Confessions of IS Co-Directors, more like Co-Pilots – A Rollercoaster Ride with Rewards

Confessions of IS Co-Directors, more like Co-Pilots – A Rollercoaster Ride with Rewards

Let’s be honest, being the International Service Co-Director for the Rotaract Club of the University of Colombo Faculty of Arts sounds fancy, right? Pictures of jet-setting, international meetings, and hobnobbing with Rotaract rockstars probably come to mind. Well, buckle up, because while there were some seriously awesome moments, it was more like piloting a rickety plane through a cultural storm, sometimes solo as well!

Our first project, ‘See Well to Be Well’, was a project focused on color vision awareness. This was a joint venture with the Rotaract Club of the University of Colombo, Faculty of Medicine, and the Rotaract Club of Bahauddin Zakariya University, Pakistan. With the honorable guest speaker, optometrist Mr. Amila Chandrasekara from Vision Care Pvt. Ltd., we aimed to shed light on the importance of colour vision and its impact on daily life.

The project was a hit, largely thanks to the enthusiastic participation of all involved. However, coordinating between multiple clubs and a guest speaker who had a packed schedule was no easy feat. Time differences and varying preferences added to the complexity. Yet, seeing the project come to life and witnessing the positive feedback made it all worthwhile.

Next, we embarked on a virtual voyage across cultures with “Cultural Holidays.” We collaborated with four foreign Rotaract clubs and one local club. This project was a whirlwind of cultural exchange and celebration. Each club brought its own unique flair, sharing traditions and stories that highlighted our global diversity. Coordinating with so many clubs meant juggling numerous schedules and communication styles, but it was a joyful learning experience. The project underscored the beauty of our differences and the importance of global unity.

Our third project, ‘Forensic InQuest,’ focused on forensic medicine and the role of medical detectives. Conducted with Anna University of India and featuring the esteemed Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Uwa Wellassa University, this project delved into the fascinating world of crime scene investigation.

Participants were captivated by the insights into forensic techniques and the critical role they play in solving crimes. However, organizing this project was particularly tough due to the foreign club’s sporadic availability. I would like to joke that this was a project where we had to break a few laws to bring the law to light. And having to pull the weight alone at times was stressful, but the outcome was incredibly satisfying and educational for all involved.

Our final project, ‘Voices of Inner Storm,’ aimed to raise awareness about mental health through the powerful medium of poetry, which was an idea brought to light by the Rotaract Club of the University of Colombo, Faculty of Medicine. Therefore, this was a joint effort with them and three foreign clubs.

This project was close to all our hearts. Mental health is a crucial topic, and using poetry to express inner turmoil and struggles was both moving and impactful. The collaboration across different cultures brought richness to the project, highlighting the universal truth that mental health issues are universal. Despite some challenges, the project was a profound success, touching many hearts.

Throughout all these projects, the challenges were numerous. Working with foreign clubs required a deep understanding of and respect for time differences and cultural preferences. The stress levels were high, especially sometimes when having to manage responsibilities alone. However, the connections we built and the successful execution of each project turned the challenges into opportunities. We learned to be flexible, adaptable, and, most importantly, patient.

To the newly appointed International Service Co-Directors, here’s a piece of advice: teamwork and communication are crucial. Do not let one person bear the brunt of the responsibilities. My co-pilot and I, despite the occasional turbulence, kept the lines of communication open. So, work together, support each other, and communicate openly. Balancing responsibilities ensures smoother execution and a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

My tenure as International Service Co-Director has been a rollercoaster ride filled with challenges, learning, and immense satisfaction. It was stressful, yes, but incredibly rewarding. The projects we led not only fostered international understanding but also left a positive impact on our community. Embrace the journey, work as a team, and always aim for collaboration over division. The rewards are boundless.

Just remember to pack your patience, communication skills, and a good sense of humor; yeah, you’ll need them for this plane ride! 

Written by Rtr. Thusini Gajanayake in collaboration with Rtr. Ranosha Disanayake

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