Tomás Sabat’s AIESEC experience in Southern China
By Carolina Are
Tomás, the 21-year-old AIESEC City Business Development Vice President, spent his summer in the Hunan province of Southern China to interact with the students, giving them an insight on how western people live and think. The cultural exchange saw the interaction between a group of 15 Chinese and 15 western students.
Tomás said: “During this experience I learnt more about myself.” He says the environment he found himself in was very challenging: No hot water, no washing machines, no western toilets. The food was not always up to western hygienic standards and, despite a temperature going over 35 degrees, there was no air conditioning.
For Tomás, interacting with people that made the experience worthwhile. He says spending time with Chinese students shows how their culture differs from the western one. “However, at the end of the day you realise they are similar to us and you are able to enjoy their company very much,” he adds.
Tomás’s time in China was not just hard work: It was also good fun. He partied with 100 Chinese people in a filled train ride from North to South China and did karaoke for KTV (a famous Chinese karaoke chain) for free with his fellow Exchange Participants. He says: “We got a whole room to ourselves with free drinks and food for the whole night just because the girls who worked there wanted us to take a picture with them!”
Tomás was born in Santiago de Chile, where he lived until 2000 before moving to the Netherlands. He has been raised both in Spanish and Dutch. He has been playing the piano since he was ten years old and used to play competitive football. The VP then moved to London in 2010 to study International Politics at City University. Here, he developed a strong interest in the “rise” of the East and the alleged “decline” of the West. This year he will write his dissertation on the topic while considering his options after graduation.