Not having enough experience made her think twice before joining the Creating Change 2013 exchange. She even rejected an invite by an old friend of hers to take part in it. She hesitated. She felt uncomfortable and kind of insecure about joining, what she believed was a competitive exchange. “What if participants turn to be more intellectual with much a stronger civil society experience than her?” she said to herself. Other harsh thoughts went through her mind which made her reject a life time opportunity. Despite this, having strong determination and seeking change within herself made a serious turning point in her final decision.
This is what happened to Marika, a 20 years old half Italian and half Japanese girl born and raised in Bergamo, a city about 25 miles northeast of Milan in Italy. Marika had education at C. Caniana School in Bermago, where she studied Graphic Design. She was encouraged by her secondary school teachers to study art. They discovered early her hidden talent in creativity and art. This eventually shaped her decision in studying Graphic Design for five years.
She felt like she was a small fish in a big pond. This is what Marika said to me when I asked how she felt about the idea of joining the Malta project. According to Mariko, The story began when Hi-Seung ( paulo ) asked her to take part. Paulo is an old friend of Marika. He played an important role in making her decision in joining the Youth UPF Italy. He believed in her. But she felt completely the opposite about herself. She rejected Paulo’s invite to the exchange at first.
Being a participant at the Creating Change 2013 exchange was a reflection of Marika’s hard work within the past few years. Marika got involved in several voluntary activities around the world. She had an opportunity to take part in a project in Albania, which was about developing young people’s character. She also was involved in serving community projects in Latvia, focusing on helping the elderly, cleaning the environment and building playgrounds for children. These experiences have strongly developed her teamwork and communication skills as well as she learnt a lot about different cultures.