I’m going on an adventure!
THE EARLY CHAPTERS OF the book authored by the late J.R.R Tolkien, ‘The Hobbit’ portrays a young hobbit (a little man the size of a Dwarf) by the name of Bilbo Baggins who gets the chance to leave his confined, comfortable way of life at the Shire and join the expedition of a band of Dwarves led by the wizard, Gandalf.
The wizard, who extends the invitation, requires his special talent (that is to walk quietly) in order to steal a gem from the Dragon guarding it so that the Dwarves can use it to unite their scattered people.
Hesitant at first, the very notion of a fire-breathing dragon and the possibility of dying kept him from joining the expedition until the following day where owing to his family’s lineage, he decides to join them and excitedly exclaims; “I’m going on an adventure!”
You might wonder how this story relates to the Global Citizen Programme (previously known as Global Community Development Programme) promoted by AIESEC?
Firstly, of course, is the invitation. Bilbo is content with his pleasant, uneventful way of life. He has good food, a comfortable bed and a fireplace to keep him warm. The Dwarves, on the other hand, have lost their home to the dragon, Smaug who coveted their piles of riches and taken refuge in the place they once called home. Having lost everything and with no one to turn to, their people are scattered across the land, trying their best to survive.
In the real world, this is sometimes the reality faced – not by us who are as content as Bilbo – but by countless others in other countries, especially in places like the islands of the Philippines where they have faced the ravages of Typhoon Hagupit, in impoverished places where development is scarce, local governments urgently needing assistance to help in noble initiatives like providing access to education but not having the capacity to do so.
For those who are moved from their contentment to help others, we in AIESEC are giving you this chance to take up our invitation to make a difference.
This is the second step to Bilbo’s personal journey. We present you with the choice to accept or decline this invitation.
When Gandalf extends the invitation, he didn’t coerce Bilbo to making the decision, but provided him with honest expectations and challenges he may face should he accept the invitation to join the expedition.
During his first meeting with the Dwarves that one night at Bilbo’s house, Gandalf explains to Bilbo that he would take the role of a thief to recover a priceless gem called the Arkenstone.
Upon hearing his job description, the Dwarves add the other risks he may encounter throughout the journey that include – but are not limited to – being killed by incineration.
Bilbo faints upon hearing the risk and Gandalf tells Bilbo of the Dwarves’ lineage and their legacy and what compels them to do it.
Similarly, in AIESEC, upon attending our info session or interview, we stress on the benefits and acknowledge the challenges you may face during your trip to fully prepare you for your task.
Furthermore, the decision is up to you and is to be made at your own discretion. We hope that you will consider them and the potential circumstances before accepting.
The final step Bilbo had to make was the decision to accept the invitation.
After a rather long contemplation, Bilbo on the following day decides to accept this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He notes the fact that although all is well in his home, he understands how it feels for the dwarves to not have a roof over their heads and that he feels he should assist in this expedition.
When you decide to accept our invitation either through our info session or booths, we will place every emphasis in helping match you to your desired choice of programmes with those available in other countries and will continue to guide you all the way.
No matter what your choice may be, thank you for this short period of time spent on reading this article and we hope to see you in our sessions to come.
The author is a team member of AIESEC in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) and has the added responsible of external marketing and communication. Elements of Tolkien’s works are used in tandem with the fair use policy. ‘The Hobbit’ is a copyright of Middle-earth Enterprise, New Line Cinema, and its partners. All rights reserved.