Friday, November 28, 2008

“Gift to Stalin”

I have educated in myself a habit of reading every Sunday the weekly online economical newspapers on what’s happening in my country – same headlines as in any newspaper, magazine in the world with the financial crisis, how it affects the country, how the government is managing current situation not be crashed down in financial crisis much, investing, buying shares of banks etc.

But recently, I have been checking the cultural part of the headlines, and got to know, that one of our Kazakh film director has been produced a new movie “Gift to Stalin, which was officially launched at International Film Fesival in Seoul, in October . Well, not every even year our country is producing the movies for public, the good ones. For now, I haven’t had an opportunity to watch it, but read a lot about the content and feedback of people.

“Set in Kazakhstan in 1949, during a time when minorities were forced to move to central Asia by the former Soviet government. A Jewish kid named Sashka is on a train with his grandfather, being deported with others. His grandfather dies on the train and he has to get off with the body at a small village. He meets an old man, Kasym, and stays with him. But the tragedy is upon the village. Every villager is killed and only Sashka survived.

"The Gift to Stalin" is a story about a little boy Sasha who was sent to Kazakhstan. He was saved from death by an old Kazakh man, Kasym, who took the boy to his home. The film is set in 1949. The title, The Gift to Stalin has two significances. In 1949, Soviet government carried out a nuclear test for anniversary of Stalin’s 70th birthday. Many innocent people fell the victims to the nuclear test. The other significance is about Sashka’s dream - he hoped that if he gives Stalin a gift, he will be able to see his parents again not knowing that they were killed.

I would say that I’m really proud, that the movie is not only showing the realities of my country during Stalin times – nuclear testing which is still affecting the country's ecological situation and people’s health, but also highlights one of the key cultural aspects Kazakh people had for centuries – hospitality, open-mindness… That’s why I’m still admire that having currently more than 120 nationalities in one country – Kazakh, Russians, Jewish, Tatar, Turkish, Koreans, Ukrainian, Germans etc., we live in piece all together and haven’t experienced any cultural misunderstandings or whatever. The key word here is tolerance... 

Looking forward to watch this movie back home…

Kazakhstanis, be proud of yourself and keep the same way… We were born in a unique environment, really.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Fight Culture Shock


Culture shock also has many stages. Each one of these stages can be ongoing or only appear at certain times. We have listed the 5 stages of culture shock below.


Stage 1 (honeymoon stage)


In this first stage, you may feel exhilarated and pleased by all of the new things encountered. The new things you encounter in the country are new and exciting at first, everything is wonderful. Even the most simple things are new and interesting, taking the bus or going to a restaurant. This exhilarating feeling will probably at some point change to the next phase.


Stage 2 (disillusionment stage)


Culture shock will happen gradually, you may encounter some difficulties or simple differences in your daily routine. For example, communication problems such as not being understood, food, attitude, and customs, these things may start to irritate you. At this stage, you may have feelings of discontent, impatience, anger, sadness, and a feeling of incompetence. This happens when you are trying to adapt to a new culture that is very different from your own. The change between your old methods and those of the country is a difficult process and takes time to complete. During the transition period, you may have some strong feelings of dissatisfaction and start to comparetThe country to your new country in an unfavorable way.


Stage 3 (understanding stage)


The third stage is characterized by gaining some understanding of the country's culture, country, and its' people. You will get a new feeling of pleasure and sense of humor may be experienced. You should start to feel more of a certain psychological balance. During this stage you won't feel as lost and should begin to have a feeling of direction. At this point you are more familiar with the environment and have more of a feeling of wanting to belong. 


Stage 4 (integration stage)


The fourth stage of culture shock is the integration stage and is usually experienced if you are staying for a very long period of time in the country. You will probably realize that the country has good and bad things to offer you. This integration is period is characterized by a strong feeling of belonging. You will start to define yourself and begin establishing goals. 


Stage 5 (re-entry stage)


The final stage of culture shock occurs when you return to your home country. This stage of culture shock generally only effects people who have been in the country for a very long period of time. You may find that things are no longer the same in your home country. For example, some of your newly acquired customs are not in use in your own country.

These stages are present at different times and you will have your own way of reacting in each stage. As a result some you may find some stages can be longer and more difficult than others. There are many factors contribute to the duration and effects of culture shock. For example, your state of mental health, personality, previous experiences, socio-economic conditions, familiarity with the language, family, and level of education.


How to Fight Culture Shock Guide


Most people have the ability to positively deal with the difficulties of a new environment and overcome culture shock. So if you are thinking about going home or only spending time with people from your own culture, don't. You have to realize that you are not alone. Many other foreigners have experienced what you feel, talk to your friends or other people in your working place, they can help you feel better. We have also listed a few ways to fight the stress produced by culture shock below:

  • Develop a hobby
  • Don't forget the good things you already have!
  • Remember, there are always resources that you can use
  • Be patient, living in a different country is a process of adaptation to new situations. It is going to take time
  • Learn to be constructive. If you encounter an unfavorable environment, don't put yourself in that position again. Be easy on yourself.
  • Don't try too hard.
  • Learn to include a regular form of physical activity in your routine. This will help combat the sadness and loneliness in a constructive manner. Exercise, swim, take an aerobics class, etc. Get physical exercise and plenty of sleep
  • Relaxation and meditation are proven to be very positive for people who are passing through periods of stress
  • Maintain contact with other foreigners. This will give you a feeling of belonging and you will reduce your feelings of loneliness and alienation
  • Maintain contact with the new culture. Learn the foreign language. This will help you feel less stressed about the language and useful at the same time.
  • Allow yourself to feel sad about the things that you have left behind: your family, your friends etc.
  • Try to accept country and focus your power on getting through the transition.
  • Pay attention to relationships with your friends and colleagues at work. They will serve as support for you in difficult times.
  • Establish simple goals and evaluate your progress. Make a few small decisions and carry them out. This will give you confidence
  • Find ways to live with the things that don't satisfy you 100%.
  • Maintain confidence in yourself. Follow your ambitions and continue your plans for the future.
  • If you feel stressed or sad, look for help. Tell friends that you are sad. Their support will help.
  • Find people to talk to about your feelings and their feelings
  • Make your living arrangements pleasant, and surround yourself with familiar photos, your favorite music, or a memento from home
  • Don’t be afraid to cry, sing, pray or laugh to express your feelings
  • Be happy and excited for this opportunity, and don’t expect things to be the same as your home country.

Foreigners who follow this advice cope well with culture shock. When you survive culture shock, you’ll find that you have a fresh outlook on your own culture and its roots, and will gain new ways of understanding yourself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back on track with the mood

I have yesterday arrived to Rotterdam for AIESEC exchange strategic meeting – Exchange Growth Summit, which is happening every year and mostly the members of AIESEC International global teams are coming here, so all together around 25 people. Some of you know, that I’m part of exchange quality board which states as a guard for delivering quality exchange experiences for your interns and I’m the team leader of the auditing team there. This meeting aims to review the current performance of our organization in terms of achieving the exchange goals we have by 2010 and setting up certain initiatives, strategies towards achieving them and some other things, like reviewing the policies, projects etc.

I came here right after being the facilitator of our regional Baltic conference in Riga, Latvia called ENERGY, where my dear friends from Almaty have been facilitating as well. That was really an amazing time to be spent together after almost half a year of not meeting each other, but communicating online – was cool just to chat, remember the past moments, laugh on the silly jokes, get to know how my friends are doing currently etc.. There I have understood so much, that I’m missing a lot our people’s attitude we have in my country (at least among my friends) being quite positive, energetic, open-minded as I feel that these unique cultural characteristics I started to loose, as I’m started to be very much stressed out of everything I do and very much self-critical to myself, even if there is no reason for that. One of my friends told me even, that I have changed a lot and started to miss my positive approach to the life, being nervous often and in “grey” mood all the time and less smiling. Don’t know, I think I have started to absorb some strange cultural features living in Estonia, and does it mean loosing the personality, I don’t know… I have noticed in myself too, that I have been not enjoying all the things I’m doing now and just doing the stuff and activities automatically and sometimes I’m feeling so much bored, that even don’t care about the result to be achieved. I’m sorry, to be so much negative, but that’s the way it is now… Or I’m just simply tired of the feeling of doing the same things I have already experienced before. And that blocks my entrepreneurship and innovative approach I have been always having. Gosh…

The conference was itself fine, but could be much better delivered still for sure in terms of skills building knowledge, practical tips, motivation for members who are on the leadership positions right now in the organization. And that frustrates me as well, that we didn’t deliver the valuable knowledge, inspiration for that people… But maybe again I’m too critical, as for now I’ve heard that the conference experience was quite positive for them… I don’t know the truth, if it exists at all. The conference topic itself was LEADERSHIP and creating the message, that it is about the attitude itself and leadership potential exists in everyone of us, you just have to develop it by every day hard work. I had to deliver the session, which supposed to be inspirational one for the members and has a role being an opening for the whole leadership track, but don’t know how did I go along with that. I would better deliver smth more on skills, but smth inspirational always takes time from me and energy… But that’s the personal challenge and maybe next time I will put me in developing only inspirational sessions in order to develop that part. Crazy…

Defining Leadership For You

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: leadership)

Till the end of this working week I’m in Netherlands and feeling somehow fine, working on completely different thing I used to for the past months and enjoying that a lot and people – AIESEC friends around me. There is a special season in AIESEC started when many countries release their MC opportunities and everybody asks you – what’s NEXT? For example, right now there are 3 people sitting next to me writing their applications for running for Presidents of AIESEC countries… and just got to know that one of the incredible persons is (thinking of) applying for AIESEC Kazakhstan president position. Amazing how aiesecers are crazy… Well, I have already decided 100% to stop working for AIESEC after my term in Estonia and looking for some stability for a certain period of my life and searching for professional experience. There are moments when you feel that’s time to stop with AIESEC… And here it is coming for me as well.

I have bought tickets back home to spend 2 weeks with my family and friends...

I'm going to Georgia for Central Asia and Caucasus conference in the end of april...

In AIESEC Estonia we release soon the applications for our MC positions... 

It was snowing a lot in Riga and as I've heared in Tallinn too...

I'm missing YOU a lot, even you don't talk to me anymore...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

First snow in Almaty

Today was talking on the phone with my parents to plan my visit back home for New Year *not for Christmas, as kazakh people don't have this holiday, as we are muslims by religion. As they told me, the autumn is already over in Almaty and there is a first snow fell today or maybe even some days ago... 

It's so interesting how I immediately started to picture in my memory, how my city looks like in the first days of snowfall. The first memory was imagining long alleys along the main avenue, when the trees are like bowing to you due to heavy "wet" snow on their branches... It's just an awesome scenery!

Looking forward to meet my parents, relatives and friends very soon...

My warm hugs from cold Tallinn...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Change can happen

I guess this week and more talking about 4th November 2008 is and will be one of the most remarkable times not only in the history of US, but for the whole world itself. We haven’t seen for a long time such a sense of unity among people like this since 9/11 all around the globe, talking and believing about hope and change. We can see that people in US, being the most leading country in the world economy, were awaiting and needed a change in the politics of their country to be transformed to a totally new angle. This transformations they have recognized in one person, the elected President – Barack Obama, the very 1st in the history of US black president and that tells smth as well.

In Obama’s victory speech you could even personally feel how powerful that person is, who can actually not only tell the right things, but empower the whole audience, where everybody can find the connections between his/her own ideas and things they are awaited for a long period of time in their country – he lights up the whole audience!… He speaks by the stories of simple people and being this way very authentic and intelligent… He isn’t afraid of bringing a new era and that’s what the truly leader of the country is.

That was an amazing leadership talk – Barack Obama’s Victory speech in Chicago *by some reasons the video cant be seen here from the blog

Here you may read the comments to Obama’s speech by Bert Decker and here is an article of Nisha Chittal on "The End of Youth Apathy" on what was happening among her college campus students.

We haven’t seen for a long time, how the whole world has been so emotional, supportive and excited in the end. Seems, that was the world’s elections…

"For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tommorow."

~ Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States of America

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Rain drops by Regina Spector

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Good autumn to you…

Time is passing and here I am again with you…

Quite many things happened since my last stories I posted here and especially after my trip to an amazing country like Brazil. As after any kind of trip you go, after coming back there are tons of tasks or things to be sorted out and complete, that making you some times not having any time to breath… As a result of 3 weeks trip and conference itself, it took me almost a month to come back to the normal conditions… well, that’s even more fun for you in the end, but not much fun for your health, which you are forgetting to treat time by time ;) It like in some advertising: “hello, who are you?”, “I’m your immunity and I’m leaving you, as another person is treating me better”…

Right now started one of the most important periods in my term as being responsible for an exchange area – recruitment of young people, whom AIESEC will give an opportunity to explore the world by our internships and at the same time giving to the local companies and organizations opportunity to find the solutions for their business processes by again our program. Well, let’s see how many of my effort, which were put into ensuring the main processes will work to bring the most results, will pump up with the goals, we hit to be achieved. At the same time things are happening during the day time, makes you feel not so much ambitious anymore, as you are always working with the young people, who actually bringing the results, but at the same time who always learn and that’s mainly one of the key things – people learn on their mistakes, develop themselves and becoming smarter, than they were before. But for the person, who is coming from another country this logic might not work… Especially if you have already passed that part in your life and now searching for something in your experience, which will bring a value to the next periods of your career, development or whatever… Now I’m feeling that I started to miss that part…

Quite for a long period of time, I’m feeling that nothing gets me feel excited and experience new things. Seems that we have already had it “some day ago”… Maybe that’s only a routine process, which makes you feel down… I’m feeling that the things I’m doing now is just same as I was doing previous years, but sure the environment has changed… that feeling of frustration is already for a month and I see that’s not right… Just same AIESEC every day… 

How often do you feel that smth you wanted to get – like buying a new cloth, book recommended to be read or let’s say fruit, in the reality it isn’t smth you were expecting too? Of course, life is about taking risks, “tasting things for probation” and learning, but isn’t that also unfair, that you feel wasting your time and resources…  

I was having this thought coming to me once I was standing in the bus stop when it was raining and brought an example of apple, as being my favorite fruit. I have shared some of that thoughts with certain people already…

You wanna buy a tasty-looking apple in the shop, on the way already expecting its taste and after getting it, you see that it’s actually worm-eaten. And your expectations are broken… Different people are acting differently… One of them throw it away and get buy a pear, others – cut the worm-eaten parts and enjoy the rest of an apple, third part of people are eating whole apple, just because they paid for it; some individuals will use it to bake apple-roll or making a fruit compote… Basically, you can always do something with that and in the end of the day what matters – you are happy or still not… 

That’s again about choices you take and values you get out of it… But that’s still a question for me…

Enjoy eating your apples…