Reinvent Yourself

Most people plan everything ahead. They count how many years they will study, what field they would like to work in and how much they want to earn. Sometimes, however, we cannot plan everything ahead because life changes constantly. Who is to say what will happen in 6 months or in 1 year? The most important thing is to stay flexible and work on ourselves.

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

Another thing we do too much is compare ourselves to others. Sometimes in life we will finish a race first or get a better grade on an exam than someone else but those achievements mean nothing if we just use them to compare ourselves with others. We shouldn’t look at how others are doing we should just look at how we can improve and reinvent ourselves.

The only person we should compare ourselves to is our past self.

But since our lives are so mapped out and we are always staying on track, how and when do we really have time to challenge ourselves? We have to take the time. Go on a trip to see a different culture, do something for other people, take a break from that daily routine and do something new. We don’t learn anything about ourselves, doing the same old things over and over again. The moment when you are put in a new environment and are doing things that you’ve never done or even thought were possible – that’s when you grow as a person and those situations help you to figure out who you are and what you want. In AIESEC we can help you to gain these kinds of experiences.

You could go abroad for our Global Volunteer Program, and help out at a social project somewhere in the world where people are less fortunate than you. Being in an environment like that will make you appreciate all that you have and maybe even teach you a thing or two about how being grateful for what you have, which is something we often forget to do. You can do all of this, while contributing to the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.

If you think you would rather stay here in Austria but still would like to contribute in some way, you could become a member of AIESEC and help make these social projects possible for other people and send people abroad to have these experiences, all while furthering your personal and professional development.

If you want more information or would like to sign up directly, you can do so here

It’s important to follow our dreams and strive to achieve our goals, but if we don’t even know who we are, how can we know what we want?

 

Reflect Upon Yourself

2016 has been a big year. From the presidential elections of the United States of America to the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, to Beyonce’s Superbowl performance – a lot of things happened this year. We can only move on to the next year and hope that it will be even better, right?

WRONG.

Every person goes through a journey throughout the year. Things happen that you didn’t expect, you try out new things and you make mistakes. But what is all this for if we don’t learn from it?

Do you think that if you forgot you made a mistake you would do it again? The chances are pretty high.

As we welcome a new year, we have to take some moments to reflect upon what has happened in this year. What have you achieved, what are you proud of, what are you disappointed in, what have you learned? These are all questions that can help you to understand what you have done this year and really make sure to get the most out of your experiences. Because if you take all the knowledge you acquired in 2016 and start the year with that, then 2017 will have to be an even more amazing year.

“Self-reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say and do certain things… then better yourself!”

We cannot learn from our mistakes of the past if we don’t look back and analyze what has happened. So today, on the 31st of December 2016, the last day of the year, I urge you to take a moment to think about yourself and your past and what that means for your future.

Happy new year!

 

Go Further

Have you ever noticed the “Go Further” in the corner of each of our Facebook posts? Or on our website pages? Ever wondered what it means?

“If you aren’t moving forward, you’re falling behind”

In AIESEC in Austria, we want to encourage young people to go further. Further than their regular studies or jobs, further than where their comfort zones end, and indeed, to go further than the borders of their country. Only then, they can grow. We want to empower young people to develop their self-awareness, solution orientation, and world citizenship, and then, in turn, to go even further, and empower others to do the same.

AIESEC offers a platform for young people to do just this. Through each of our exchanges and team experiences, we give young people practical experience in challenging environments, and with this, the chance to explore their own potential and develop leadership qualities in themselves and others. And it all starts with the conscious choice to go further.

Be it through a volunteer experience, through a professional internship or through a startup experience abroad, challenge yourself to go further than the minimum, and to develop yourself a little every day.

You can start right now, with a Global Entrepreneur experience in a startup abroad!

Challenging Myself

By Anita Zivkovic, President of AIESEC in Austria for the term 2016-2017, having started her AIESEC journey in Belgrade, Serbia in 2011.


Change is not always a good thing, but it can be even better. I’ve always believed that every change is there to teach us something new and to expand ourselves. Whenever I feel comfortable in one place, life is always bringing new environments and new lessons to learn and develop with.

Being part of AIESEC for five years has been an amazing experience. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of people from different countries, different backgrounds, but with the same vision for the future: a future of peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. In the last five years I had the chance to work in eight different positions — this is my eighth. I even changed city and country. Whenever I look back at my career in AIESEC, I start using this metaphor that AIESEC is as if you would have your life on fast-forward mode on TV.

When I joined, back in 2011, I was starting my second year of studies. I didn’t have much knowledge or working experience, but throughout the last few years, I went from having no experience, to going on business meetings with different companies, even having meetings in different languages. I was even project manager of an event with people from 120 different countries, which was very challenging. In just six months, I learned a lot about project management, budgeting, making agendas for events, keeping in mind logistics of an event, and how to make sure that everything is professional and in place for 20 000 visitors in my city’s biggest shopping mall. And then I realized that after gaining the knowledge in project management, since I was still studying, I could now actually better understand what the textbooks in my economics class trying to explain to us, how to use Gantt chart and other tools – because I had actually tried them in real life as well.

Since AIESEC is a platform, and it is providing opportunities for people who are willing to challenge themselves, I decided that I could still improve working with people and that I would really like to see the combination of organizing people, making sure that they are satisfied, and having them in the right place for organization, so I applied for a position in Human Resources. For two years I was working in this area – first on the local level and then leading this area nationally in an organization of 800 people. Wow! I was directly responsible for their experiences. I was actually working with people who were there to develop themselves through developing others – and I was responsible.

Afterwards, I decided that I was challenging myself, but two years in same area and working in the same country where people have similar mindsets was starting to become my comfort zone. I’ve met amazing people and through their progress in the organization and their stories, I was very happy to also see my personal progress. I was working, then failing, then trying again and then succeeding again.

I applied for a completely different country with a totally different mindset. I wanted to challenge myself and to see what my contribution would be there, how I could develop others and what I could learn about others and myself.

And here I am now. Being a CEO in a different country, developing an organization and the people in it. Trying, tying, trying, failing, failing, trying and succeeding and then everything all over again.

AIESEC is a platform. It gives you an opportunity, and you can decide to change something, to challenge yourself and to see where will you end up. To learn, but to learn with the real resources, real people, real time. To learn from others and to develop them. I have the incredible privilege to work in a team with people from 5 different countries, to learn together with them and to develop them on their journey.

AIESEC has challenged me for five years. Every time I felt comfortable, a new opportunity popped up, and I decided to take it. What about you?

Solution-orientedness is not just for your resume

By now most of us have realized it it is not enough anymore just to make it out of university with above average grades and a warm recommendation from a professor who you kind of seemed to get on well with. The job market wants you to be so much more. Summer internships at prestigious company A, volunteering in some far-off third world country, fluency in a couple of languages, mad IT-skills and on top of that leadership positions in dozens of clubs, societies and organisations.

It’s easy just to write this off as a game of buffing up your resume and for some part also your ego, but there is a lot of value in striving to experience more than just the ivory tower that is your university. This is what we call “practical experience” – “learning by doing”. Something we not only stand for, but value in AIESEC.
In a nutshell AIESEC is an exchange organisation. Our volunteering and internship opportunities abroad are created by students for students. It is a very daunting process – after all sending people abroad is not your typical waiting-tables-student-job. It is an understatement to say that not everything runs amazingly in our organisation. On a normal basis AIESECers are confronted with everything from minor glitches to this-might-get-us-sued scenarios (fishy things happen when you work with legal documents – I’m just saying: visas and contracts).
When you’re in AIESEC you feel like you step into an exam unprepared. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Actually that’s the whole point of it. There is merit to acing exams, but there is really nothing more fulfilling to be confronted with a difficult scenario, rising up to the occasion and giving it your all to solve it. There will be no red pen that will mark out that you were wrong. When you’re confronted with real life situations, you are never wrong, you just haven’t figured out the right way yet. You have all the freedom in the world to get up, brush it off and find a new solution that will get you what you want and where you want to be.
Being in AIESEC has shown me that there is no such thing as “coming prepared”. If anything our future is filled with uncertainty. Will we live in a dystopia run by dubious business tycoons where robots will wipe out the human workforce? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will be able take it in my stride to face problems, challenges and crises that seem unsurmountable. Being solution-oriented in this case doesn’t mean being armed with academic degrees, internships under my belt and mad IT-skills to combat robots who will steal my future job (though I’ve been reassured that robots won’t be replacing lawyers any soon). Solution-orientatedness is not a set of skills you get through “practical experience”. It’s an attitude – an approach – you adapt after time and again being confronted to difficult situations that is more than just trying to remember who battled whom in 202 BC in an exam hall.
When it comes to the debate of why we should stock up our resume with all the experience in the world. It’s not to have a flimsy piece of paper that screams “I’m prepared for the world”. Whether or not you’re “prepared” for all of the world’s challenges boils down to your willingness to take the plunge into cold water, regardless of whether or not you came prepared, and knowing that you only need to make one choice: sink or swim?

By Hoang Anh Nguyen

 

What happened 2015 in AIESEC in Austria?

2015 already ended, but every ending is the start of something new. Now, reflecting of what it has been, we know 2015 has been a good year with many improvements and milestones.

Here is a short overview:

Some Numbers and Facts

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In 2015 were able to provide a total amount of 192 international exchanges, giving all those exchange participants a chance to develop themselves while doing purposeful work, abroad or in Austria. Our incoming volunteer projects even had an increase of over 35% in participation compared to 2014, while our outgoing corporate internship program, Global Talent, could improve by impressive 40% compared to the previous year. But these are not only numbers; these are life-changing experiences that we, as a youth organization, succeeded in delivering, in only one year, to people from our generation.

Introduction of Global Entrepreneur

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This year we were proudly introducing a new program – Global Entrepreneur. program enables students to find an internship in an entrepreneurial environment abroad and to gather tons of experience. Furthermore, through this program, we enable start-ups from Austria to Austria to have in their teams highly motivated and outstanding students from abroad.

Amazing events

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This year we had events both for students and companies. We organized focused workshops for students (e.g. workshop “How to write a successful CV”), or business networking events like “Career Days” or “Consulting Challenge”. Besides that, we had also events that promote cultural exchange like “Global Village”, where students from different nationalities, who came in Austria for our volunteering projects, prepared traditional dishes from their respective countries. With those events we did everything we could to foster cross-cultural understanding.

All in all it can be said that 2015 has been a very successful year for AIESEC in Austria, but we don’t want to settle at successful – we want to strive for excellence, so let’s see what 2016 will bring for us!

AIESEC Resolutions 2016

As a new year approaches us, both individuals and companies reflect on their plans for the future. AIESEC takes a step further and, as an organisation, sets clear milestones every five years in order to come closer to the achievement of our organisation’s mission, peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. The end of this year meant the completion of our 2015 vision, but it also marked the establishment of the new milestone, AIESEC 2020.

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The reasons for initiating AIESEC 2020 is quite simple.The key to achieving long-term goals is by having a clear strategic direction. The new plan can be seen as a refreshment of AIESEC’s earnestness: Giving leadership development to youth with an accurate plan.

 

The three AIESEC 2020 statements are self-explanatory and underline the meaning of the organisation as a global youth movement.

  1. Shaping what we do around what the world needs
  2. Growing disruptively 
  3. Being accessible to everyone, everywhere

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The first statement indicates that it is essential for the organisation to be fast in responding to the world’s trends. In 2016, AIESEC wants to align to the global necessities with the help of Youth Speak, a youth insight survey. This global movement focuses on understanding what hopes and challenges the youth is focusing on and what issues they are ready to act upon. By that, young people have the opportunity to provide decision makers with the opinion of how they envision the world. Their insight will make an impact on how to adapt to the world and work upon the first goal.

The second statement expresses the wish to expand more and more on the existing market, and by that, also to create new markets. Furthermore, it also means to promote innovative ideas and to elaborate on the point that standards lead to satisfaction. To achieve that, it is important to ask the question, “How can we engage Millennials to take actions?”. This helps understand how to contribute to the goal of engaging more and more young people and by that, it enables us to truly be a Global Youth Movement – Broadening our perspectives on numerous fields leads to being able to make an impact and influence more of the global situation.

The third statement hints to a limitless AIESEC world, without boundaries towards physical or virtual engagement with the organisation. As a Global Youth Movement, it is essential to make sure that we can reach as many young people as possible. This is why in 2016, we want to enable exchange of ideas, innovation and collaboration and be relevant to any young person in a flexible, attractive and engaging approach. To ensure that the 2020 vision will truly have an impact on AIESEC and on the world, concrete goals will be finalized by the end of summer 2016.
The new year in AIESEC means to bring us closer to engaging and developing every young person in the world. The map to achieving the goals is already there. What follows is taking this path and constantly optimizing it on the way. Let us look forward to a challenging journey!

AIESEC Values- what do we believe in

In a world of change, where rules seem to renew day by day, a value scale can be easily overthrown. But in spite of the oscillatory trend of society’s development, AIESEC chooses to stay faithful to the values it has been following ever since it was founded, pursuing the aim of making the world a better place.

AIESEC reunites young people from all the corners of the world who have a common goal: shape their character in order to become aware of the world’s issues and learn how to deal with them. With other words, shape the future leaders our world needs. The ultimate goal is striving for Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind’s Potential, having The Six Core Values as basis of one’s actions.

Following a well-planned organizational chart enables us to walk in a team member’s, team leader’s or even a vice-president’s shoes, teaching us how to handle different situations and how to make decisions for the welfare of all our members. By delegating responsibilities to the new members and encouraging them to deliver exchange experience, we try to develop the leadership potential in each of them, as Activating Leadership is one of our values. We take responsibility for our words, choices and promises, every decision we make being based on the very important value Demonstrating Integrity.

Our decision-making considers the needs of our organization and the future generation development, being based on our value Acting Sustainably. Moreover, we learned that adding joy in what we do and creating a friendly and encouraging working atmosphere makes our achievements even more valuable, therefore we strongly believe in Enjoying Participation.

Interacting with students from 126 countries has given us the chance to meet different lifestyles and has taught us that communication is crucial among the members of an international structure. As our organization is present on each continent, we all learn to see life’s aspects from many points of view and encourage every member in their contribution. By holding international conferences and partnering companies who support our vision, we see Living Diversity as a solid value to believe in.

For almost 7 decades, AIESEC has been working on improving intercultural connections, managing through its programs to provide young people an insight of what world itself means. But what is more important, the exchange experience have given trainees the will and motivation of improving living aspects of today for a better tomorrow. This means that what drives us is the constant will of pushing one’s limits, in order to deliver the highest quality performance. With other words, staying faithful to Striving for Excellence in everything we do!
Having the Six Core Values as basis of one’s behavior and being aware of how do they influence not only our work, but our lives, makes us strongly believe that through our actions, we can help each other in developing our leadership potential and change our world to a better one.

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AIESEC Structure

For almost 70 years, since it was founded after the World War II, AIESEC has been giving students the chance of developing their skills and shaping their personalities in order to become the leaders the world needs. This has been possible by keeping a permanent connection with AIESEC members worldwide, creating a network of communication and mutual help which goes beyond the cultural borders.

AIESEC is a global, non-political and not-for-profit youth organization which was founded in 1948 by a group of young European people (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden). Its fundamentals were shaped by the social, political and economic climate of that time. The aim was setting a worldwide network, aspiring to Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind’s Potential, so that young people all over the world can have the opportunity to develop their personalities in a peaceful climate, delivering the best version of themselves.

Our organization is present on each continent and counts 126 national committees and over 70,000 members. The Global Committee is in Rotterdam and consists of 21 members who oversee the activities of all committees worldwide. At the national level, the Member Committees are the ones which oversee the Local Committees in a given country. Moreover, the Member Committees are responsible for organizing more than 500 training & leadership development conferences every year.

A Local Committee enables students to take the first step in this organization, by being Team Members, Team Leaders or Vice-presidents in every Local Committee’s departments. Here they learn how to act according to the Six Core Values in AIESEC (Striving for Excellence, Demonstrating Integrity, Activating Leadership, Acting Sustainably, Enjoying Participation, Living Diversity) and most importantly, develop in their personalities the characteristics of leadership. Through the Leadership Development Model we want our members to develop their self-awareness, to adopt a solution-oriented attitude, to be able to express their ideas clearly and to empower other people to take action.

When the new members start their journey as Team Members, they take responsibility of their position by learning to work in a team and getting familiar with the general working pace. On the other hand, the Team Leaders have the responsibility of delegating tasks and making their members aware of their role in the team, tracking their achievements and most importantly, integrating them in the Local Committee.

The Vice-presidents are in charge of coordinating the operations in their area, but most importantly, give people within the chance of an amazing experience. “As a Vice-president you have a big responsibility: to supervise the entire department and track the implementation of different strategies. But more than that, you have the power to grow your members, to help them find their inner passion and develop their skills. What bigger accomplishment if not seeing them after a while, empowered and thankful for the experience you gave to them?” says Andra Enache, the Vice-president of Marketing in AIESEC in Bucharest.

By encouraging students to participate in international conferences and through delivering exchange experiences, we strive to develop the leadership potential in each of them and make them aware that every step they take can have a huge impact even in a non-familiar climate.

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Why we do what we do

It has been 67 years since AIESEC was founded in 1948 during a trying time in Europe, with a mission to “expand the understanding of a nation by expanding the understanding of the individuals changing the world one person at a time.”

AIESEC was founded on a vision of friendship and unity – a vision of a unified Europe. This may sounds familiar. It is also the basis of the European Union, founded to make sure Europe would never again be torn apart by war and dispute. AIESEC was founded by students who were looking for a solution to the same problem. The goal was to ensure peace through mutual understanding of other cultures and countries.

The idea came in 1948, when students across Europe were talking about a program to facilitate a cross-cultural exchange as they were already carrying out internship abroad, if only mostly at their own initiative. However, with the tumults of World War II this exchange came to an abrupt halt. Shortly after the war, that had tarnished the relationship and trust of Europe’s countries, had ended, in a damaged and struggling Europe, AIESEC was founded.

Amongst the founding members where students from seven nations: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. In March of 1949 the first international conference was held to discuss the modus operandi and goal of AIESEC’s cause.

With programs such as Global Talent and Global Citizen (more on these to come – see our next posts) AIESEC is still sending individuals abroad to broaden their horizon and sharpen their understanding of different cultures. Every since the first year of existence, where 89 students were exchanged among the member nations this number has exponentially grown.

In 2014 the number of exchanges facilitated by AIESEC stands at 26.000! This number can only be delivered by the dedication and work of its 70.000 members in 126 countries. Today all around the world AIESEC members are working to achieve this one common goal; to make the world a better place though the exchange of individual minds, cultures and ideas.