Working at Wiener Tafel: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Meet a Global Volunteer in Austria

Marija, Global Volunteer and aisecer, poses at the Wiener Tafel office in Vienna, Austria.

“I have always wanted to visit this city [Vienna]. And then, I chose this project because I saw this opportunity to work in [an] office, to see how things are done… [h]ere, people are really really friendly,” says Marija Milicevic. As a Global Volunteer, she is working  at the Wiener Tafel office to promote and learn about food sustainability.

From Serbia, Marija speaks English as  a second language and is practicing her German in Vienna: “you get used to it,” she tells me. “Sometimes they forget that you know English and they start to speak [German] a lot… but it is [good] practice.”

 

About Wiener Tafel

This non-profit organization collects and redistributes food that would otherwise be thrown away. Wiener Tafel also raises awareness about the effects of excessive food waste on the environment and works to reduce this problem through projects such as “Soup with Sense” and “TafelBox.” This Summer they have taken some AIESEC Global Volunteers under their wing to continue their mission for sustainable consumption and production.

Working at the office

Sharing her experience so far at Wiener Tafel, Marija says:

I saw how people wish to help others… it really surprises me because in my country, it is not the same situation. They will like to help, but we do not have something like Wiener Tafel to give that opportunity. Definitely after this project I will be more responsible about wasting food.”

Marija prepares letters and pamphlets that promote projects by Wiener Tafel.

She has no previous experience working for an environmental initiative, but says that “after this, I will start to take part in some other volunteer projects.” This opportunity is motivating young people to increase their knowledge about food waste and expand their borders at the same time. Looks like Marija is becoming a better global citizen every day!

Her enthusiasm is inspiring, and there is no shortage of it going around among the volunteers. 

Advice for future Global Volunteers

When I ask her if she would be a Global Volunteer again, she says “yes, definitely because during this project I met really really good people and I hope to stay in contact with them. I feel like I am growing up during this project.”

Whether you are learning German or promoting food sustainability, the best way to get good at something is to be immersed in it. When you are saving the planet and becoming a leader (as Marija is), it’s the same deal. Don’t learn about something from afar. Get out of your comfort zone and jump right in.

And doing so alongside people who love to explore and learn is even better. 

 

First workshop completed! Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

This week, global volunteers debuted their workshops on food waste…

After spending the week preparing their workshops for youth on food sustainability, Mahlzeit Austra volunteers put their skills to the test for the first time. (Learn about the workshops and their creation process here).

At Mahlzeit Austria, volunteers such as Daria and Olia are promoting one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to youth. Here’s a run down of the some volunteers’ experience with their first workshop. What did they learn and what will they do differently in the coming weeks? Let’s find out.

Mission success: Mahlzeit Austria Volunteers Olia, Maria, Lasha and Daria at their first workshop about food waste.

My roommate, Daria, is sitting on the couch as we discuss the results of the first workshop. “For me it was cool, because children were really quiet and good,” she says.  BTW, Daria is my friendly roommate who may appear many times in this blog. We’re lucky we get to hear her input on a lot of these important matters!

Fellow volunteer Olia tells me about her lack of experience with children and speaking German. It was no surprised then that teaching children in German was even more daunting. Fortunately, they pulled through using teamwork. Despite the challenges, she tells me, the “children understood us and we felt their support and interest.” I guess this is my chance to thank any child who listens attentively and enthusiastically. They make all the difference!

Never stop improving

As we walked out of our first workshop,  we immediately discussed how to improve ourselves. Our final consensus is to include more games. Daria tells me, “maybe it can be more fun for children, because sometimes it’s like a lecture and they need to move more. I think children need it.” I agree. Children don’t want to listen to a lecture. Neither do I. 

When asked what she would have done differently, Olia reflects, “I would have probably added more games, but it went well in general. the amount of feedback we received was priceless because children liked us and listened to the things we told. The best is that they realized how important the topic is.” The SDG Mahlzeit Austria is promoting (responsible consumption and production) is important to volunteers and youth alike (or anyone who cares about humanity’s future, tbh). That’s why these volunteers welcome feedback and improvement.

That’s because the most important part of anything we do is getting better at it. Taking an event as a learning experience is at the heart of any AIESEC opportunity, and it’s why they are committed to providing youth with global experiences.

Teamwork > Flying solo

Remember enjoying participation? It’s one of AIESEC’s core values and ties in nicely with what we’re doing in Vienna with these workshops.

Though working with other people can be tricky (you have dealt with lazy group members and annoying partners, because haven’t we all?), I was happy to see my colleagues work together successfully. They also seem to notice the benefits of doing so.

“Benefits of working in a team environment are obviously in a number of ideas which we can produce together. We can also all participate in a project which makes our job easier because we don’t have to do everything on our own.” You said it, Olia! I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

 

Workshops on food sustainability: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Welcome to the Mahlzeit Austria blog!

This Summer, AIESEC is working on the Mahlzeit Austria project, which promotes sustainable production and consumption, one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focusing on food waste, AIESEC volunteers are in Vienna to deliver workshops to children on food sustainability. I tagged along with my friends and fellow volunteers Maria, Olia, Lasha and Daria as they developed these workshops. Let’s go!

About the workshops

Global volunteers attend a workshop by Pulswerk on food waste.

“It’s not just about food sustainability or reducing inequality,” says Sabrina Lichtnegger of Pulswerk, the AIESEC partner and promoter of sustainable development in Austria.  She’s telling us that to change the world we must embrace every SDG by changing our lifestyles. We’re learning straight away that the little things count, from how much food we throw away to how far away it is produced.

Mahlzeit Austria volunteers will be spreading this message to children and their families in their workshops.

 It’s all in the process

Olia, Maria, Lasha and Daria prepare their workshop on food sustainability.

Huddled over laptop and notes, I sit and watch them try to organize a plan. Funny enough, they are speaking in Russian, so as a non Russian speaker, I can only deduce they are planning something. They switch to English at times (so I know what to write about. Haha. And thank you).

I’m then  haunted by memories of working on dreaded group projects at school. Remember those? Nobody likes them because working with people is hard and you always feel like you’re doing all the work. This doesn’t seem to be the case here, though: when everyone is committed to a common goal and has the desire to do it, it’s a lot more fun. I guess I should take some lessons from AIESEC volunteers then…?

Becoming a global citizen

As I watch Maria, Olia, Lasha and Daria prepare, I really feel the global essence of AIESEC. They were speaking in Russian in a German speaking country, and now I’m writing about it in English! 

It also goes to show that when a social cause meets enthusiastic youth, cultural barriers are surpassed in favour of collaboration and leadership. 

From Belarus, Russia, Georgia and the Ukraine, each presenter proudly compiles fun facts and pictures of their countries. Did you know that hash browns are a traditional Belarusian food? Or that Lake Baikal in Russia is the world’s deepest lake? I didn’t know that. And if you didn’t know, you do now! I guess we’re becoming world citizens together.

AIESEC’s six values

Throughout the process, living diversity, one of AIESEC’s six core values, was evidently present. But I soon realized that the five others are at play too. Hear me out:

Striving for excellence: All participants want to be here. They are motivated to reduce climate change by reducing our food waste. They are driven, hard working and want to change the world (I am not being melodramatic, I swear this is true!). This can only be done through excellent effort and attitude.

Living sustainably: These workshops teach children the importance of eating sustainably by reducing their food waste. By educating the youth of today, Mahlzeit Austria volunteers are promoting a more livable tomorrow. Is there anything more important than looking out for our planet and humanity itself? I think not. 

Demonstrating integrity: Masha, Olia, Daria and Lasha are volunteering their Summer to educate children about something they care about. And doing so while embracing teamwork and each one of AIESEC’s  values means their hearts are in the right place. 

Activating leadership: We want to make a difference, one workshop at a time. We are cultivating our ability as change makers by leading Austrian youth in the right direction.

Enjoying participation: Working towards a common goal requires everyone’s participation. Those who are shy learn that to promote something they care about, they have to get themselves out there!

Quick fire Q&A with Mahlzeit Austria Volunteer Daria

Q.  What was the biggest challenge you faced when developing the workshops?

Daria, Mahlzeit Austria volunteer from Russia, shares her experience developing workshops for children on food waste.

A. It was how to make this information easier for children. Sometimes we don’t understand some things ourselves, so it’s even harder to make children understand these concepts.

Q. Did you learn anything about sustainability and food waste?

A. Of course, yeah. Specifically about the fridge, temperature levels and which side is the best and for which products.

Q. Which leadership skills did you use during the process?

A.  Maybe preparing to risk everything… And having self confidence. Wow.  Thanks for adding some drama to this interview, Daria.

3 books to read for the Summer

As the academic year has come to an end, one always seems to aspire for a rejuvenating Summer. Not sure what else you can do than your experience abroad? Whether you are currently prepping to get ready for your internship or volunteering project, I strongly advise you to take time to read these three books this Summer. What makes your experience with AIESEC so unique is that we help you conquer the world with our ‘Inner- and Outer Journey’ for leadership development, this means not only to gain professional hands on experience or impacting a community, but to also dig deep within yourself to enhance what we acknowledge as leadership qualities, being more self aware, being a world citizen, being solution oriented and being able to empower others. These books truly reflect on how to enhance these qualities and will help you on your journey to conquer the world. 

The first book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. A truly inspiring author who takes her approach to how to embrace your innate creativity and how it is your key to success. She draws inspiration from her family an friends to prove just how going for what you truly want and breaking down your fears will make you truly successful. This work of art contains how to create your art, how to cope with professional challenges or to accomplish your dream or to as well make your daily life more rewarding. Every young person should give this a read. 

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The second book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. He speaks of the seven habits every leader should form and obtain in order to be truly successful in life itself. He also speaks of how to make these habits stick and why they are ultimately necessary in order for you as a person to grow and the importance of working in a team. His book is now widely read amongst professionals and young people seeking to upscale his/her business or organisation. 

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Last, but not least Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This Stanford University professor came up with the theory of Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset. Mind you that growth mindset does not necessarily see growth in the sense of numbers, but growth as a person. On this note I would like to quote Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

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Take a chance to read these books this Summer on your experience. I believe these books will make you more self aware about what you want in life and who you are, they will make you more agile and solution oriented and I believe they will encourage you to empower others. These books will enhance your experience abroad with AIESEC. Have a great Summer and let us know online what you think by tagging us on your social media at @aiesecinaustria on both instagram and facebook and using the #livetheexperience hashtag!  

 

Missed the opportunity to go abroad this Summer? Don’t miss the opportunity to go abroad this Winter, sign up here.

Our Global Approach to Entrepreneurship

As we go into our 7th batch of Empower Austria, I thought I would commemorate it by taking you through the essence and motive of our project. Empower Austria was born in September 2016. It was designed to meet the short time skill requirement needs of Austrian Start-ups and to bring in young internationals and their perspectives into the local Start-up scene. By the end of the Summer, we would have brought 150 interns to over 100 Start-ups. In three years, we have had the opportunity to partner up with multiple excelerators, start-up platforms and even create our own entrepreneurship kit in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. (UNIDO)

 

Empower Austria is our project based on AIESEC’s product shaped for the entrepreneurial scene, Global Entrepreneur. Global Entrepreneur was created in 2015 to cater to Start-ups and young aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world. We aim to cater to Start-ups by bringing aspiring international entrepreneurs to your venture whilst we offer these young individuals the opportunity to internationally develop themselves and their career. 

 

Our global value proposition for businesses is to ultimately to bridge the gap between an expensive and globalised company. We aim to solve this gap by helping you acquire bright minds from all over the world with our processes it would be as easy if not easier than hiring locally and all of this at an affordable price tailored for the Start-up scene. These passionate interns are carefully handpicked to not only contribute, but also learn from your venture. With Global Entrepreneur, we seek to help globalise your Start-up and customer bases grow to exceed borders and languages. 

 

As for the interns themselves, we promote this opportunity to be able to dip their toes into their aspiring career and for them to understand the behind the scenes of a fully functioning Start-up. In all our products, AIESEC for youth focus on leadership development and creating opportunities for young people to step out of their comfort zone. These interns actively apply for these projects as an opportunity to extend their horizon culturally, personally and professionally. 

 

On this note, we invite you to be part of inspiring and being inspired by the entrepreneurs tomorrow. We invite you to be part of a movement that is beyond borders and to boost your venture at the same time. Our project is tailored for a Start-ups just like yours. What are you waiting for? Sign up here.