tends to turn a blind eye to certain remarkable realms of the world thereby depriving oneself of the virtue of understanding different cultures and beliefs.

Little do people know that among the fastest growing economies in the Arab world, Bahrain is also the smallest among the Arabian countries. The name ‘Bahrain’ means Two Seas, which is attributed to the sweet water springs and salty water in the seas that surrounds the island country.

Bahrain is undoubtedly the ideal destination for anyone who has been bitten by the bug of wanderlust. Experience the country’s rich culture, tradition, and heritage at the Bahrain National Museum and Qal’at Al Bahrain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site or indulge with the extravagance that is on offer at the Lunar Fest or the full moon party on Al Dar Islands.

Unlike popular belief that Bahrain is a conservative country with several rules and regulations, the country with its increasing tourism is taking strides towards a liberal mindset and growth with its nightlife experiences.

Garden of Eden to Fish Eye to Black Gold

The burial mounds that cover about 5% of the island signify that people who took such sophisticated care of their dead were equally cultured in matters of life. Being at the epicenter of the illustrious empire of Dilmun, the residents were not only engaged with matters of trade but were similarly considerate on the social front.

Pearling, that played a crucial role in the country’s contemporary embodiment turned out to be a shortcoming as well, as it attracted the dominating powers of Europe looking to establish themselves here. In the middle of the dessert, lies the spot where Arabs discovered what was going to change the balance of power in the world. With the discovery of oil in 1932, the nation led the way to steer a course of swift modernization in the region.

Bahrain Essentials

It is a shame if you visit Bahrain and do not visit the Bahrain National Museum which offers an introduction to the history of the country or the Bahrain National Theatre, which is the third-largest theatre in the Middle East. Other attractions include the Al Fatih Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the country; Busaad Art Gallery, which is the former home of and showcases the work of Ebrahim Mohamed Busaad; Spice and Gold Souq; and eateries like Haji Gahwa, famous for its biryanis, and Isfahani, known for its pocket-friendly Iranian food.

Bahrain Aesthetics

The people in Bahrain are widely known for their artistic temperament and craftsmanship. The poets of Bahrain are known for their poetic verses as well as their exploration of new themes. Births and marriages are celebrated on a wide scale.

Khaleeji, a style of Arab folk music influenced by the music of Africa is very popular in the country along with Liwa, a type of music and dance performed in communities with descendants of East Africans, such as Muharraq and Hidd.

Festivals like Ramadan, Nasfa, and Habiba are also widely celebrated.

A Heaven of Food

Traditional Bahraini food consists of fish, meat, rice, and dates which make up the famous dishes such as biryani, harees, machboos, mahyawa, maglooba, and zalabia. Qahwah is the national beverage. Much of the cuisine of Bahrain is a mixture of Arabic, Persian, Indian, Balochi, African, Far East and European food due to the influence of the various communities present as Bahrain was an important sea port and trading junction since ancient times.

The Uprising

The Bahraini uprising, also known as the 14th February Uprising or Pearl Uprising was a significant event in the history of the country. It was a series of anti-government protests led by the Shia-dominant Bahraini Opposition from 2011 until 2014. The roots of the uprising date back to the beginning of the 20th century where the Bahraini people have actively taken part in protests and demonstrations demanding social, economic, and political rights. The people sought for democracy and an end to the discrimination against the Shia muslim community.

If you truly have been bitten by the wanderlust bug, then a week-long stay at a holiday resort just won’t cut it for you. You can’t really experience a country from a superficial visit to its most famous tourist spots. Volunteering is a great way through which you can experience the true essence of the culture and create an impact at the same time.

There are always certain underlying issues that the locals struggle with every day and all they require is a few great volunteers that are ready to change the world.

You can use your personal experience and skills to help young Bahrainis improve their capacities. Gender equality is one of very important topics in the country which you can work towards as it is an integral part of a democratic setup. While the world may be at the edge of climate change, Bahrain is one of the countries that suffer under pollution. You can become a part of the project that supports raising awareness and promotion of a safe ecological environment in the country.

Sign up as a Global Volunteer today and live the impact in the Kingdom of Mystery!

Ventures in Vietnam

Volunteering is not just about bringing a positive change in the world but also an amazing means to facilitate your own personal development. Moreover, the supreme influence it might bring to your CV and professional life cannot be ruled out. Combine it with a splendid destination and you are ready to have the best time of your life.

If you desire to experience Southeast Asia’s most welcoming hospitality which not only offers you a mesmerising scenery and pristine temples but also geological wonders and mouth-watering food; then Vietnam is the place for you. From trying snake wine, the ultimate exotic drink here, to swimming, hiking, and picnicking at the Elephant Spring’s natural pools to spending an evening at Bia Hoi Junction, the city’s busiest nightlife, this country has it all.

Unforgettable Experiences

Vietnam claims right to innumerable breath-taking natural backdrops along with the countless challenges it may put forward due to human inhabitance. The inspiring memory of contemplating over the eccentric panorama of limestone islands to gushing through a tsunami of motorbikes, this place won’t disappoint you. The rural adventures might lend you an amusing sight of honking pigs weave a wobbly route along a country lane whereas a solitary grave in a cemetery of thousands of war victims might persuade you to obtain a thoughtful insight into the country’s past.

History & Culture

For a nation that rose from colonialism and the atrocities of wars, Vietnam’s culture is extremely complex but, yet the story of its past makes a good one for a box office thriller. The Chinese and Hindu influences in the ancient temples to the glorious skylines defined by clusters of glass-and-steel corporate HQs, elucidate its journey on the road to prosperity. Meanwhile, the people here would leave no stone unturned to make you feel that this place is no less than your home.

Undertaking a volunteering expedition here would not only give you a chance to witness everything that a usual tourist might do but at the same time, work towards the underlying issues that the Vietnamese deal with every day. The country is still battling with poverty, gender issues, and the aftereffects of war and it significantly needs coordinated efforts of great volunteers to rise from these predicaments that are holding it back.

Be an Enabler to its Growth

The nation has made great strides of progress in terms of economic growth and reducing poverty. However, the effect of this accelerated development hasn’t been able to trickle down to the grassroot level of the society. Working here for such disadvantaged sections of the society will empower you to act as the medium to bring about a change for these people.

Reduce the Social Disparities

Working on projects that are focussed towards plummeting the gender biases or refining the quality of education the Vietnamese children receive, would enable the next generation of the nation to emerge as a force of changemakers that would drive it towards prosperity. All it needs is a few good volunteers who are willing to drive this transformation in the stage of its infancy.

Visiting Vietnam will certainly push you beyond your comfort zone where you would be able to savour a wholesome experience of enjoying new and interesting things. From the countless experiences that you would live in here, being an enabler to a nation’s growth would surpass anything that you might have accomplished before.

Sign up as a Global Volunteer today!

8 things you must do in Sri Lanka

I’m not sure if you know about it, but Sri Lanka is an island full of beautiful places. If you’re young and passionate about exploring new places and living adventures, you should definitely visit this country.

Besides, Sri Lanka it’s also one of the countries with an easy visa process for Indians.

Here are 8 unique things to do in Sri Lanka.

 

1. Go on an Unforgettable Train Ride

When the journey is more important than the destination, you know you’re in for a special treat.

The train route from Kandy to Ella is one of the most beautiful train rides you will ever experience in your life. Surrounded on both sides by lush green forests, tea plantations, charming hills and the occasional waterfall, this is one train journey that you’ll wish would never end.

The trains in Sri Lanka are very clean and rarely crowded, so you might not even need to book your tickets in advance.

2. Stay in a Tree House

No matter where you are in Sri Lanka, you’re never too far from a lush forest. The incredible greenery of this country is one of the top reasons to go there. To get the full experience of these forests, make sure you spend the night in one of the many tree houses for rent here.

Originally built by villagers to protect them from the many wild animals which roam these forests, the tree houses in Sri Lanka are the perfect way to spend a night close to nature. These tree houses aren’t just comfortable to stay in, but also very affordable, making them one of the top things to do in Sri Lanka

3. Try Surfing on the Beaches

No visit to this country is complete without a day spent at the beach, which is one of the top Sri Lanka tourist places. Being a coastal country, Sri Lanka has some of the best beaches in the world.

Just relaxing by the sea watching the sun go down is a great way to spend your time. But if you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, you can also try your hand at surfing. Arugam Bay, in eastern Sri Lanka, is one of the top surfing destinations in the world!

So make sure you visit during the surfing season in March and April, because this is when the waves are at their strongest.

4. Go on a Bicycle Adventure

The best way to explore the small villages of Sri Lanka is on two wheels. There are many places here which allow you to rent bicycles at a very low price. Just cycling through narrow lanes, dirt paths and patches of greenery can be an incredible way to spend the day.

Don’t bother sticking to a map or a set bicycle route. Going where the road takes you can help you discover more of this beautiful country.

5. Go Dolphin and Whale-Spotting

How often do you get to see the biggest mammal in the world up close?

The ocean surrounding Sri Lanka is teeming with blue whales and dolphins, which can be easily spotted. Every morning, boats leave from places like Galle and Mirissa, in southern Sri Lanka, to popular whale-spotting areas in the sea.

For a very low price, you can buy a seat on one of these boats and see these beautiful underwater creatures for yourself.

6. Hike Your Way to a Waterfall

Sri Lanka is home to hundreds of beautiful waterfalls, set in the middle of green forests. While the popular ones are usually packed with tourists, you can ask the locals for lesser-known falls where you can enjoy your own privacy.

These falls can usually be reached by trekking up hills, many of which aren’t very difficult to reach. Depending on your level of experience, you can find a waterfall to trek your way to so you can fully immerse yourself in its natural beauty.

7. Visit a Tea Plantation

Lipton, a name that is now synonymous with tea, was first started by Sir Thomas Lipton in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka. Even today, decades later, Sri Lanka’s tea plantations remain beautifully green, making them a must-visit for every traveller.

When you explore the tea plantations, don’t forget to also visit the tea factories nearby. If tea makes your world go round, it will be wonderful to see how it’s made from start to finish. The factories even give you a cup of tea by the end of the tour so you can taste the fruits of their labour.

8. Volunteer for a cause you support

Sri Lanka should be at the top of every volunteer’s list.

This incredible island country has some of the most dynamic non-profit organizations, which are bringing about a world of change. Ranging from educating children to preserving marine ecosystems, one can find incredible opportunities to contribute to a better world.

Every minute you spend in this beautiful island will be filled with unforgettable experiences.

 

Have you ever been to Sri Lanka before? Tell us how was it!

If not, what are you waiting for?

If you are eager for an opportunity to experience Sri Lanka, we can help you with that. Check our opportunities for the Global Volunteer Program.

As a volunteer with us, you will not only be able to bring about a positive impact, but also explore new countries and learn about different cultures.

9 Volunteers Who are Making a Difference Across the Globe

“My volunteer experience was one of those things that I can talk about for the remaining days of my life and that wouldn’t be a lot. If someone asks me what is the most selfless thing I have  done for someone, I’ll  say: Well, I volunteered.”

This is what I have to say about my volunteering experience as a teacher in Vietnam.

This is just one of those amazing and powerful stories being written down every year, every day and every second. But there are so many others which are still unheard of. Each of them has created an impact, which consistently shouts through the irresistible smiles of people they have left behind.

All around the world, helping a stranger continues to be the most common way to give.

According to UN’s Annual Volunteering Annual Survey Report of 2016, 57% of volunteers work in international organizations and contribute to the SDGS.

Here are the goals that people most engage with:

My experience in Vietnam was also related to a goal: Quality Education.

Here are some Volunteer Stories that will make you wish to get involved as well:

1. This is Jyoti. She volunteered in Jakarta, Indonesia through AIESEC in June 2017.

She contributed to “Quality Education”, by participating as an English teacher in a local school.

volunteer working in Indonesia

“I think everyone should volunteer at least once in their lifetime. It did a lot for me. I knew I was a part of a very positive change and that was evident each and every day.

I remember when I was leaving, my students kept saying things I had taught them. It was the most beautiful feeling of my life.”

2. Jennifer, from the Netherlands, volunteered in Indonesia as an English Teaching, in January 2017.

She worked with a co-volunteer from Poland, together they impacted kids from different areas in a summer camp.

We had the opportunity to come up with our own ideas for the classes. So we both tried to be as creative as possible. 

testimonial of volunteer who worked in Indonesia

 

We also made Dutch and Indonesian food, played music together, listened to English songs and painted with the students.

This project taught me a lot about how to look at things from a different perspective. I used to have a lot of conversation in English, about all kind of topics.

It also made me think in a more creative way, thinking out of the box by coming up with different kind of lessons everyday. I think this will help me in the future, looking at things through different glasses.

 

 

You can read more about her exchange in the blog post she wrote.

3. Maren, from Germany, volunteered in Sri Lanka, on the Project Earth 1.0, in March 2017.

I noticed that most of the children and the teachers were somehow touched by realizing, that we, the project members, have taken time for them and to think about Sri Lanka.”

volunteer working in Sri Lanka

Maren went to rural schools and taught people about sustainability. At the end of the project, she was thrilled to see her students share what sustainability means to them and how they can take action.  

4. Shril Shah, from the Usha Pravin Gandhi College of Management, Mumbai found it in his AIESEC Internship in Vienna, in January 2017

“There are internships which are slogfests. There are those which are routine, asking you to surrender eight hours a day to polish a seat in an insular office – and then there are those which bring you to the edge of your comfort zone, push you beyond and leave you with unforgettable life lessons.”

volunteer working in Vienna, Austria

“In Vienna,  the students were regular school children who had a good and healthy standard of living. My job was to make them aware of the situation all around the world. I had to make them realize how lucky they and why they should contribute globally to help those who are not that lucky.

Creating awareness about global realities and urging them to take up responsibilities as citizens of the world, was indeed a fulfilling experience.”

You can read more about her experience here – Shrill’s Internship Experience

5. Chloe from Singapore volunteered in Cluj – Napoca, Romania in July 2017.  The Project was called, “ Discover Rural.”

“As part of the project, we volunteers were sent to two different schools located two nearby towns outside of Cluj-Napoca to teach English and impart knowledge on the sustainable development goals to children and young adults, aged 7-18.”

volunteer working in Romania

This was mainly done through the introduction of their respective local cultures and through the use of very simple English, due to the language barrier.

“We planned our class activities such that they would be able to cater to the respective language proficiency of our students.  In order to deliver our lessons to younger children with lower language proficiency, we tried to expose them to the simpler SDGs through simple tasks, such as saving water.”

She writes about her experience in her blog – Milking Cows and Chasing Chickens

6. Haneesa, a student from the National University of Singapore volunteered in Casablanca, Morocco, in 2017.

“Morocco was definitely an unconventional choice for me to do my Global Volunteer project, but throughout it all, I felt that the experience allowed for my personal growth and development.

Living in a completely new environment, where I had no knowledge of the main languages spoken in the country, I felt incredibly out of my comfort zone.


volunteer in Morocco

During six weeks in Morocco, she volunteered in the “Drive Morocco to Quality Education” project. Teaching English to children from age of 5 and even to adults in their mid-40s.

“It was the first time I felt so vital to someone else’s learning experience. I had never been a teacher before and there I was, providing these hopeful souls with the works of the English language.

They had their full trust in me to provide them with whatever they needed to succeed in their academic journey. It was a humbling experience, and the children and teenagers never failed to show me loads of appreciation.”

7. Isabella, from the University of  Melbourne, Australia, volunteered in Vietnam.

She writes about it in her blog – Why Volunteering overseas after my exams was the best decision in my Life !

volunteer with children in Vietnam

“As I was undergoing my exchange, it was easy to see how important quality education was for Vietnam.

Mere conversations with the founders of the non-profit organization I worked for led me to understand that quality English education is imperative for the youth in Vietnam.It opens up doors for better opportunities for them.”

Not only that, we can agree that quality education, in general, is vital to ensure that future generations can help
improve the conditions of their countries.  

“The sheer excitement of the students when we visited their classes to teach English, as well as the fact that so many students opted to take extra English classes outside of school, crystalised the notion that the youth in Vietnam value their educational opportunities.

They are driven by improving their skills. It was a very humbling experience being able to impact these students through teaching English.”

8. Micheal Pham, an undergraduate student and President of Ryerson University, Canada volunteered in Taiwan.

“I chose to go abroad to Taiwan and volunteer because I feel strongly that, in the landscape of today, the key to leadership is to understand the world around you.”

volunteer working in Taiwan

He chose to do AIESEC’s Global Volunteer exchange program, where he would volunteer for 6 weeks at an elementary school called Nan’an, located just north of Kaohsiung City in Taiwan.

“I taught English and created structured lesson plans for topics based on Diversity, Cross-Cultural Sharing, and Climate Change. My exchange focused on working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education (SDG #4) and Climate Action (SDG #13).

I was able to not only be a teacher to the students at the school, but I was a student myself, learning from the culture of Taiwan. I was able to take part in religious and traditional celebrations at school.”

9. Gvatsa, from Georgia, Volunteered in Italy, in a Quality Education Project.

“In a few weeks, I was able to communicate with dozens of students from about 15 to 20 years old, not only as a teacher but also as a friend.

We often did discussions, and it was interesting to understand the position of Italian youth on various issues. Soon I realized that their style of living and thinking was very similar to Georgians.”

volunteer working in Italy

“Besides the students, I had good relations with the teachers too.

It’s hard for anyone to find a common language, given that Barozzi High taught courses such as international relations, international law, marketing and foreign languages. In addition, we often talked about politics, economy, history and art.

They did not know anything about Georgia, the country’s history and culture, the Georgian-Russian relations.”

You can read her blog here – It was difficult to adapt, and more difficult to be independent

These are just a few amazing impactful stories, from people who decided it was time to take the leap.

There are many more out there!

If we give a chance for opportunities, all of us can spend some contributing towards a community which needs it the most.

If you think it’s your to volunteer like they did, you can learn more about our volunteer exchanges here.

To read next: “7 Ways to Volunteer Abroad on a Low Budget“.

Blog by- Khyati Ghai

6 Countries which Have an Easy Visa Process For Indians

When it comes to travelling internationally, we are all secretly pissed by the long documentation and visa processes.

What if I tell you that there are countries where you can not only travel but also volunteer, without the hustle of running around for the documents and without the long empty waiting hours?

And that your next impulse trip can actually be somewhere you would have thought it would take you years to go to? 

Here are the 6 countries you can go to without a visa – or with a visa on arrival.

NEPAL

Our closest neighbour requires no visa for Indias!

And did you know there are direct buses from Delhi to Kathmandu? It is a 31 to 34-hours trip away, but if you’re not up to the challenge, there are trains and flights available too.

Nepal mountains Himalayan

If you are looking for volunteer projects and living a local experience, AIESEC offers a variety of volunteering opportunities. Get experience in the fields of marketing, Entrepreneurship, Content Creation, Animation or contribute to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

VIETNAM

vietnam landscape

Vietnam has the option of E- VISA and Visa on Arrival for Indians, thereby reducing the time and efforts that are usually put in the documentation for a Visa. 

One of Southeast Asia’s most welcoming countries, Vietnam won’t offer you mesmerising scenery and pristine temples, but also geological wonders and mouth-watering food. There is no limitation on the period of the visit through the Visa on arrival or e-visa, and you can visit any city in Vietnam! 

LAOS

Laos, or the lonely planet, is located in South East Asia.

It is all about sunset trecks, fairytale landscape, and cascading waterfalls. The country you would want to escape to if you are looking for an off – the -beaten track country.

laos landscape, vountry with easy visa

Laos provides visa on arrival for Indian Citizens with a maximum fee of 40$. It’s a hustle free process, with just passport and visa on arrival form.

INDONESIA

Visa regulations and requirements for Indians were recently lifted by Indonesia. Indians can now visit Indonesia with an easy and extendable visa on arrival.

girl in bicycle in the air in Indonesia

This beautiful country is filled with nature and has a lot to offer to anyone who travels there.

“I’ve travelled to several countries in this world, and I always think that people from my country (Indonesians) are the nicest people in the world. But I changed my mind after I visited Sri Lanka. All of the people here are very nice and lovely! Wherever I go, all of the people are smiling at me sometimes I even feel tired that I have to smile all the time”

 – Tahlia,  from Indonesia

EGYPT

egypt is a country with easy visa

Egypt offers an e-visa to Indians, for a maximum period of 90 days. Many of our volunteers have previously visited Egypt and explore the richness of diversity, rare landscape and of course, the Nile.

“I stayed and worked there with people from more than over 30 different countries. These were not just people with a usual mindset, but a bunch of young people who believed that they were strong enough to create an impact on the world.

Before I left India, so many people used to tell me that Egypt is not safe and I might face many problems there. On my very first day there I realized that it is a country way more safe than we can think of.

From being stranded to breaking stereotypes. From changing what people think about India and Indians to discovering parts of Egypt that were beautiful beyond imagination. I’ve had it all. Sometimes, it is not just about the work, but all the beautiful experiences that come with being in a challenging environment.”

 – Pratibha,  did her 6 weeks internship in Egypt.

testimonial of girl who worked in Egypt

SRI LANKA

Being one of  India’s closest neighbouring countries, Sri Lanka offers an extendable e- visa facility.

Majority of the globe-trotters will agree that Sri Lanka is a union of all things wild and beautiful. You can find an infinity of wonderful activities there, from whale-spotting to sleeping in a tree house.

girl walking in the train line in Sri Lanka

AIESEC in Sri Lanka works on a wide variety of projects, like life below water, climate change, decent work and economic growth. 

Which of these countries would you like to visit next?

They’re all right there, waiting for you! AIESEC offers volunteer projects and short-term internships in each of these amazing destinations! Find out the opportunity for you.

Blog by- Khyati Ghai