What makes someone a great leader?

leadership
noun ˈliː.də.ʃɪp /ˈliː.dɚ.ʃɪp/

the set of characteristics that make a good leader.

 

As easy and simple this definition seems, the concept of leadership and develop yourself to be one is a long process. Leadership is also something every person can define for themselves. Another good and simple definition of leadership is John C Maxwell’s: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Regardless what your definition of leadership is, a leader is a difference maker, who has a vision that inspires people to follow, and skills turn their vision into reality.

 

But What makes someone a great leader? What ‘set of characteristics’ distinguishes a good leader from others? AIESEC is centered around these sets of leadership characteristics and developing them. Both in our exchange programs as well as in our Memberships we develop leadership based on 4 main qualities that we believe make a great leader. By making young people solution oriented, helping them to empower others, guiding them towards self-awareness and assisting them towards becoming world citizens.

Ability to Empower Others
Communicates clearly, engages in meaningful conversations, and creates spaces that empower others to take action. Through Effective communication skills are must-haves for a good leader, she has to be able to communicate clearly and make sure that their message reach to their audiences in any environment. That is the key that engages others and makes the   difference between an effective individual, and a powerful movement.

Solution Oriented
A solution-oriented person is flexible even in risky situations and environments ready to adapt, actively change and face challenges to quickly move forward and focus on a solution. This skill also transmits comfort positivity to their environment in tough situations.

World Citizen
People who possess this quality are aware and interested in global events, but they differ from others by their willingness take responsibility act to contribute to a better world, work for a better future for everyone because they value and enjoy it. They believe that even actions of one person can be significant make a difference in the world.

Self-Aware
This characteristic comes from being aware of your personal strengths, weaknesses and how to use them. That way, a self-aware person reflects on what defines them as an individual life by their values and able to explore their passions. AIESEC creates a safe but also challenging space for members to get to know themselves in a greater depth, explore their passions and values and consider how these can contribute to a bigger cause.

 

Join us this semester to work on your leadership development and take a part in our journey towards creating a better world!  Sign up on join.aiesec.at!

Summer at Roots Camp: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Volunteering at Roots Camp

Hanna has been volunteering at Roots Camp while participating in the Mahlzeit Austria project.

As the Mahlzeit Austria project nears its end, Hanna reflects on her experience working at Roots Camp. AIESEC volunteers at this summer camp are promoting an unplugged and sustainable lifestyle to Austrian youth. Living without running water, electricity and the luxuries of modern life, Hanna realized that you don’t need these things to have an amazing experience. She also learned that we must respect nature if we want our planet to thrive.

Since the Mahlzeit Austria project is promoting SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), the camp is teaching its campers that living sustainably is possible. Actually, it can be a life changing experience.

And loving life’s simple pleasures is easier than you think!

Working at the camp

Campers sleep in teepees and live without electricity and running water.

Upon arrival at the camp, which is located south of Vienna, Hanna is responsible for the young campers. This includes making sure they sleep well, preparing food and organizing activities. Since campers sleep in teepees and prepare meals on the fire, leaders such as Hanna are needed to ensure a smooth transition to this new lifestyle. 

She adds that she was always “present at the different activities such as archery, wood carving [and] the games station at the wrestling tournaments.” Doing archery in the woods sounds like a good time. Wish I was there!

Living off the grid

Life without electricity and running water sounds like a difficult task. However, Hanna explains:

“It became quite easy to adapt to the living conditions… I just found my inner Jane from Tarzan and lived life to the fullest there. You shouldn’t stay too much focused on the difficulty of adapting to the life there… You basically have to get over it and enjoy it.”

That’s it. To have a successful AIESEC experience, you need an open mind and a positive attitude. Only then can you become a leader.

Learning to live sustainably

In its essence, Roots Camp is about respecting our environment and enjoying life without the luxuries we take for granted. This is how volunteers promote responsible consumption on behalf of the Mahlzeit Austria project. Hanna summarizes: 

“If we ruin nature than our whole ecosystems are ruined, so respect nature and learn how to appreciate it, but also use it… It’s called Roots Camp so we do go back to the roots of where it all started.”

Memories made

Beyond working with children and adapting to a more sustainable way of living, Hanna says that “it’s quite nice to experience what it’s like to live without a phone, to live without a hot shower and always cook your food on fire and actually make fire all the time.” Overall, she describes working at the camp as a “cool experience.”

Lots of memories were made at the camp, including this sunset!

If you are meeting volunteers from around the world, doing archery in the forest and promoting an SDG, your Summer is cool in more ways than one.

Click here to find your next AIESEC experience. 

The Wiener Tafel market: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Read as I work alongside Ezgi and Marina, fellow AIESEC Global Volunteers participating in the Mahlzeit Austria project. Spending their days working with Wiener Tafel, I joined them on the job to discover more about what the non-profit does and how they are reducing food waste.

Working at the market

If you don’t yet know, the AIESEC’s Mahlzeit Austria project aims to promote responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). That’s when Wiener Tafel enters the chat.

Volunteers prepare produce to be distributed to charities.

Monday to Friday, Wiener Tafel receives, sorts and distributes food that would otherwise be thrown away.  To reduce food waste, they collect unwanted food from supermarkets and restaurants. This is where Ezgi and Marina’s job comes into play. Volunteers separate the good, fresh product, from that which has passed its prime. The food is then pick up by partners who put the food to use, instead of letting it go to waste. Charities often use food provided by Wiener Tafel to feed those in need.

On a bright and sunny Friday day, work has already begun when we arrive at 8:00 that morning. I noticed (and appreciated) the relaxed atmosphere and friendliness of the other volunteers. Sipping coffee, I introduced myself and we talked. Well, tried, because I don’t speak German and nearly all the volunteer don’t speak English. Still, we tried. I’ve gotten pretty good at using hand gestures in replacement of German during my 6 weeks in Vienna!

Volunteers sort lettuce as part of their work at Wiener Tafel.

We then went outside to start working. Today, a large quantities of lettuce, zucchinis, onions, potatoes and carrots arrived. We spent the rest of the day sorting the produce.

It was surprising to me how much of the produce was perfectly edible. While a supermarket may deem these heads of lettuce not good enough to sell, we simply had to peel off a layer of leaves and what was underneath was good as new. It’s little surprise then that according to EuroCommerce, the EU wastes approximately 88 million tonnes of food each year. That doesn’t sound like responsible consumption to me, and if we want to save resources and the planet, this number must be reduced.

Teamwork makes all the difference

The variety of people volunteering for Wiener Tafel gave me another view of our fight to reduce food waste. Our group not only consisted of AIESEC volunteers, but of people from all walks of life. I met young woman from Iran with an Master’s degree in accounting. She volunteers at Wiener Tafel once a week. The man with which I picked up some leftover baked goods at Dunkin’ Donuts (a highlight of the day, naturally), told me he was ashamed that a wealthy country like Austria would allow so much food go to waste. He says he volunteers to help change that.

Together, we were a dynamic group working for towards common cause. And we became friends in the process, so it was a successful and fulfilling day if you ask me!

Small acts can make a change

Whether big or small, you can make a difference too. Whether big or small, your efforts to reduce food waste can help reduce climate change in a time of crisis. At home, you can do so by using leftovers and eating food before it’s too late.

If you want to volunteer at Wiener Tafel, click here for their contact information.

 

Why you should volunteer abroad before you turn 30!

Our twenties are the years we want to learn a lot, love a lot, travel the world from one country to another and meet new people. Though sometimes (most of the time) we don’t always have the money or time to do that. Still, nothing is impossible. Volunteering is great way to do it all in a budget friendly way and the truth is the world we live in needs people to volunteer before they are 30 more then we need it for our personal growth.

Meet new people & Create new memories

Volunteering will allow you to create some of the best memories of your life. It will be all about trying things with new people, in a different place!

The great thing about it is that you’ll meet not only loads of likeminded people but also completely different characters from different backgrounds as well. This is what adds to the fun to your experience: you’ll be able to learn so much from them just by talking and the chances are you will remain in contact for life!

Career booster: It will look great on your CV!

If you’ve just left college or still studying, volunteering abroad will look impressive on your resume! When you want to learn some skills that might be useful for your future career, you can always find opportunities that will contribute to them. Volunteering also a good way to show what’s near and dear to your heart and you can adapt to new environment or comfortable with trying new things important to you and show that you’re more than willing to try new things. The perfect message to put across!

Get out of your comfort zone!

Try things you’ve never tried before, say yes to everything (almost) and do your best to get the most out of your experience. Try new foods or learn a language, talk to as many different people as you can and take these experience home when you return at the end of your time in that new environment. That’s how volunteering builds you as a person by getting you out of your comfort zone a little.

#YOLO

Do it while you can! You are never going to live this day again, be in the same age you are now or have time same amount of time you have at the moment! Maybe ths there is a country that you’ve always wanted to visit, or a language you want to learn. A volunteering experience will help you cross a few things off of your bucket list, that is for sure! Embrace your freedom and enjoy it while you can!

Make a difference

Actions speak louder than words and volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to the world we live in. Use the oppurtunities you have in life to make a difference in a community or a person’s life that might not have them. Whether it’s for children, environment or something else, giving your time and skills to those who need it and appreciate it will create a great difference in your life as well.

Leave behind your laptop and phone (for a while)

In our world today, people spend hours tuned into social media on their phones and laptops, and a couple more to e-mails, Netflix and daily to-dos! That’s a huge amount of time that you spend staring on a screen. Volunteering is the perfect excuse to escape that a little! You can get out there, get back to nature and stay there for a while. Feel the sun on your face, the sand between your toes, the wind through your hair – whatever does it for you!

Learn about issues going on in the world

It’s very easy to get lost in a city life , in your daily routines and forget that the world is a big place with lots of different people and realities you can learn to love.
Sometimes, being in a completely different place, sharing it with a whole new range of people can introduce you to another way of seeing some of the issues going on around us. You don’t even have to spend your time discussing politics or world issues whole day. Simply getting out in the world is an amazing way to open up your eyes and perspective. You’ll never regret it!

Capture the moment! Take notes and photos.

We all love taking photos so why not turn your travelling experience into a photo diary or even a project? Keep a journal or go online and share your experiences on a travelling blog! This way you can capture the breathtaking moments, log all your favorite memories and go through them when you are home. This is also great to take your loved ones through your experience and show them what you’ve seen and lived!

 

Written by Asli Ertem

Volunteering at Augarten: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

As part of the Mahlzeit Austria project, some volunteers are working at Augarten, a community garden in Vienna. There, they are promoting sustainable food growth and the value of growing one’s own food to Austrian youth. I spoke to volunteers Anna, Alessia, Elena and Solmaz to learn more about their experience at Augarten. Whether they are in the gardens or cooking with children, they loved every minute of it.

Choosing Augarten

“I wanted to participate in a project which sustained the environment” says Alessia, an AIESEC volunteer working at Augarten.  It seems all the volunteers are interested in environmental initiatives and are grateful to be spreading awareness of such an important issue.

Some Instagram worthy desserts made by AIESEC volunteers with children at Augarten.

Promoting food sustainability is not the only reason for choosing this project, though: “I chose Augarten because I love working with children, and I wanted to learn something new about different kinds of plants,” says Elena.  Whether one wants expand their knowledge of food waste, work with children or simply enjoy the great outdoors, participants share a variety of goals and motivations. There are many reasons for wanting to participate in an AIESEC experience, after all.

However, there are certain qualities that embody every AIESEC volunteer working on the Mahlzeit Austria project.

A curious spirit, desire for self-improvement and eagerness to make a change are all things I’ve noticed in my fellow volunteers, and they exist in Augarten volunteers as well.

I know this because these volunteers are teaching children the benefits of growing their own food by maintaining a garden and cooking with the foods they grow. Tending to the garden and the wildlife in the greenhouse, children receive a hands-on lesson in local agriculture.

Education for a sustainable future

According to the United Nations’ goal for responsible consumption and production, developed countries must “ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.” This goal also emphasizes that we must reduce “global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.”

This is how work at Augarten is contributing to these goals.

Children at Augarten prepare food using fresh, local produce.

Growing one’s own food is a welcome option that encourages people to eat more fresh foods while reducing food waste. When we buy food from faraway lands, we must consider more than just the food itself: every mode of transportation has an environmental cost. Also, fruits and vegetables are often unnecessarily wrapped in packaging for protection during transportation as well as to preserve their freshness.

When we grow our own food, we avoid all of that! 🙂

Greenpeace recommends that we “avoid food that was grown according to industrial agriculture principles.” Instead, “choose organic, fresh, local, unprocessed foods when available.” By teaching Austrian youth how to grow their own food (and enjoy doing it), Anna, Alessia, Elena and Solmaz are also encouraging a more sustainable future that values homegrown, healthy eating. Oh, and it also helps save the planet, which is pretty important, too.

Loving every minute of it

Volunteers have learned a great many things while working here. “I am learning to overcome my physical limit,” Anna tells me, while Alessia adds, “I’ve become more confident in my capabilities.” Developing confidence in one’s abilities is an important step along the journey to becoming a leader, and AIESEC aims to do just that through meaningful experiences.

Until next time!

 

Seminars for project volunteers: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Delivering workshops is not the only thing Mahlzeit Austria project volunteers are doing this Summer. When they are not teaching youth about food waste or working with Wiener Tafel, they are improving their skills through workshops hosted by Pulswerk and project runners. Volunteers are taught to improve their own workshops and see the value in self improvement as they become global citizens.

Workshop by Pulswerk

Pulswerk, founded in 2012 by the Austrian Institute of Ecology, has partnered with AIESEC on this project to promote the United Nations’ twelfth SDG (Responsible Consumption and Production). This week, they met at the Pulswerk office to share their thoughts on the project thus far and discuss areas of improvement.

Mahlzeit Austria volunteers receive a workshop delivered by Sabrina Lichtnegger of Pulswerk.

It’s important that we value the process self improvement and work actively to deliver excellent workshops to Austrian youth. We are the leaders of tomorrow, after all!

Meeting with Anna and Valerie

The Mahlzeit Austria team also met with project head Anna Balashova and AIESEC team member Valerie Christ to discuss similar subject matter. At the AIESEC Vienna office, we reflected on the project’s first couple of weeks and openly shared what could have gone better. As a “part 2” of our meeting with Pulswerk, ways to implement our ideas into the workshops were discussed.

Volunteers discuss how to improve their workshops on food waste.

Lessons learned

Firstly, we all agreed that we are fortunate to be teaching to children a topic that is so important to our future. Volunteers have a positive attitude and we hope the children feed off of that (no pun intended!). But we also agreed some things can be improved, and we shared those too.

For instance, more activities should be implemented into the workshops to engage children and create a more dynamic presentation. While the current workshops already includes some activities, it was decided that more could be added to make them even more fun.

We all know that children under 10 have limited attention spans, so a long PowerPoint presentation would feel more like a lecture than anything else. And who needs that, especially during the Summer? We want to make food waste an interesting topic, because it’s an important one.

Here’s a list of ways we decided could make the workshops more engaging for children:

  1. Games
  2. Quizzes
  3. Dances or other physical activities
  4. Arts and crafts
  5. Music (song about food waste, for instance)

A few of these ideas will be implemented into the workshops to help children stay focused and absorb more information about food waste.

The importance of reflection and improvement

When reflecting on these team meetings, fellow volunteer Elena says, “they are actually useful. We can meet all together and discuss.” As we worked together, we got a little bit further along on our journey to self-improvement. Being in Vienna on this project has taught us that while we should always do our best, improvement is an ongoing process.

While the workshops on food waste to children were good to begin with, they can always be made more effective. So it seems to me that self-improvement was the theme of this week, and we’re sure to see a lot more of it before the project is over.