I think all PULSE volunteers would have the same feeling as me: woo, these 6 months passed so fast! And can’t believe it’s towards the end of our assignment!
When my friends asked me, what was the most unforgettable thing in these 6 months, I was like… blank in my mind. So many things happened and there were so many unforgettable experiences. The motorbike tour to mountainous areas, the project in field office, the friendly and helpful colleagues, the crazy singing and drinking night with tourists from other parts of the world, the local train experience……there are so many so many things that I guess I need some time to sit down, flash back, digest and absorb.
When my friends asked me, what was my biggest challenge in these 6 months, I would say it’s self affirmation. As I don’t speak Vietnamese, my colleagues have done so much extra work: e.g. translating all the documents in English, translating into Vietnamese to audience when I presented the findings, explaining to me on so many backgrounds and Vietnamese practices……To be honest, I have questioned about “am I really helping them or am I the one who needs help?” for quite a while. And how to overcome this challenge is to reassure myself that I have solid marketing expertise and experience which I can definitely help them (which is also why the PULSE team placed me with this assignment), and language is only a short-term barrier. The self affirmation barrier indeed pushes me harder and I worked even harder to help them back given they have helped me so much.
I am so blessed to be given the chances to use my expertise and help people in need. It is so rewarding and fulfilling every time when you know you are doing something good to the community. Also, I keep reminding myself to have an open mind, open heart and open ears to every person and things that I come across in this new environment. “Why not?” become one of the most commonly used phrases since I am here, instead of “Why?” which I used very often in Hong Kong. This opens up lots of horizons and new learning opportunities. I always go out to talk to different people, explore new places, and see new things. Each person I met has something amazing to offer. Sometimes I do feel nervous and worried. But I have come across with so many unplanned things and turn out to be very good which taught me not to worry much and just go with the flow when chances come. I am still far from perfect, but I am sure I am a better from 6 months ago. And I am sure I will be able to bring this positive energy to my friends and my colleagues in Hong Kong, and continue my “life impacts life” journey.