Chris's Years Overseas

Chris Dee graduated from Yale University with BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Involved in CAMP since its inception, Chris headed CAMP's Business Development and Marketing divisions during the early days. He laid much of groundwork for CAMP's reach today and is a all-around, genuine boss! Read all about what he has to say about the rewards of studying abroad below!

Having now graduated, what do you think is the most important take-away from having attended your school/studying abroad?

A deeper understand of what it means to be a good and smart person -- From such diverse people I've met at Yale, I learned that "goodness" and "smartness" are not confined to a single set of rules stipulated by culture or social norms. I've also learned that there is much growing to do by ways of thinking well, of thinking with more humility and critical consideration, and of submitting my own assumptions to questioning.

What is your best memory in the time you spent studying abroad? What did you love most?

Two things:

  1. We did a giant fundraiser for Haiyan victims, and the Filipino club (KASAMA) came together in such a profound and moving way. Each member carried their own weight and more, and the 4am emails would be answered at 4:05am. Moreover, the whole Yale community supported our country. The first thing that popped up on yale.edu was the Philippine flag (I have a screenshot somewhere). In ten days we raised about a million pesos.
  2. The day before the final day of Commencement (three days of graduation festivities), my barkada sat around in a circle in open air at midnight with beers and blankets. We toasted to each other, shared memories of first meeting each other, and reflected on friendship, nostalgia, the future, and love. Lots of tears. We ended at like 6am and baaaarely made it to graduation.

Would you recommend studying abroad? Why or why not?

Yes because it expands your mind. You learn that there is still so much to know, that there are so many ways to be a person, that ideas are worth sharing. You learn many languages (I use "languages" metaphorically)-- different ways to communicate with people, through words, arts, and shared experiences.

Is there anything that you wish someone had told you to consider in choosing the right school for you? In other words, was there any defining characteristic of your school that you hadn't known about coming in, but which had a defining impact in your experience there?

This I sort of knew but I'd like the kids to know: choose a school because of the people, not the name. The people make the experiences. Most of the academics will be the same wherever you go. But the peers and friends you find, the professors whose wisdom you try to diffuse, and those late night conversations, really make your college experience. (Yale specific)

That and research as much as you can before you decide which clubs to do, which labs to work in, which classes to take. Make friends with upperclasspeople! They will show you the ropes, so you can take their advice and avoid their mistakes. Gather as much data as you can before you decide!! (Any school, really)

What did you feel you were best prepared for when it came to studying abroad? What did you feel you could've been better prepared for?

Best prepared for: study habits.
Least prepared for: openness. And winter.

Best piece of advice you could give an incoming freshman? Or a student considering college abroad?

Work your butt off, it's worth it. Once you're there, be open to the experiences that life throws at you. And not all learning happens in the classroom.

Other pieces of wisdom?

In relation to the previous question, here's a poem I love by Mihai Eminescu:

Vainly In Those Dusty Classrooms... (Mihai Eminescu)
Vainly in those dusty classrooms
And throughout moth-eaten volumes
Do you strive to find life's beauty
And fulfill its inmost duty, 
And in vain on greasy pages
Do you seek the gist of sages, 
Nor with their contorted wording
Can you change the world's unfolding. 
No amount of bookish learning
Has the answers to your yearning, 
So live life until you pass, 
All that suffering amass, 
And you'll hear the growing grass. 

(1879) 

(Translated by Paul Abucean)

Kimi’s Years Overseas

Kimi Rodriguez graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi with a BA in Political Science with concentrations in Economics and Mediterranean History. She’s played an integral part in CAMP’s founding and continues to be an amazing mentor for the organization and its members. Being the incredible human being that she is, we asked her what studying abroad has done for her!

Having now graduated, what do you think is the most important take-away from having attended your school/studying abroad?

My most important take away from having attended NYU Abu Dhabi is that when it comes down to the core of it, people from all over the world are more similar than they are different. NYU Abu Dhabi is a very diverse university; in each class of roughly 150 people (at least for the first four classes), there are over 60 countries represented. Coming from a comparably homogenous environment, the sudden exposure to so many cultures and ways of thinking was at first shocking, then life changing. My experience at NYUAD not only made me more aware and open-minded, but also more empathetic and willing to challenge my own convictions.

What is your best memory in the time you spent studying abroad? What did you love most?

Travel is a core component of the NYUAD experience. In my four years, I was able to visit, live and study in 16 different countries – many of those as part of my academic program. Prior to university, I never saw myself as a traveler, and even now I wouldn’t say that traveling is something I’m passionate about. However, being in such a geographically strategic location gave me ample opportunity me to visit countries I never even thought I wanted to see. Traveling was such an unexpected surprise for me, and I loved every minute of it.

Would you recommend studying abroad? Why or why not?

Yes, I would. Leaving home is mentally and emotionally challenging, but it is an experience that will change how you see the world and how you see yourself. I grew up in college, and I can’t imagine myself today without the experiences (both positive and negative) I’ve had. However, I also know that studying abroad isn’t for everyone. It is a choice that everyone must consider very carefully.

Is there anything that you wish someone had told you to consider in choosing the right school for you? In other words, was there any defining characteristic of your school that you hadn’t known about coming in, but which had a defining impact in your experience there?

Although I knew that I would be entering a very small community, I didn’t know beforehand how defining this would be. During my first year, there were only 300 students in the school – this made my college experience differ very greatly from those of my peers’ who were studying in schools with as many as 10,000 people. It worked well for me, but it didn’t work well for everyone. It’s important to consider the kind of environment you’re entering: don’t just think about the academics and the extra curricular opportunities, but also think about the size and demographic of the university community.

What did you feel you were best prepared for when it came to studying abroad? What did you feel you could’ve been better prepared for?

The International Baccalaureate really prepared me for my freshman year academics. The rigor of the IB program helped me breeze through long writing assignments and a demanding schedule. I would say I could’ve been better prepared for homesickness, but I don’t think anything can really prepare you for that!

Best piece of advice you could give an incoming freshman? Or a student considering college abroad?

Research the universities you’re applying to well, and have fun! Balance your time with academics, activities, and friends, and make the most of every year. It’s a roller coaster of a ride that will go by faster than you think :)

If this interview wasn’t enough to show you how awesome Kimi is, just let her graduating speech blow you away.

An interview with our early decision campers

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Hey Campers! How’s your semester going? We hope it’s going well! 

As we come to the close of application season, we decided to have an interview with this year’s CAMP mentees - (Beatriz Go, Alyssa Yu and Patricia Ong) who got accepted for Early Decision; how they chose, found out and what they plan to do with all that time before their first semester starts!

When is ED/EA right for you? (How did you choose ED/EA)

ALYSSA:

In my case, NYUAD was my dream school and since I was taking a gap year, I had a lot of time on my hands to work on my application, with the help of Kimi, my lovely mentor. I think you should definitely go for ED/EA if you’ve done thorough research on different schools and decided on one that you could really see yourself in for the next four years. If you have this and if you’ve planned out early enough to meet all the requirements (essays, documents, standardized tests et al) by November, then EA/ED would be a good choice as it would show that you’re really interested in the school. For most colleges, the acceptance rate is higher for ED/EA rounds as opposed to RD rounds and chances of getting accepted are slightly higher since the applicant pool is smaller. The chance of having that clarity regarding where you’ll be spending the next 4 years come Christmas is also an added bonus.

BEATRIZ:

ED/EA is right for you when you’ve gone to the effort to do the necessary requirements (SATs, essays, ask for recommendations) before most others students (aka before November 1), are satisfied with your results by then, and have narrowed the ED/EA school as a top choice school for you. For ED, this is an even tougher decision I think. You have to be sure it is the number 1 choice for you because once accepted, this is a binding agreement. You have to do a lot of research (website, books, current students, alumni) to see to it that you don’t look back and say… “what if”.

PATRICIA:

It took me quite some time to decide on whether I should apply early action, early decision, or regular decision to certain schools. There were a lot of factors to consider while making a decision. Such factors include the schools’ availability of my course of study, proper research on institutions, and getting a good feel of the campuses. I had a lot of schools in mind, but after a while, I decided that it would be best for me to apply to St. John’s University on early action. Early action is for those who want to keep their options open and at the same time be secured of admission to a school of their choice while early decision is for those who are absolutely committed and dedicated to the school they’re applying to.

2. How did you choose the right school? (We know you can only apply to one with this application)

ALYSSA:

Not going to lie, I’m highly HIGHLY indecisive so during freshman year I was quite overwhelmed by all the different possibilities—which continent I even wanted to go to was  unclear (I was considering N. America, Europe, Asia, & Australia…see what I mean about being indecisive?). I found going to different university forums & visits were helpful in helping me narrow down the schools that would be the "best fit” for me. Ultimately, it came down to a school with a strong academic program that would allow me to interact with professors and students that were highly engaged and would also offer the opportunities for internships and travel, yet one that would not burn a hole in my parents’ pockets. NYUAD ticked off all those boxes and more so that’s how I came to my decision. Research is key, so I highly recommend starting early, especially if you’re indecisive like I am.

BEATRIZ:

Wharton’s always been the one for me. In terms of academics - it has the best undergraduate business program! It’s not just that though, you also have to think about the environment you’re putting yourself into. I decided I wanted people who would push me to do my best and I think Penn is really known for that kind of culture. It’s different for each school - some might have more relaxed environments than others, and I think in the end, you have to know which combination you’d ideally fit in.

PATRICIA:

I had a lot of great schools in mind, but I had to narrow my list down to a certain criteria. First and foremost, I chose a school which had my course of study which was economics. Second, I chose a selective school that gave top notch education. Third, I chose a school that is near my house in New York!

3. What are your (unique) experiences/reactions to having such a long time finding out when you got in and when you actually begin?

ALYSSA:

As I said previously, I’m taking a gap year so I’m definitely looking forward to the 7 month long “interlude”  I have left between high school & college. After graduating & prior to getting accepted to NYUAD, I did a bit of charity work & studied Arabic so I want to continue that but also I’m looking forward to sleeping without having to set an alarm! I maaay have also made a list the other day of “things I want to do before college” which include learning how to cook & drive, developing my own photos, binge watching/ reading on the huge backlog I have of movies/ tv shows/ books, and possibly possibly working out though that one’s still up for discussion. Additionally I signed up for a couple of courses on Coursera including “The Music of the Rolling Stones 1962-1974” by the University of Rochester so I’d say it’s gonna be a good 7 months ahead.

PATRICIA:

In the beginning, I thought applying to colleges would be such a complicated process. It involved a lot of paper work, writing essays, and preparing for a lot of tests to possibly gain admission. But with the help of CAMP, I realized it wasn’t so bad after all. I found it exciting to be preparing for exams, writing essays, submitting applications, and eventually getting decisions from schools. A unique experience of mine would be interview day for St. John’s University. I remember it was a normal Wednesday and I was in Economics class when I was called to the guidance office of my school. There, the admissions counselor of St. John’s University was ready to interview students and give instant decisions. I was really nervous, because it was my very first college interview and I was totally caught off guard from randomly being pulled out of class. But when my turn came, it went better than expected. The admissions director carefully reviewed my application, then I got accepted to the college. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but it definitely is something that I’ll always remember.

Pre-college Shopping List (the Kuripot Version)

Hey there CAMPers! Congrats on all your acceptances! My name’s Marianna, I’m a rising senior at Wesleyan University, and I am unashamed to say that I’ve always been a cheapskate. Before I left for college, I was told I’d be able to buy basically everything I needed there in the US. While that was (and is) true, I definitely ended up paying more than I needed to, and I had a smaller selection from which to choose on top of that.

I hope to prevent the same from happening to you, so for the sake of money and convenience, here’s a list of stuff that I wish I had known to buy in Manila before I left for the US. Most items on this list can easily be found in big malls with department stores like SM or Landmark (in fact, that’s where I suggest you look first). And all of these things should be able to fit in your suitcases without adding much weight.

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(photo courtesy of target.com)



*** Keep in mind that I go to a small college in a small town, kind of in the middle of nowhere, on the East Coast. The best thing you can and should do is get in touch with someone who actually goes to your college, preferably someone from the Philippines, and ask them for more specific advice about what and what not to bring. :)

Stuff to Buy in the Philippines:

1. Pillow cases (standard size)
- There will be a lot more variety in department stores in Manila. Or, better yet, bring over your favorite pillow cases from home.
- Usually, the Twin XL bed sheet set you’ll buy will already come with one pillowcase. But many people buy a set of two pillows so you’ll need at least one more. Plus it’s nice to have extras.

2. Eye mask and ear plugs
- If you’re the type who can have trouble sleeping. Also handy on the plane.

3. A laptop sleeve/case if you don’t have one yet
- I found mine in Landmark for Php150 and so many people here have asked where I got it, haha.

4. Two or three mesh laundry bags for your underwear/delicates
- You can find these anywhere, but I particularly like the ones from Saizen! They’re a third of the price of the ones in Bed Bath & Beyond, and better quality too. Most people don’t need that many (I own 3).

5. Bath/skin/nail care
- You can find an incredible variety of shampoo, soap, moisturizer, lotion, etc. in the US so don’t worry about the products. I’m talking tools: A loofah, nose strips, all your nail stuff (nail clipper, filer, buffer, etc.) – tons cheaper back home.

6. Travel kit with empty bottles/little jars
- Preferably with a transparent case/bag, and TSA-compliant bottle sizes. Comes in handy when you travel around, which many of you will during breaks.

7. School supplies
- At my college, laptops are pretty popular for note-taking, but many people still use notebooks, and some professors actually don’t allow laptops. So if you’re particular about having nice school supplies, and if you can make space in your suitcase for them, I suggest you do – even for just a couple of notebooks, pens, Post-Its, etc. National Bookstore’s quality and its wide selection, for the price, is absolutely superior to that of Staples.

8. Cold weather stuff, if your college is in a cold place
- I know it seems counterintuitive to buy winter wear in a tropical country… but Manila’s so freaking hot all the time so no one buys winter stuff! It is worth at least checking out some sales (and then compare prices online if you like). Don’t buy a lot, just a few things to get you started.
- I personally recommend hitting up all the ukay-ukay stores for great deals (just check that it’s a decent brand & that it’s made of down or a good down alternative). It is possible to find good quality there, you just have to be persistent in your hunt. I got my own practically brand-new SUPER warm & reliable winter jacket for Php650 (vs Php5,000+) in an ukay-ukay in Tagaytay. If you bring it to the US and find it isn’t perfectly warm enough, oh well, it was cheap and you’ll have a back-up.

~~

Side note that doesn’t belong anywhere else on this list:

If you’re planning on printing out a WHOLE BUNCH of photos to decorate the walls of your dorm room (which you should totally do), it’s way cheaper & more convenient to do it online. Snapfish.com is my go-to, you just upload the photos and they print and deliver them straight to you. :)

Marianna Ilagan graduated from Saint Pedro Poveda College in 2011. She now attends Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT as part of the class of 2015.

Endings Are The Best Part

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Linet Dumag’s second post:

My second and last month in my internship was more interesting. I was assigned to more tasks. They were time consuming but bearable. Those include decoding calling cards into the mailing list, stamping the back of our business cards, making a costumer comment/ suggestion sheet, modeling for our flyers (I’m at the back!) and being an extra for a video.

The mailing list serves as a continuation of what the intern last year of Bambike did. It was in an excel document I started at 210 and ended exactly at 700. (No exaggeration intended it was that many) Making the costumer comment/ suggestion sheet was fun because I put serious questions with enthusiastic and cute answers such as “Of course!” or “I felt like royalty”. Another time was when I went biking around Intramuros and taking pictures with my co-workers. Then suddenly the OJT in our team made a flyer and I saw that she used a picture with me at the back. Our boss was saying stuff like this is the start of your modeling career. It was so funny.  

Their common ground is having connections. A business won’t be successful without them. You can’t spell business without an us! (I just thought of that) You need connections to get you associated with new and needed ideas and resources. Connections are what got Bambike where it is right now. The concept of the bamboo bike, the Bambuilders from a Gawad Kalinga village, materials and parts to make the bike, other products in the shop and the publicity it is getting on television, internet and magazines etc all started from connections. I am also from a connection- CAMP. Because of CAMP, Bamibike got free help! (Kidding.)

The last day of my internship was awesome. I get to be an extra for this video run by Norwegians about telecommunication. I was in the background acting natural. (I was laughing inside) Also I bought my own Bambike. Partly for remembrance, another part for me to go biking again and another part to say thank you and give more help to my host company. In the end of the day we took some pictures; my boss and I and with the whole team. We said our thank yous, I will miss yous, it was nice having yous and come back again soons. This experience was a truly different and fruitful one. On my ride home I thought to myself “Why not start a social –ecological enterprise when I grow up?”

Thank you very much CAMP and Bambike!!!

Linet Dumag is a student at Assumption Antipolo.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Internship

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Irah Zapanta’s second post.

Irah Zapanta is a student at La Salle Greenhills.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

News in Person

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Annicka Koteh’s first post:

I’ll admit that I’m not the most politically aware person around. My knowledge of current events was mostly limited to snippets from the dining table and my Twitter timeline, or the occasional news report that I had to prepare for school. It definitely came as a surprise that I was accepted into CAMP’s Summer Internship Program, and as an intern for the Office of Senator Loren Legarda no less.

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Terrified of walking in unprepared, I took a self-imposed crash course on politics and the senator. I spent hours poring over news articles and YouTube interviews, but I’ve since realized the truth in the old saying that there’s no better teacher than experience.

To my relief, I wasn’t given tasks beyond my initial knowledge of the government system. I started out replying to letters, enhancing legislation, and taking down notes in various meetings. It was mostly from TWG workshops and committee hearings that I started to understand the legislative process. Even if the legal jargon overwhelmed me sometimes, I always left with a better grasp on how each provision contributed to the policy as a whole. Soon, I moved on to tackle research projects and event briefers. By the time sessions resumed, I actually recognized some of the bills being sponsored since I’d attended the hearings about them. Then there are little triumphs like finally working the office’s monster of a copy machine (I’ve always had trouble with printers.), mastering the differences between paper sizes (A4 vs. Short vs. Legal vs. Long), and getting my laptop through an all-day seminar (minimum screen brightness on Power Saver mode).

It helps that everyone in the office is just genuinely accommodating. Envisioning unfriendly co-workers who wouldn’t want to associate with me, I remember dreading lunch break whenever I thought of this internship in the past. I couldn’t have been more wrong. From day one, I’ve been blessed with superiors who save a seat for me in the dining lounge, where food and advice are shared in equal parts. Far from being the stiff professionals I pictured, the legislative team has the incredible capacity to crack jokes one minute and be laser-focused on task in the next. Senator Loren herself is poised yet passionate; her dedication to her advocacies can be seen in the smallest details—the unique seedling giveaways for her Marine Biodiversity Video Launch, the native fabrics draped over office cubicles, and the extra information that she personally injects into her already impressive speeches.

Best of all, this internship has allowed me to connect news with the people behind them. I’ve witnessed resource speakers and legislators dissect a 200-page bill measure by measure. I’ve listened to representatives of different sectors outline their positions on policies like the Fisheries Code and the Road Safety Act. I’ve watched senators use the input they’ve gathered to support their bills in interpellations and floor debates. In the very Office of Senator Legarda, I answer to people who tirelessly pour so much of themselves into their work. With these influences, each day in the Senate leads me to a greater appreciation of those in public service.

I’ll admit that I’m not the most politically aware person around, so I’m eternally grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to change that.

Annicka Koteh is a high school student at Immaculate Conception Academy.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

The Mind Museum Summer Internship Experience (Part 2)

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Eduardo Peralta’s second post:

On my second day, I started work on the Filipino Scientist slides. I did a mock-up slide of one scientist and explained to my manager my concept of what I would like to do. She was very impressed and happy with my concept of having dynamic slides which included animated backgrounds and text. I explained to them that it would take two days to get a sample to them.

I was provided with information derived from interviews with the scientists and I extracted what was relevant to someone viewing the exhibit. I had to put myself in the shoes of somebody walking around the museum and ensured that what I put in the slides were interesting to a broad audience.

There were fifteen scientists that I had to make slides about. It took me two and a half weeks to make the slides. I constantly updated them on my progress while I was working on these slides.

After completing the slides, I submitted them to my boss for her review. She gave me her feedback on making the slides more aesthetically coherent and achieving greater impact on the viewers. I spent my remaining four days to modify the slides based on her feedback.

Day 17 - 30 April 2014 – My last day! I completed the edits discussed and submitted them to her. She thanked me for them and complimented me on the professional quality of the slides. I felt proud of what I achieved and believed that I had given a meaningful contribution to the Mind Museum. Should I get the chance to return to the museum, I can proudly say that a major portion of the Filipino Scientists exhibit was my work.

That’s it for my internship at the Mind Museum. On the side, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit a number of restaurants at Burgos Circle and think like a food critic.

Eduardo Peralta is a high school student at PAREF Southridge School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

The Mind Museum Internship Experience

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Eduardo Peralta’s first post:

My internship at the mind museum, which took place over the course of 23 days, started on March 31 and ended on April 30.

On my first day, I had a briefing on the project, and my role, in the morning.  I was given a guided tour of the Mind Museum in the afternoon.

My role was to be part of the curatorial staff. My project was to come up with slides for an upcoming exhibit on Filipino Scientists. Each of the Filipino scientists were to be depicted in a slide with a narrative portrayal of their life and their significant contributions. The target was to complete the project in time for the exhibit launch on 02 May 2014.  The other components in the Filipino Scientists exhibit were holograms of the Filipino scientists talking.  Both the slides and the holograms were to be continuously running in the exhibit.

The Mind Museum is the first world-class Science museum in the Philippines. In its establishment, they collaborated with foreign science experts and the National Geographic organization. However, it is pretty small relative to other Science Museums in developed countries.

In terms of content, it is very similar to those in other countries.  The fossils of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the life size model of the whale shark, in particular, were similar to what I have seen in the Museum of Natural History in the Smithsonian Institute in the US. There was also a very interesting showcase of the human brain, large enough to walk through.

Eduardo Peralta is a high school student at PAREF Southridge School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Getting the Hang of It

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Cheska Bernabe’s second post:

I have to admit, sometimes it’s really hard to be productive and actually work because it’s summer. But for some reason, this internship in PULSE has actually motivated me to work even harder than I usually do. With the many projects going on simultaneously in the firm, I always have to remember to take of note of when deadlines are.

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This internship has also made me a lot more organized! Around 2 weeks ago, Ms. Rovaira Dasig, the PULSE founder and my boss, created a page on this website called “Asana” so that we can be able to work on planning the launch party this year even though Ms. Rovaira is out of the country in the next few weeks. Okay, while I have to admit I did not know how to use Asana, I learned that it’s this application used by organizations that need to communicate and plan through the Internet, except not by email. It basically lets you organize dates, make plans, and chat with your co-workers. It took me awhile to understand how to use it, but eventually I got the hang of it! I also learned how crucial the planning aspect is in everything. We had a meeting regarding the budget, guest list, and so much more things on the to do list for preparing for this party. But I know that in the end, all this hard work will push through. We also decided on how the new PULSE logo would look like, as created by another intern named Jean from College of St. Benilde. The PULSE office will also be moved to Old Manila, or Intramuros. I was so excited when Ms. Rovaira asked me to look for possible designs for the new office! One course I am thinking of taking in college next year is Interior Design, so this project assigned to me was fun.

Last week, Ms. Rovaira gathered all of us interns for dinner as a “thank you” present before she leaves for the US. It was really of nice of her to treat us and I got to know more about the other interns I was with. Being the youngest one in the firm is pretty intimidating, but I am so grateful for the other interns who give me advice on things work (and not work) related. And I am really excited for what else Ms. Rovaira has in store for us!

I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to meet people who have truly inspired me to become a better person. My summer has been well spent and has been very productive in my opinion thanks to this internship! Indeed, perseverance is truly the key to attain one’s goals. Thank you CAMP and PULSE!

Cheska Bernabe is a student at Saint Pedro Poveda College.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

What I Loved The Most

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Chiawen Chiang’s second post:

In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced and encountered so much with my co-interns and office-mates that it almost feels like I worked with them for years. I’ve come to love the little details about the Senate—the way paintings are displayed on the hallway in the first floor, how the offices of each senator is differently furnished and decorated, the way the last few stairs to the 5th floor tilt slightly downward, and how our office, room 510, always seems to smell funny in the morning.

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The first time I walked into that Senate building as an intern, I never would have guessed the people I would meet, the ideas that would unfold before my eyes, or even the crazy road trips I would have with some of the most headstrong and ambitious Filipinos of our generation. Our latest road trip brought us to Tarlac, the ancestral home of Senator Aquino for his birthday celebration. I have to admit, it was the most memorable birthday party I have ever attended. Upon entering his ancestral home, I saw the rich history that it held within its old wooden frames. More than that, I saw senators and barangay captains enjoying themselves to a traditional Filipino past time—Karaoke. I saw our leaders rock out to Bon Jovi while enjoying lechon after celebrating Holy Mass. I even had the chance to sit in the registration table where governors and congressmen checked their attendance, albeit for a little while. With a hearty meal and dirty ice cream in the buffet, even the mid-summer rain shower did nothing to dampen the spirits of the guests and the senatorial staff.

On the other hand, our first road trip was more business related. For almost five hours, we were on our way to Nueva Ecija to interview farmers and see how partnering with Jollibee was changing their lives. More than that, I discovered people whose lives are completely different from those I was used to. These farmers took their livelihood very seriously; they were passionate about how it could support their family, and were extremely proud when their children followed their footsteps. There was nothing more encouraging than seeing people who were willing to sweat in the summer heat for a cause they believed in, and even more so when you see big chain companies like Jollibee and Chow King who are willing to reach out to farmers to give them a bigger chance at stability.

What I probably loved the most out of this internship however, isn’t an event, a bill, or even a person, but rather, a feeling. Most of my time in the office was spent researching, encoding, editing, and even a little drafting. I knew that these were little things, things that probably aren’t very important when it comes to the bigger picture. However, just the fact that I did something that contributed or even at the very least helped in the making of something bigger than myself was more than I could ever ask for. Researching for information that would later on be used in the session was an incredible honor, as well as editing bills that would later on be submitted to the senator. I never truly realized that I was helping make this nation a better one, in even a small way, until now. And I have to say, it is an incredible feeling.

Chiawen Chiang is a student at PAREF-Woodrose School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Follow Bam Aquino on Twitter.

So Far with Bambike

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Linet Dumag’s first post:

Joining an internship was not originally part of my summer plan. However, when I saw CAMP’s offer on Facebook, I asked myself, “Why not?” And here I am.

At my first day I was welcomed with open arms and treated some lunch. (I love that part!) They have given me easy assignments such as research for the tour script, scanning and cutting papers, as well as given me the opportunity to attend meetings with government officials. The talks were interesting and it was so cool because I am here with them and I’m only 14 years old! I have been working in Intramuros, as well as Tarlac and Makati, and I’ve been able to meet different kinds of people. My co-workers and boss are all hard working and fun to be with. A bonus is that I get to bike around Intramuros. (I have not biked for a while.)

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On April 27, it was Pasyal Sunday. It is an event where in the whole street was closed and cars are not allowed to pass. Shops and stores open up on the street. That was the day when our store officially opened. It was really hectic setting up this corner and that, fixing the small and little things to make everything in order.  It was tiring and fun. People kept coming in and out interested of our products; Bambikes and drinks. I helped selling and interacting with the guests and customers. I felt some sort of fulfillment when I saw them interested and pleased in the work I’ve contributed.

Then a friend of my boss who is a cartoonist interviewed him. She asked him what advice he will give to other aspiring entrepreneurs. He said that you should have passion in what you are doing. Without it, it is kind of meaningless and you wouldn’t be happy because you don’t love what you are doing.

This answer of his struck me. Of course it is not just for aspiring entrepreneurs but for all aspects of life. Passion is such a strong, meaningful word.

As part of the so-called “hope of the future” generation I must do my own role to play.  And my role right now is to learn and be passionate about not just academics but life. So I hope to be able to learn from victories and failures, from decisions and mistakes and from experiences and trials. I want to be discovering new and incredible things in potentially unexpected ways. Then will I be able to use these lessons and turn them into actions that will make a difference to the world in one way or another. 

Linet Dumag is a student at Assumption Antipolo.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Design with a Purpose at Bantay.ph

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Kim Sanchez’s first post:

My first few meetings with my host organization turned out well. At first, it was a little overwhelming to know that I have to travel all the way to Makati (from Quezon City) every now and then to report. But after a while I found it still overwhelming, but in a good way. It felt like going out of my little realm and taking on an adventure. Even though I have yet to commute by myself (I wanted to familiarize myself more before I set off alone), I still see this internship as a way for me to become more independent.

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The people I work closely with were very nice! I was assisted and welcomed and the first person who accommodated me even asked me to stop saying “po!” (It was second nature though, so I still did). The Special Projects Officer was also nice, and guided me all throughout. All in all, I’m always welcomed warmly whenever I come to the office.

One of the great things when it comes to a work related to art is that you can work anywhere, anytime. As a design officer, I can work from the comforts of my home without the fear of peering eyes (half-kidding!). So for the first few meetings, I was given a poster to work on at home, and the output is the first poster featured here (which, to my elation, was commended by the Special Projects Officer!). I was also asked to make a cover photo version. (These and many other informational posters about issues such as ARTA of 2007 are seen at the website and Facebook page).

My next projects included research about the BMBE law and an informational poster I did at the office regarding the partnership of Lifebank Foundation and my host organization, Bantay.ph. Being a Project Assistant, I get to participate in research work and collaborations in relation to their projects.

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It was a nice experience to be able to design (one of the things I love to do) for a purpose. It was a huge yet good change from designing/making artworks just for fun to helping in raising awareness over people’s right to quality government services through the little feat of designing posters. I learned a lot too, when it comes to designing as I get to practice more often now.

Right now, my next project entails contacting officials for my research. It’s quite overwhelming to think about, frankly speaking, so wish me luck!

Kim Sanche is a student at Philippine Science High School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Learn more about Bantay.ph.

First Impressions of Sari Software Solutions

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Alyssa Ty’s first post:

My first two weeks working at Sari Software Solutions was filled with a lot of mixed emotions jam-packed with exciting and enriching experiences. Working at Sari gave me a whole new perspective of the business industry as well as enrich my knowledge in technology and the digital world.

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My first day was surprisingly fun. I was nervous at the start because I was expecting my co-workers to be uptight or having an awkward first day but all of my fears were put to rest once I stepped in the office. All of the employees were really kind and supportive ;quickly welcoming me to their big Sari family. They quickly filled me in all their past and present projects and how through these projects they hope to achieve their mission of creating new technology that will help Sari Sari store owners in their business (sounds like a run on sentence). Later that week, They invited me to attend their monthly general assembly and staff meeting. The meeting made me realized how hard it actually was to maintain a start-up company such as Sari. Without the dedication, passion and hard work each person contributes to Sari, there would not be any innovative technology to put out. It made me appreciate my job as an intern more and motivate to(hopefully) help them in their future projects when the opportunity arises.

This opportunity came pretty fast when I was invited to tag along with the Sari team to the attend the Intel mobility roadshow at the Mind Museum last Thursday. The Intel mobility roadshow is a chance for all of Intel’s new partners (such as Sari) to showcase their products to other business partners of Intel,hopefully creating more business ties around. During the conference, I helped present the new Sari scanner by demonstrating how it works to the audience. I also able to sample the new unreleased products of Intel which made my inner techy nerd jump with joy. I was able to learn new insights of digital media industry through the different companies that presented their products in the conference as well. There was a variety of companies specializing in different genres integrating technology to their company Some companies created software used in education, others companies for gaming. This gave me a wider scope of things, how technology can help shape different parts of society. Overall the conference was insightful to me.The day ended on a high note with a field trip to Mind Museum exhibits  hanging out with the awesome team of Sari Softwares.

 

(Sari Software presenting Sari Load)

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My first two weeks at Sari have been amazing so far.  Through the opportunies so far, I was able to experiences stepping  out my comfort zone to meet and people and present a presentations to strangers . I was exposed so many new things that led me to gain a lot of new knowledge and information. I can’t wait for what’s to come.

Alyssa Ty is an incoming senior at Immaculate Conception Academy.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Embracing Chaos: My Internship at a Startup Company

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Korina Gaw’s first post:

I remember the first time that I had spoken to Walter, my boss, about what my internship would entail. He straightaway warned me, “Your work is going to be erratic and hectic. We could be working on one project for weeks, and then completely scrap it by the next. In my experience, you may find that the ideas you thought would initially work don’t and the ones that you thought would surely fail do. You will constantly encounter failure, but what matters more is your willingness to bounce back.”

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I only remember the deep sigh of relief I took after the conversation was over.

To explain this foreboding introduction, I must tell you that Action Stack is brand new. By brand new, it literally means that the business only began last January 8, 2014. It’s an educational start-up that’s mostly comprised of my boss and a handful of fresh interns like myself. Now I may be the only one in high school, but I can assure you that we’re all in this learning process together. Files are still messy, schedules are unclear and money remains a question; however, I’ve come to realize and appreciate that this disarray is really what drew me to join Action Stack. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I needed to experience the realities of running a business still taking its first steps in the real world.

Once the work started, I knew that Walter was not exaggerating. I saw the constant dilemmas that he had to face day by day. There’d always be the funding to worry about, the new customers to convince and the vital deadlines to make- to a point where no amount of OCD could lessen the work that needed to be accomplished. There were days spent conceptualizing workshops, meeting mentors and evaluating what needed improvement. There were times completely focused on the phone, talking to clients ranging from programmers to CEOs and hours that went by of purely sending emails to various groups of people. There were the cancellations, the last-minute add-ons, the forgotten details,  and by the end of the day, all this work still provides no guarantee of things turning out the way they were planned.

Nevertheless thanks to this journey of disorder, I am grateful for the way it’s equipped me for every bump along the road. I’ve mastered the art of persuasion through the countless phone calls I’ve made. I’ve taught myself the important habit of checking my email everyday and responding to inquiries as quickly as I can. I’ve grasped how to communicate confidently and effectively especially when talking to strangers. I’d even like to believe that I’ve become more patient. Most importantly, there are lessons I learned at my internship that I could not have learned in any other environment. I learned that everything can be managed, no matter how bad things may seem. I learned that starting a business demands more legwork than anything else. I learned that all ideas, no matter how great, are useless without the proper execution and practicality. I even learned how to appreciate the little things and accept what I cannot change. All this because of one month that has brought me such an unforeseen mix of chaos and fulfillment.

What’s life without a bit of disorder?

Korina Gaw is a high school student at Immaculate Conception Academy.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

A Lesson in Marketing

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Matthew Yap’s second post:

For the past few days, I’ve been doing a lot of tasks related to marketing in HSSi.

Marketing is one of the four functional areas of a business and a necessary component in a business’s success. For the most part, this department has one major goal, which is to satisfy and meet the needs of the customers in order to get them to regularly buy a business’s products. A business cannot prosper without a solid marketing department since this area is the one that generates a its sales and helps it expand its customer base. 

I used to think that marketing was only about promoting a business’s own products to entice its target market to buy them. Through my experiences in HSSi, however, I’ve learned that marketing is much more complex and intricate.

At HSSi, I was assigned to make product flyers and FAQs about some of our solar products. These flyers and FAQs aren’t the usual promotional materials that attract customers. They differed from the eye-catching billboards and appealing commercials that big companies use to market their products. These flyers and FAQs were much more detailed and specific since their main purpose is to inform the public on how to use the products properly and to address some of the concerns and problems of the users.

After this experience, I learned that marketing also involves a constant interaction with the consumers to make sure that their demands are met so that they will be satisfied. A business should manage their customers closely and take into consideration their concerns since the business depends on their money to sustain itself and earn profit. If a business does this, its customers will feel that the business cares about them and does its best in order to make their lives easier and better. 

Matthew Yap is a high school student at the Xavier School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Follow Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. on Facebook and Twitter.

Working in a Creative Firm: Expect the Unexpected

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Cheska Bernabe’s first post:

I’ve been working in PULSE for almost a month now, and I’m proud to say I’m beginning to grasp the concept of what a creative firm actually is and what they do. Being completely honest, I did not know at all what a creative firm was when I decided to sign up as an intern for PULSE Group-Creative Partners Inc. When I was reading the job description, I liked the idea of becoming a Social Media and Communications Intern, and this job seemed like the one that would fit my personality and skills the most. 

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On my first day, I have to admit I was pretty scared, not really knowing what to expect.  The only thing on my mind was “is my outfit formal enough” or “is this some serious business place”, but all those ideas changed when I finally met the founder of PULSE, my boss Ms. Rovaira Dasig, a Fil-Am woman who decided to migrate to Manila after studying at Wellesley College. Ms. Rovaira was (and still is) definitely the best boss and mentor I could ask for. She welcomed me to the firm with open arms and inspired me to want to make a difference in the country. She also explained to me that the creative firm aims to provide high standard creative consulting, branding, and production services for both local and international clients. One thing I love about my job is the vision of PULSE, to undertake projects that would support the vast and creative communities in Manila. For example, a current project of PULSE is managing the production of a television sitcom for a US-based network, which is to be shown both in the Philippines and the USA. Another thing I love about my job is that there are other interns coming in for the summer. One of them goes by the name of Chabs, from Ateneo de Manila University. Being the youngest in the firm is definitely challenging, especially when you have expectations to live up to, but I’m very grateful that the college interns are there to help me, as they have more experience in these things. I’ve definitely bonded with Chabs and I’m thankful that we work hand in hand in finishing some of the projects Ms. Rovaira assigns us to do.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been assigned to research on potential partners and clients that PULSE could obtain. Though the current office in Makati is welcoming and full of color, I have also been assigned to finding office spaces, particularly in Old Manila where PULSE wants to establish its new one. Yesterday, instead of having our usual meetings in Eastwood, Ms. Rovaira asked us interns to meet up in Intramuros, particularly the Plaza San Luis Complex. There, we had a photo shoot for the firm’s website that will be remade. They took photos of us interns that would go on each of our profiles in the said website. Aside from the that, the firm is also planning a launch party I’m helping out in, particularly in the planning and social media aspect of it. Coincidentally, the same San Luis Complex we had the shoot in would be the designated venue, so we were able to plan the physical arrangements and estimate costs of the said event.

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So far with everything I’ve accomplished, I could honestly say working in PULSE alongside Ms. Rovaira and the other interns has definitely been an memorable experience I didn’t expect to go through. I’ve learned so much about marketing and branding strategies, social media, and even some life lessons that Ms. Rovaira tells me every so often. But this isn’t the end yet. I am definitely looking forward to the last few weeks of my internship, and I am ready for the future projects that will be given to me.

Cheska Bernabe is a student at Saint Pedro Poveda College.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Signs for a Change

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Irah Zapanta’s first post:

While struggling to keep my balance in the train, one Tuesday morning, thoughts about work ran through my head like on a marathon without an end—without resolution. I wondered what Edukasyon.ph had in store for me that day. Will I look for partnership opportunities? Will I write more articles? Will I research more universities? These questions were not answered, but hopefully, I will have been enlightened by the time I reach the office.

Stepping out of the train entailed a well-planned and violent process. I strategically positioned myself at the middle of two doors. Eventually arriving at Ayala, I realized that no amount of politeness can get me out. I had no choice but to elbow my way towards the platform. The sad reality that most Filipinos have to put up with inefficient railway systems really bothered me. I thought to myself, “I am going to change all this,” which further highlighted my responsibility to make the most of my education—the only solution I could think of.

I went down the stairs to a busy sidewalk. I tried hailing a cab, but to no avail, none came. I nervously checked the time. Minutes passed, and a kid of about ten years old helped me. He walked barefoot on the road and looked for a cab. I thanked him, but his sacrifice, he asserted, should be compensated with money. Seeing the grave poverty in his eyes, I gave him change like what everybody else did and will do.

Forgetting the kid was impossible.

“Along Paseo de Roxas. Corner Buendia Avenue,” I distractedly said to the driver. The driver asked me a lot of questions, and I just said, “Manong, I’ll lead you there po.”

Inside the car, I thought of the kid enduring the heat with nothing to fill his stomach. Then, I thought of all the kids like him who were out there begging for money.

This image of helplessness brought me back to my previously unanswered questions: Will I look for partnership opportunities, write more articles or research more universities? 

Indeed I will, but those were not the only tasks I needed to do. I was also assigned to empower people, to inspire change in society and to give credit and purpose to education.

Commuting to the office was worthwhile and fulfilling with the thought of helping kids study in school through scholarships and other academic opportunities. Soon, I thought, these kids, products of collaborative efforts, will stand and will lead the country to development and prosperity.

I finally arrived at my destination, and I excitedly got out of the taxi. With a sense of purpose, I eagerly went inside the building.

Irah Zapanta is a student at La Salle Greenhills.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

An Internship with a Senator

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Chiawen Chiang’s first post:

I’m not quite sure what drove me to work in the oh-so-very-prestigious-sounding office of Senator Bam Aquino. Perhaps it was that inkling of wanting to experience the world of politicians and law. Maybe I wanted to take on the world, or shed a little more hope to our poverty riddled country.  Whatever it was, the past two weeks of working in their office was one of the most amazing experiences I encountered. From interviewing micro entrepreneurs on the street to attending high-end meetings with professionals, I’m confident that this internship will be the most exciting part of my summer.

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To be honest, I walked into the Senate of the Philippines expecting a cold business world—sleek black blazers and intimidating grey cubicles. What I got was a totally different result. On my first day, I was introduced to the friendship table: a round dining room style table in the middle of the office wherein meals are enjoyed and food is ever-present. On day one, I found mangusteen and durian pastillas, to which the senator used as a starting conversation with me, and on day two, siopao from Chow King and a mysterious snack that looked like a darker version of Stick-o. Other than that, an entire walk-in cabinet was dedicated to food: ovens, microwaves, a large refrigerator containing soda and chocolate, and the best of all, Ovaltine. Hands down, the food was amazing. But the people were even better. From the moment I became their intern, I was welcomed into a family—an all singing, constantly eating family. It was evident that these people were more than just coworkers. Just last week, there was an office meeting wherein everyone shared their “monthly high”, something that cheered them up or made them very happy in the past few weeks. On my second day, I cheered for team Senator Bam in the basketball championship game between the manongs of two offices. Needless to say, the office of Senator Bam Aquino was nothing close to what I originally expected.

Despite the amazing food and even more amazing people, none of these impressed me as much as the experiences I gathered from working as their intern. In my first week alone, I met the senator, discovered the subtle majesty of the senate library, encoded bills, took a taxi ride alone for the first time, attended a meeting with representatives about the Gonegsyo Bill, attended Design Thinking Sessions, met inspiring post-graduate students, interviewed sari-sari store owners, covered a wall with post-its, got lost in Manila, took a taxi alone for the second time, used internet that seemed even faster than Korea’s, met more inspiring revolutionary individuals, covered more walls with post-its, helped execute the Gonegosyo Bill, and all in all, see the world through a different lens.

Although my experiences in the first week were exciting, what truly amazed me the most out of all was the fact that every individual I met, no matter how different from each other, came together against the odds because of the simple truth they care about their nation. These individuals made effort like I did, travelling miles from different locations to meet at one spot to share ideas, conceptualize plans, and work together for a common goal. The workers of the senate, the volunteers in the Design Thinking Sessions, and even the people in the meeting I attended, all work for a cause greater than themselves. Despite the difficulties, it’s good to know that people believe that the responsibility of constructing a nation doesn’t lie on the shoulders of the few.

Chiawen Chiang is a student at PAREF-Woodrose School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Follow Bam Aquino on Twitter.

Jim Ayala: Not Your Ordinary CEO

This summer, we asked our CAMP summer interns to share their experiences on our blog. Here’s Matthew Yap’s first post:

My first week at HSSi was full of unexpected experiences and challenges; however, at the same time, it was also one of the most enriching chapters of my life. I was able to gain new perspectives and broaden my knowledge through the many interesting people that I’ve met and through the various projects that I’ve participated in. During my first day, I was filled with a great deal of apprehension, but now that I’ve learned a lot during the first week alone, I look forward to working with HSSi in the coming months.

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On the first day of my internship, a few HSSi representatives and I went to an unelectrified, off the grid community in Antipolo to visit a local public school. We went there to check on HSSi’s ongoing project that provides local students, who do not have electricity at home, access to solar powered lamps.

One thing that came as surprising to me in this trip was the dedication that Mr. Ayala, the CEO of HSSi, showed this project. You would expect a person of great stature to let his subordinates handle projects like this since they require a huge amount of effort and commitment, but Mr. Ayala is no ordinary CEO. He took the initiative to drive us all the way to the school in Antipolo, which was around 2 hours away from Makati City. The path going there wasn’t even smooth since it was full of rugged rocks and steep roads. When we got to the school, Mr. Ayala held a mini-conference with the school’s students, parents and teachers regarding the solar lamps and its impact to their lives. Full of charisma, he was able to connect with the people and eagerly listened to their feedback, opinions, and recommendations about the solar lamps. During the meeting, he presented himself as an empathetic person who was aware and sensitive to the needs of the people in the community. He acted like a public servant with strong will and great determination to alleviate the problems of his suffering countrymen and went out of his way to accommodate those who do not have access to basic resources. At the end of the meeting, he made a promise to the people and vowed to do his best to improve their quality of life.

In this experience, I did not see my boss as a wealthy and powerful CEO but as a compassionate person who is committed to ending poverty and making a difference in the lives of his fellow citizens. It was through Mr. Ayala that I have learned the value of social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. I have always thought of businesses as greedy organizations that just want to make profit, but now, I’ve realized that there are some corporations who actually care about the welfare of the people and hope to make a positive impact to the community without asking for much in return.

Matthew Yap is a high school student at the Xavier School.

The CAMP summer internship program is designed to provide high school students with professional work experience before attending university. Read more about the program here.

Follow Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. on Facebook and Twitter.