By Looi Chee Kean, Universiti Teknologi Petronas

If there is one thing I have learnt from AIT Tiger Leong Leadership and Innovation Camp, it is this: leave your comfort zone, take calculated risks, and then magic will happen. “Breaking your own mold can only make you stronger and more confident to reach higher levels in your professional and personal life,” says Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, therapist and author of Better than Perfect. Indeed, in our personal lives, we face challenges that test our physical limitations and emotional mettle. All we need to do is to overcome our fear and try something new, then we can see things in a new way by putting pieces of information together in a new manner.

As the only representative from my country, Malaysia, the difficulties of the challenges amplified- I didn’t have a travel companion, I had never been to Thailand before, plus, I needed to maintain my academic performance for the ongoing semester in my university etc. “Follow your heart,” my mom told me while I was busy applying thinking hats onto my dilemmas. She was right when she advised me to take the “no regrets” approach to my decision making. Besides family, I was lucky that my university’s head of department supports my application too! “Maybe this time, I should take a short break from my routine and push my boundaries”- despite all kind of doubts, I had made my mind to grab this lifetime opportunity and to embrace all the challenges that await me.

So what happened after I had done packing my luggage and began leaping into the unknowns? Like I said, magic occurred. A great sense of excitement hit me when I first landed in Don Mueang Airport, Thailand. What makes me love about this camp is that I get to know brilliant people from diverse backgrounds in different countries. On the first day of AIT-Tiger Leong Leadership and Innovation Camp, everyone quickly became friends and we even went for rock climbing together in the evening. Before joining the camp, I thought that I would need more time to establish bonds with everyone, but it turned out so differently, in a good way. From that day onwards, beautiful memories were created together with a bunch of awesome people.

Connecting with new people, visiting new places, trying new food, adapting to new culture, acquiring new knowledge – everything is anew, and these are the challenges that our camp offers. Personally, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to AIT-Tiger Leong Leadership and Innovation Camp organizing team for granting us many first-hand learning opportunities and taking good care of us. It was indeed a fruitful session as we were able to receive knowledge from the experienced people (professors, entrepreneurs, AIT president) from different backgrounds through seminars, interactive workshops and study trips. After completing the camp, I am now I have a better grasp of our current global trend as well as setting my life goals. Also, by stepping out of my comfort zone, I have now successfully expanded my comfort zone to become a little bit wider by getting comfortable with being uncomfortable (as in decision making part- before coming to Thailand).