FUNG Chi Kit Ian Ryan

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It was a learning experience that distinct from working with classmates on projects at university.

The healthcare sector calls for well-trained professionals not only with the right qualifications and commitment but also a high level of empathy for the individuals they are looking after. This combination of qualities helps those in the sector give their best in an often highly stressful work environment. To gain relevant experience, Fung Chi Kit was therefore assigned, through AIESEC, to a volunteer role in a rehabilitation centre for youngsters with learning difficulties and special needs in Izmit (Kocaeli), Turkey.

“Although we were just volunteers, we tried our best to do high-quality work and make a contribution during our six-week internship,” Fung says. “I discovered that love is selfless and that, with a show of genuine care and dedication, you can really touch other people. The patients and students we looked after in the centre reciprocated by showing their gratitude.”

Collaborating with volunteers from other countries, Fung designed and led educational workshops with a cultural flavour as part of the daily activities for the patients. It took a while for the volunteer team to find the best way of working together, but they managed to overcome any difficulties. “It was a learning experience quite distinct from working with classmates on projects at university,” Fung says. “As the group of volunteers hailed from all over the world, it took some time to get an understanding of one another’s backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses. But we have soon developed good teamwork and that meant we could also hone other soft skills. For example, we learned how to negotiate and make compromises when necessary. Since we had shared goals, it all worked out nicely in the end.”

 

When interacting with patients at the centre, Fung often had to find a way to communicate before he could make use of his healthcare knowledge. “Many of the patients had come from North Africa and could only speak Arabic, so there was a language barrier,” He says. “So before approaching someone, I would always observe them first and tried my best to get an understanding of each individual’s cultural background and temperament by noticing their gestures and facial expressions. I could then offer them guidance in the workshops by applying professional healthcare techniques and skills.”    

 

“The internship has also developed my cultural sensitivity,” he adds. “For instance, I learned why some volunteers would fast for religious reasons. And staying with a host family in Turkey gave me a full cultural immersion in the local lifestyle and customs.”