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I spent last evening with Kate! Only 2 months ago Kate and I, and the rest of our AIESEC International team had been living together in Rotterdam, racing to make sure we deliver our promise to AIESEC and the world. From our storybook life together of the corner cafe, late night movies, “evening consumption”, House of Action trips, Cantinero and the African restaurant to a nostalgic conversation between 2 of the 22 in my black, white and blue room in the Maximum City of India, Mumbai. Such a short time and our lives had taken whole new turns!

For all of us on the team the last few months have been challenging to say the least. I have dealt with some of the biggest changes in my life these days. Surprisingly it has felt like the most natural thing in the world.

India & the Netherlands – I thought leaving India and moving to the Netherlands had been tough, turned out that moving back to India was as tough. Reverse culture shock is a term I have heard repeatedly through my 6 years in AIESEC, but I never really understood it until now. It isn’t so much about the “culture shock”, I absolutely love my country and my culture. It’s more about how people who embody that culture have changed, contradicting my expectations. I left Hyderabad, Mumbai and India on June 2, 2008 assuming that I would come back to the same people and life in July 2009. In that short period of time everything changed – the people, situations, habits, and my outlook to life. Accepting, compromising and adjusting to the new life in my old India has been harder than I would have imagined.

AIESEC, the end – AIESEC was never work for me. It was what I loved doing, where I found my inspiration and really, just a way of life. Living with 22 people from 17 countries for a year and achieving together, postcards and things from more than 25 countries lying around my room, learning how to make Greek salad from a Greek best friend, meeting business leaders in India and around the world – these things became so natural. While living this life I did realize how wonderful it was, but not as much as I do after leaving this life behind. However, moving out of AIESEC leadership has not been as hard-hitting as I thought it would be. The only thing I really miss is the people – AIESEC had always been about the people, the feeling of community and the buzz of activity; all the more in the last one year on AIESEC International. Whatever you do in AIESEC , there is always a group of like-minded fun people to work and chill with. Although I don’t work or live with these people anymore, I know that I have good friends and future colleagues doing awesome things around the world!

Cactus Communications, the beginning – After being on AIESEC International and managing a function for a global organization working in 100+ countries with 40,000 members, its strange to be standing at the foot of the ladder again. I’m a newie at a company called Cactus Communications, started by an AIESEC India alumnus. I work as part of the marketing team at Editage which is a subsidiary of Cactus. Editage offers end to end publishing, editing and writing solutions in the academic, business and personal fields. My job at Cactus is to expand their business to the English and Spanish speaking markets using online marketing and communication. I’m learning so many new things! Title tags, meta descriptions, turn around times, editing, SEO and analytics, and much more. It’s refreshing to explore new concepts while being able to apply my learning in AIESEC and see possibilities for growth. The first week of work was slow, but it seems to be picking up now. We are a day away from launching the new version of our English website, and I’m excited! I hope to be able to contribute my best, apply some of my ideas and create a strong brand for Editage in the English speaking markets.

One step at a time, I have walked and walked. But one step at a time, there’s a long and happy way to go. I hope that each step brings more excitement, meaning and growth than the previous one, for you and for me!

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