My GESS journey from a prosperous Asian metropolis to the thriving heart of Bavaria
Who am I? Who do I want to become? How can I grow and develop?
This is the starter pack of questions all youngsters have ever asked themselves standing on the threshold of a new life. Today’s rapidly developing world has totally expanded the horizon of opportunities for a younger generation, but simultaneously brought up several self-awareness issues that hinder them from understanding what do they really want to do in life and what should be their first step to follow their genuine desire.
No matter how hard I tried to avoid uncertainty in my life, at one point of time these jim-jams feeling swept over me just like any other representative of our generation. “Don’t panic”- I kept saying to myself while making important decisions regarding my future and recklessly sailed the eponymous boat called “The Fate” before finding out that I was its captain capable of choosing the direction and the route over the sea of life.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Indeed, service is a fulfilling activity that can help to see that “you” are not defined by an identity, but by ability, sympathy, connection, and solidarity that altogether reflect the most essential purpose of human beings – to be virtuous. Like a guiding star, this quote conveyed me straight up to the Global Entrepreneurship Summer School that I discovered together with the concept of social entrepreneurship back in 2017. Leaving all my fears and uncertainties behind, I applied for the GESS program in Shanghai, in a completely unfamiliar country on the other side of the world that later turned out to be one of the best highlights of my life.
In GESS Shanghai journey as a participant, I learned more than I could only expect from a 7-day long program. It taught me how crucial is it to set goals, explore every opportunity around me, learn from failures, clearly define strengths and weaknesses to improve yourself and achieve a long-desired success. It was truly fascinating to experience a huge progression in self-realization in such a small period by just doing something that I was truly passionate about. Since then, GESS did not exist for me solely as a global entrepreneurial program, but most importantly as a tremendous network of hundreds of other highly motivated people across the world that share the same vision and goal to make the world a better place.
Why did I apply to GESS second time having entered the alumni network already? The answer lays in the same Gandhi’s quote, the same motivation. It was a great opportunity to portray virtuousness in a slightly different way having another role and responsibilities. This time as an alumna volunteer I tried to do my best to contribute in organizational process, make the experience of GESS 2018 for the new participants as notable as possible, at the same time enlarge my own knowledge and wind up new skills. And guess what… The entire program opened to me from a completely another perspective. I got a chance to see the backstage, where flurried actors are running around the props ready to perform in all their glory in front of the spellbound audience.
Why did I choose Munich? I’ve always been astonished by the German culture and exploring it right in the heart of Bavaria during the world’s famous Oktoberfest was totally worth trying. When all streets turned into the non-stop flow of people wearing traditional Bavarian “dirndl dresses” and “lederhosen”, the city acquires a completely new look. The way how GESS managed to integrate the biggest cultural event in the program still amazes me and I prominently recall the setting of one of the Wiesn tents, where the participants had an expert session facing the consumption issues right at the epicentre of the celebration… That was a literal representation of what is meant by combining the pleasant with the useful!
Drawing a parallel to the previous year’s program in Shanghai, I can also highlight how enthralling it was to see a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in one of the start-up coffee shops in the Pudong districts and carry a fieldwork in an extensive Chinese Yu garden while working on the project. The cultural aspect was simply in every single detail of the program determining learning and teaching methods as well. The two completely unlike GESS weeks are truly a zest of the global program and I am extremely glad to have experienced both!
How diverse can one program be in two completely different locations! How differently can the global issue be approached! But how alike is the young generation in their pursuit towards the best solution to a problem, towards finding their true purpose… Thank you GESS!