Learning by doing: Transforming your life

What are the origins of the paper folding process we now know as origami? Composed of the Japanese words oru (to fold) and kami (paper), origami has a rich and complex history that spans culture, class and geography.

Paper was first invented in China around 105 A.D., and was brought to Japan by monks in the sixth century. Handmade paper was a luxury item only available to a few, and paper folding in ancient Japan was strictly for ceremonial purposes, often religious in nature.

Europe also have had a tradition of paper folding that dates back to the twelfth century or before, when the Moors brought a tradition of mathematically based folding to Spain. The Spanish further developed paper folding into an artistic practice called papiroflexia or pajarita. By the 1800s, kindergarten-aged children in Europe and Japan were learning paper folding.

In modern usage, the word «origami» is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. All around the world the concept of “origami” have been used for ages in different contexts to conceptualize the meaning of a transformation, in life, business or any other environment. With good reason, right?

Related to “transformation” comes the concept of Experiential Learninglearning by to doing as tool for personal transformation. And not limited to a personal transformation but also to a deep change in the community and the people around the person that experience this kind of non-formal education.

But what’s the real meaning of Experiential Learning? Learning by doing. A formal learning gets meaning when you complemented it with a non-formal learning. Sometimes you really learn a language when you start to speak day by day with native people and live in the country of destination, for example with a Homestay and Language experience program. The same happens with our studies in the Experiencias Internacionales que transforman University, most of the time we fix in our minds the knowledge acquired with a Volunteering or an Internship program, and better if it’s abroad.

An experience of an Internship or a Volunteering abroad is one of the best opportunities for a person to not only develop professional skills but also an opportunity to expand his/her view, make connections and deepen their interpersonal abilities.

Why abroad? A recent study done by Rosetta Stone revealed that over 40% of the companies said that they lost international opportunities due to a lack of internationally cultured employees. At those companies, 80% of executives said that having internationally cultured staff would help their organization operate more efficiently.

Abroad also because in more transforming. There’s a lot of countries in the world for an Experiential Learning abroad. Spain is one of them.

Spain offers a lot of diversity. Living is Spain is a transforming for most foreigners. You can find people from all around the world feeling at home in our country. Plus, the language skills that you acquire you Will bring them back to home. Something that could also benefit any person in any future work environment.

Why Volunteering or doing an Internship in Spain? Here are some of the reasons with more details:

* You’ll learn other processes, ways of working and company cultures.
* You’ll apply the knowledge learned in University in real situations.
* You’ll approach a company and develop a new vision of the professional activity in a different context.
* You’ll strengthen your approach to Spanish culture and the mutual exchange of good practices.
* You’ll improve your knowledge of the Spanish language.

We remember that these are some of the reasons that made Malia Obama to choose Spain as the city to do her internship!

Luckily there are organizations in Spain that tailor-made Volunteering & Internship programs. These Experiential Learnings are offered within the areas of Language, Social Entrepreneurship, Youth Activism, Experiencias Internacionales que transforman Technology, Urban Development, Arts, Culture, Sustainability and Sports. These programs also offer Homestay experience that enables total immersion in the local community and culture.

The best part is that the requisites are very simple. Motivation about developing interpersonal and professional skills is basic to participate, and for an Internship of course is mandatory to be enrolled in the University. Moreover, is important to consider these steps for an Internship:

  1. Be enrolled in the University.
  2. Have clear your professional goals.
  3. Pick the academic & professional area.
  4. Select your desired city.
  5. Choose the length of your Internship.
  6. Evaluate your Spanish level.
  7. Accommodation: Homestay or shared flat?.
  8. Explore types of organizations for your internship.
  9. Consider your ideal work schedule.
  10. Research on the VISA processes.

Whatever choice you make, just make sure is really what you want and goes in line with your values and your aims in life!

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