Tell Me a Story!

Come on, tell me a story!

  As children, we made such requests and learned by listening to fairy tales before bed, hearing our parents talk about their life through anecdotes, and memorizing songs with picturesque lyrics.

  The purpose of writing is not to write – it’s to let out what’s inside of you. Similarly, the purpose of storytelling is not to brag about oneself but rather it’s to make you feel what the narrator feels.

  AIESEC Story Echange Aborad copy

  Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.

  Stories are all around us. They are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. Our appetite for stories is a reflection of the basic human need to understand patterns of life — not merely as an intellectual exercise but as a personal, emotional experience. Stories are the way to reach out to people and emotionally connect. The amount of power a storyteller wields is enormous – one can take you to the heights of happiness or the depths of sadness with his story.

  One such story that is about a shy teenager who used to spend most of his time reading books in his fresher year at university. Everything seemed mundane for him – the classes, the assignments, the exams, the social obligations in college. He was bored of it. He was bored, until one day, a friend of his came up to him and told him that he has a chance to do something crazy, to do something memorable that 90% of the university students haven’t done – to go on an AIESEC exchange.

  AIESEC Abroad

  A few months later, he was on his flight to a country he’d never been to before, meeting people he never thought he’d meet and living moments that never thought he’d live. It all seemed too unreal for him. But he did live it, for six weeks – the time of his life he never wanted to end.When he came back to his country after the exchange, something changed in him that he wanted others to know – something that got him out of his shell. It was at that moment that he decided to be a storyteller.

  He was given the privilege to educate a bunch of strangers with ages ranging from 5 year old kids to 20 during his 6 weeks of exchange in Damietta, Egypt. He was going to teach them English. It was a challenge for him.

  How was he, a person who had never spoken in front of a large group of people, going to teach something so fundamental and essential for education, in a matter of six weeks? – This was his thought as he closed his eyes and waited for dawn to breakthrough.

  AIESEC Exchange Volunteer Abroad

  He realized that the only way he was going to communicate with them was not by words but with actions (and of course Google Translate). Thus, he started chalking out a plan on various engaging activities for the classroom. One of the most memorable moments in the classroom was when the students were told to research on countries and later enact or describe things and the others would guess. He was surprised that the country they picked was his own home country because they’ve heard stories about it. Stories that made them curious to know more.

  Being put in the position of something that’s going to shape their future, he knew that he could make no mistakes and made me realize how important it is to be a leader and to guide them. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was English learnt so soon. He was content with the fact that he had planted the seed of learning and curiosity in them. After coming back to India he realised that he had seen more of Egypt in the classroom than by traveling the country. It was an invaluable lesson to me that the people embody the country and not the cities.

  AIESEC Volunteering

  What his exchange had achieved was that it changed an introvert who was afraid of speaking to an individual who can speak to inspire others to speak in front of large crowds.

  This was his story. This was my story.

  So, go on now, tell me a story! Or try and write one with AIESEC, as I did!

  – written by Jai, exchange participant through the Global Volunteer Program