Other KP-Related


I haven’t heard about my status for KP NL yet – it’s still the weekend over there, after all. We’ll all know by around this week.

In the workshop I talked about how, if I don’t get in this time, I probably won’t try again for a while. This isn’t necessarily because I’m giving up on the idea of being a KaosPilot. Rather, it’s because I feel that if this attempt doesn’t work, it’s time to let go and have a break.

The process is extremely draining. The application form is highly personal – though often questions are recycled so it can get a bit tedious to be explaining yourself over and over and over. The creative project can also be a challenge – while I’ve found it fun, it can also bve really difficult if the project is something resource-intensive (for instance, the video set by KP Aarhus).

If you get admitted into the workshop, you need to rush to get your transport sorted. This is extremely tricky for someone like me who lives far away and has a troublesome passport that requires visas for everywhere. (While in Dordrecht I heard from a friend in Burundi who had been shortlisted but could not afford to come.) Admission workshops are expensive for a non-European! Even those in North America don’t have it quite as hard, because it’s relatively closer.

Once you sort out the logistics and actually get there, you face two days of emotional turmoil. The workshop process is extremely challenging and testing, and I reckon that trying to go through it more than twice in a year (there are quite a number of people who apply multiple times) would be way too much on your soul. Even with the foreknowledge of what’s coming (the content doesn’t change a lot), you still face challenges to your mind and psyche. There’s a lot of reflection on yourself and the team, including exercises that bring to the fore all sorts of hidden thoughts and concerns. Even now I still start crying remembering parts of it – it’s very very tough.

A lot of the KaosPilot process is luck of the draw – who else is there with you? In the workshop they said that they’re choosing for the best team; just because you didn’t get in this time doesn’t mean you’ll never function as a KaosPilot. It just means you weren’t as effective with this particular mob. While we were all pretty chummy by the first night (before the workshop), after we had been separated into our groups we pretty much spent all our time with our groups. There wasn’t much of a chance to interact with the other applicants who were in other groups. In my last entry, I wrote about how I initially felt out of place in my group; I may have been more accepted in another group, but there’s no real way of knowing for sure.

If I don’t get in to the KaosPilots this time round (third time lucky?), I’ll likely give it a rest for a while. I may revisit it in a few years – the newer schools would have more footing, and there may be more schools in other places (a KaosPilots in Brisbane would be AWESOME). I would also have more financial capacity, and hopefully even a better citizenship/passport. I would also possibly be a lot more grounded and be able to recover from the emotional ruckus better – at this stage, I only have had a few months in between to process everything.

As odd as it may seem, it’s actually logisitically easier for me to be a KaosPilot than my other options. Being a student is relatively straightforward – the school manages the paperwork and there is a set visa. If I wanted to stay in Brisbane after my degree, I would have to try to fit myself under highly restrictive visa rules. As it is, I don’t qualify for General Skilled Migration (I don’t fit any of the needed skillsets) nor the 18-month bridging visa (the minimum salary is about $41,000/year, which is management level and way more than I’ll ever get at this stage unless I work as a porn star). Getting a job-sponsored visa would be tricky as the companies/organizations I’d work best in may not be able to afford sponsoring me. There is the option of continuing study; however, I am already burnt out with academia and it’s hard enough finding more project-based schools like the KaosPilots.

My dream job is to work with Up with People; I may pursue that option if nothing else works out. There isn’t an opening in Road Staff that suits me yet, though other office-based jobs sound interesting. Again, given that this is a US-based organization, visa issues would be tricky. But at this point I’m already used to tricky visa issues.

The Scholar Ship has shut down, so that option’s gone. I might apply for Sauve Scholars but it’s just as competitive and possibly more academic than I’d like.

I could always go back to Malaysia and work there, I suppose. I’d like to be Spidey’s assistant (the woman keeps thinking it would be an insult to ask me to be her PA. Despite me telling her a gazillion times that I’d be more than honoured to work with her. She probably finds it awkward to ask me to work for her.) Jobs in Malaysia for my capacity are limited though – there aren’t that many organized options for youth work and creative community development. I also have my projects that I want to start, but I do need to live off something, and I’d rather not have to depend on my parents.

So what shall I do, if KP NL doesn’t work out? Should I just try again anyway?

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Just before I leave for Rotterdam:

What are your travel tips?

Seems that my last post hit quite a nerve – Jens made his blog protected and I’ve suddenly got more KPs coming out of the woodwork. My hits have jumped heavily in the last few days too.

Hey, nothing is free from criticism. When I travelled with Up with People (or even before I started) we all faced a hell of a lot of criticism just because of UWP’s reputation and history. And there were things that could have been done better. But it was still the best time of my life. Just because something’s attracted some negativity doesn’t make it totally bad. No one’s gonna like everything.

I just wished that the feedback was more constructive. If you disagree, that’s great. (I had a friend take down a post because I disagreed with his logic and points. Nothing against him, just his rhetoric. He somehow took it as a “personal attack” and then took it down because he thought I was offended. Wha? Disagreement doesn’t mean censorship! But anyway.)

The point of my last point was that the core substance of the KaosPilots seems to be lost in between all the party pictures and the “woo, foreign country!”. If you know where the substance is, show it! Give me links, references, contacts. Tell me about the stuff you’re doing. I want to know, many others want to know too. Share that energy! We want to share in it too! But we can’t do that if we don’t see it.

In semi-related news: can anyone translate this Danish blog entry? My boyfriend, and a web translator, had a go at it and all we can work out is that this guy went to his company’s teambuilding workshop for 3 weeks, which involved a KaosPilot, and it was totally fluffy and useless. But we don’t know if that is actually what he wrote. So a Danish to English translation would be good.

La de da! The closing date for Rotterdam (not Amsterdam, Thomas) was yesterday! Let’s see how that goes. I can’t wait two weeks, visas get in the way.

I’ve been following the blogs of some KaosPilots, particularly those that are on OutPosts overseas (that tends to be the main reason for their blogging). Quite honestly, I haven’t seen much in the way of cultural awareness – or even an attempt to understand and appreciate their host societies.

Most of the OutPost blogs tend to feature parties and gatherings – photos after photos of blonde blue-eyed Scandinavians drinking the night away while they party in an exotic country. There’s very little in the way of actually examining the culture, exploring their location, or even the work they’re doing. The work in their OutPosts are usually relegated to one or two posts – “this is our project, tada!”. Otherwise? Party party party.

The team in Mumbai right now are tasked with answering questions about India, sent in by the KP board members. One student is taking in questions from the Web – and, quite frankly, his response to the latest two questions shows a deep level of ignorance:

Implying that the West has made mistakes is apparently biased!
Cellphones and Internet in India is rare, people marry young, and Indians must be liberal with porn because men like to share porn on phones!

Complete headdesk-worthy. (Read my comments on the above posts for my responses.)

Two KaosPilots blogs that I find to be very thoughtful and reflective about the educational processes are Henrique‘s and Zulma‘s (Zulma’s website also rocks hardcore). Henrique is in China and his blog has plenty of thoughtful and interesting entries on China and Chinese culture, including the conflicts with Tibet. He really shows his effort at understanding his host country. Zulma’s is more personal, but she talks a lot about her projects, and the processes she goes through in completing them. She also talks about her budding life in Denmark – including a new baby! (aww).

It’s really interesting that the two blogs I featured above are both from international students – Henrique is from Brazil and I believe Zulma is from Colombia. They have had to face the challenges of being outsiders, of being foreigners, from Day One – while most of their classmates would have been right at home in similar cultures. Now these students are overseas too, sent by their outposts – and they haven’t quite picked up the skills of cultural awareness, of just being curious about where they are. They’ve instead become insular, clinging on to old patterns while dismissing their host culture’s patterns as just oddities.

I’m rather glad that the KaosPilots Netherlands have announced that they’re received expressions of interest from all over – Russia, India, Nepal, a few other places (including multi-country me). This would lead to a much richer pool of applicants, and hopefully this batch would be much more culturally aware than the others. I’ve checked out the Facebook group for the latest Aarhus school, Team 15, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of non-Europeans in their team (and apparently Macs are MANDATORY! What?!).

It does make me wonder, though – why are the students of the “best school for the world” seemingly unaware of the world they’re in?

Got this email from KP NL just now:

Student Support Fund established as an alternative to student loans & grants!

This email is to tell you the GOOD news that a fund supported by partners (Flight Facilitators), most from the worlds of business and local government, has been set up! This allows us to waiver your monthly tuition, just like we did for Team 1. In total this means that we can support you with funding to cover your full tuition fee at KPNL in your first year.. A total amount of 4800,- Euro! It is not a loan, neither a gift nor a sponsorship since we want to establish real working-relations with our partners – the return value from the school and the students will be 80 hours of project-work during the first year of studies, which will be partly curricular and partly extracurricular…

This agreement does not include the general one time entry fee of 4000,- Euro that needs to be paid up front. So, we also solicit for your commitment to our school and ask you to pay this in advance and thus gaining co-ownership over the learning space…

YAY! €4000 is about AU$6553, which is a bit less than a typical semester’s worth of uni fees for an international student in Australia. The monthly fees add up to about that amount a year, so that would be BIG savings. And project work is why I applied in the first place!

What would be a good way to raise €4000? At least it’s a smaller number to target than the 6-digit monster I was dealing with back with KP DK! (Note to self: fundraise for a year at a time. Less scary that way.)

KaosPilot A-Z 2

I am giving away a copy of the now-rare English edition of KaosPilot A-Z, which is filled with essays and stories about social entrepreneurship from KaosPilots board members and friends, such as the late Dame Anita Roddick and Alan Webber of Fast Company, as well as an alphabetical look into life as a KaosPilot.

This book can be bought for DKR 280,- or €40, which doesn’t include shipping and handling. I got mine from a second-hand dealer and it cost me AU$70 all up. And I’m going to give my copy away!

All you have to do is answer these simple questions. All the answers can be found on the KaosPilots.NL website. You’ll also need to describe the KaosPilots Netherlands in your own words. Don’t worry, we don’t need essays 🙂

Anyone can enter! Just get all your entries in by 30th April 2008. The results will be posted here by the 3rd of May at the very latest, and I’ll get in touch with the winner to send the book over.

Don’t hesitate, it’s just a simple task.

Enter Now!

Some reviews of KaosPilot A-Z 2:

Fast Company
WorldChanging
Pioneers of Change

Reviews of the original Danish edition, KaosPilot A-Z (the version I’m giving away is in English)

I’ve been looking through some of the other KaosPilots application videos on YouTube. Some of them are really technically well done – great filming, far better quality (damn ULead), creative design.

Their videos make mine look really lame! o_O

I really hate suspense. There are two weeks before I hear about the workshop. Argh. I wish I knew already!

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