Why I joined and why I stayed

Starting university was like jumping into cold water for me. I had been a pretty good student in school (even though I, like many other teens, struggled with procrastination) and despite being an introvert I  managed, over the course of eight years to be able to talk freely and openly with everyone in my class.

You can imagine that 18-year-old me thought they were ready for life. Talking to people, effortlessly passing exams, life would just get easier, right?

Needles to say, things were a bit different than what I had envisioned. The first semester of university showed me that in real life you only have five minutes to get to know a person and not eight years as I had needed before. I learned that passing exams requires a lot of persistent work and studying during random energy spikes just gets you through STEOP, if you’re lucky. I realized I wasn’t actually ready for the real world: I was scared of approaching people, I was not capable of managing my time and there was no one who knew any better because all of my peers found themselves in similar situations.

Time passed and I stayed the same until one day, when I witnessed the lecture presentation of a student who was part of AIESEC. He somehow hit home on all my insecurities, at the same time mentioning that the organization could help one improve in those areas and develop skills I didn’t even know I would need. This seemed intriguing so I signed up and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my university career.

I met amazing people who didn’t just help me become a better version of myself, but who also became great friends and my main reason to stay.

What occurred to me recently is that I will eventually have to leave too, that at some point I will finish university and go on to do and learn other things. In the end, AIESEC enables you to be a leader and, as a leader, it is your duty to go out into the world and help other people make the world a better place. The organization gave me a lot of things – development, community and impact – and the best way to give something back is to go further and use the things I’ve learned.

People say you’re only young once, so you should make the best out of it. While that’s  definitely true, I learned that in order to make the best out of something, you have to first be the best version of yourself. That’s where AIESEC helped me the most and I can only advise you to go through the same experience, because even if you won’t end up being the very best version of yourself,  you will for sure be better than you were in the beginning, and isn’t that the aspiration of us all?

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?

A Roaming Soul

‘’What are the stories you haven’t yet lived to tell?’’

That question was written on a wall in one of the busiest streets of Athens that I used to walk to reach my university. I saw it one morning almost five years ago, and it really bothered my train of thought.

I had just entered university, after trying very hard with my school exams, and I was supposed to spend the next five years focusing on my studies, taking my degree and finding a job, like any respectable student in Greece should do.  

One day though, two girls entered the classroom promoting a youth organization called AIESEC and specifically they invited us to participate in their Global Volunteer program this semester, and go work abroad on social projects for 6 weeks.

The question I told you earlier popped in my mind and immediately they had my attention. My friend Stefanos and I, went afterwards in their office, we got the basic info, and just like that, one month from that day, we were in Serbia, working on social business projects and career orientation for students that had just finished university there.

We spent almost two months in a foreign country, living alone at 19, discovering independency, new people, new cultures and most importantly, ourselves, while contributing to a better cause and supporting students in Serbia to go after their dreams and start their own business and career. Definitely a story worth being told, don’t you agree?

Coming back, I was curious about the organization, so I asked those two girls that had just given me the opportunity to live an amazing experience, what else I could do while I was back in Greece?

Well, not to take you now through the entire journey I had in AIESEC, but I started by being a team leader of a team that worked to create those kinds of social projects in Greece, and somehow ended up four years later as a team leader again. But this time, leading the national team of the entire organization in Greece. And in order to close the circle in AIESEC, after finishing that, I went abroad again, in a social project supporting refugee integration in Austria, where I am currently.

I am now 23, and I’ve spent the last five years not being an ordinary, and definitely not an average, student. I travelled the world (literally), created a huge network of people that somehow I know they will be there for me, put into practice what I learned in the university and learned more by doing, equipped myself with soft and hard skills and actively contributed in making the world a better place.

And you know what the best part of it was? I know who I am. I know what I value, what I am passionate about, what makes me get out of bed and work my butt off, what I believe in, and I’ve created a path of discovering what I want to do in my life.

So I will leave you with the same question that sparked thoughts and actions to me that day, only hoping it will do the same for you.

What are the stories you haven’t yet lived to tell?

By Renata Pylarinou

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

 

How I developed someone who was 8000km away from me

Hello. I’m Mihai and I’m a Romanian student in Vienna. I study Economics and Social Sciences at Vienna University of Economics and Business. I like to think that I’m an open and energetic person who usually likes challenges and exploring other cultures.

However, it wasn’t until this volunteering experience that all these were put to the test.

When I left for Brazil, it was the first time I went abroad completely alone. Understandably, I started my experience with many reasons to be excited but equally many reasons to be anxious about what was going to happen.

Overall it turned out to be a marvelous experience. And it was not the visiting part that made it worth remembering for, but rather the challenges I faced and the inner journey I went through in those six weeks.

Trying to teach English and civic education to children coming from a tough environment without speaking the same language was definitely not easy, but it enabled me to identify my purpose, my passion and most importantly it gave me the opportunity to live up to my values. I had an impact and I developed someone who was more than 8000 km from home. For me, simply mindblowing!

Why do I think such a journey would be beneficial for everyone?

Because one will meet beautiful people and make friends. One will experience a vibrant culture as well as culture shocks and clashes and the amazing feeling of relevancy and importance.

All these things create the perfect mix that shapes who one is as a person.  They help one identify what he/she strives for and the values he/she wants to live. They help one find out who he/she wants to become by getting him/her out of their bubble.

In the end, giving back to other people will not only help them but will also impact you and make you develop further.

How to become your true self

becomeI’ve always been a kind of person who is doing extra activities besides the must-dos. And I was desperate about what is going on. About my generation around me and about how I cannot help the situating, where the world is going, where my country is going. I did not know what I want to do, who or what I will become as a person at all.

Then I started university, and soon after the first semester started, I saw a girl from my high school sharing an application form of a student organization, called AIESEC. She seemed so enthusiastic, I needed to ask her what this whole thing was. The answer I got? ‘Just apply, it will be fun!’ Amazing sales skills, right? Anyways, I applied, I gave it a try. I tried to get ready for my interview, though the information I saw on the site of my Local Committee was a bit blurry… But I went for the interview and on that weekend I found myself in the induction camp of AIESEC. I’ve just become a member! I got to know what this organization is doing… and I fell in love with it! I felt so motivated, ready to act. As if finally the solution for all the things I worried about was all in my hands. Not to mention all the people around me, who cared about the same issues as I did. I felt so much inspiration in that room.

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In my first role I was put in a team where my task was mainly promotion, and helping people to go abroad as a volunteer, become a change agent. I met amazing people and we changed many lives together, we did things that actually matter. It was quite funny that during my interview I was asked to prioritize the three main roles I could have in AIESEC, and marketing was the very last one. I didn’t, at any time thought about dealing with marketing. But these guys knew that was my place.

become

Later, I became the leader of the team in the same area, where I understood what being a leader is, I learnt essential HR processes – which most of the companies don’t fully use, unfortunately, so I became smarter than some HR assistants. And I absolutely loved my team. I saw that group of people become a team. This was when I really understood what teamwork is about. What universities try to teach with group assignments, but it’s nowhere close to the real teamwork I experienced, the one that is happening in the corporate world as well.

As the top of my carrier, I became one of the Vice Presidents of my Local Committee, where I was responsible for the incoming voluntary program, Talent Management and Marketing (yes, marketing, and I love it!).

I helped numerous people come to my country, my city to change our society, to teach the youngsters here that our belief, skin color, way of thinking may be different, but different does not mean bad, moreover, it means diversity, it broadens our mind and the way we see our world as well.

Become

I learnt even more about HR, its role in an organization. I found out that this area is something that really fits my personality, it’s what I meant to do. Immediately I started writing my thesis in a topic related to HR. But what is more important is that I could let my creativity flow and make my ideas become reality.

And marketing, my friend. I found out that I’m pretty good at it, actually. All the promotions I did resulted in over 120% plan fulfillment. Since I have become an alumni, I’ve been assisting my boyfriend’s father’s brand new company as a marketinger, planning all his appearances, helping him to become successful. I’m also planning to start my own company which would help small and middle size companies with their marketing activities by giving them trainings, creating their brand and online appearances.

AIESEC challenged me, challenged my way of thinking, the way I see the world. Never have I been so proactive as now, after everything I went through as an AIESECer.

And I need to admit – I have become a person that I am proud to be.

Applications for new members are opened. You can apply on this link.

 

Author: Kitti Komoróczyslike za blogere

Kitti is people oriented, music lover, guinea pig owner, HR & marketing addict.

Welcome to the new journey of life

1964769_10205131881873155_775587336003143677_nAlmost three years. Almost 1095 days that I completely feel every kind of emotion and not regret any of them. Just one organization may affect your life flow. Welcome to AIESEC.

Every person has own meaning of life. And when you are becoming an university student you need to make this meaning more clear. It is like instinct. While you are growing up this instinct starts to poke you. Telling you that “You need to clarify me cause I’m the one who can show you what you are going to do in your life” and asking questions as: “What do you want to do?”, “Who do you want to be?” or “And how are you going to do it?”. But we are as the rest of humankind, we don’t like too much questions, and that’s why we want to find the immediate answer just for get rid of them. But just a small part of us is aware that we need to think deeply to answer these questions. Some of us looking for a help which is more practical. For me this help was AIESEC, and still it is.

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AIESEC helps you see a world where young people have the opportunity to understand themselves. With tens of thousands of opportunities in AIESEC network, you can discover and activate your potential. Transform yourself with life changing experiences abroad that will redefine the way you see yourself, and the world.  Is it something that will help you to answer those questions, ha? So from my part I joined AIESEC when I started visiting university. In my first year I worked with disabled children, teaching them English, and we had 25 people from Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Georgia, Estonia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Yes, these people came to my country as volunteers to help disabled children, to give them a chance to know that there are people, besides their doctors and parents, who are trying to help them. I didn’t just have friends from all over the world. I’ve understood that there are no boundaries between people. When you are together to work for one purpose you don’t care from which country you are, you just care about solidarity, cultural understanding, friendship. Those people also taught me that I can do whatever I want. If I want something so much I just need to go for it. I might have obstacles but it doesn’t mean that I have to stop. Because I know I can do that. I did once why I can’t do it again?

Birthday with my international friends from "Break Up the Barriers"

Birthday with my international friends from “Break Up the Barriers”

 

After this project I became a team leader. My job was to recruit the people to AIESEC and tell them why we exist. What is our vision and how we’re trying to achieve it. I had belief from my last experience so this whole Team Leader thing was just perfect job for me. Despite of it, it was also hard. Because you can’t expect from people to be excited like you are when they haven’t gone through the same experiences. Therefore I had to be clear and use the way that they are able to understand why they should be the part of AIESEC. I started to tell them my story and was encouraging them to write their own stories. Thus, we can create more leadership stories for the world.

Now, I’m here in Kosice studying through Erasmus program after 2 years in AIESEC as I wanted to be part of the other international organizations. But to be honest after my first week here, I started to search if there is AIESEC. Because you can’t just end your AIESEC stories like that. It is not something you can just say goodbye. So I decided to move on my AIESEC life. Because this is the place where I may find all my answers, this is the place where I can make positive impact in the world. This is the place where I found my own purpose in my life. I have become a reflection of my experience and I’ll reflect it to empower other people.

Applications for new members are opened. You can apply on this link.

Author: Selin Akayslike za blogere

Selin is exchange addicted, world citizen and sport enthusiastic.

My AIESEC Journey

journeyI am Jenny, an international student from Hong Kong studying my Bachelor in Austria. I joined AIESEC 1.5 years ago, and yes, it is one of the best journeys of my life. I see AIESEC as a youth-run organisation where all people are passionate, inspiring, and open-minded.

One and a half years ago, my friend asked me to join this organization in Krems, which was the new local office. It was not an easy task, as there was a lot of work to be done to make the office sustainable. For example, we have created campaigns, in order to raise the awareness on campus. After one semester of teamwork and perseverance, we grew from 3 people in the local office to 10 people with 10 nationalities. I learned a lot about commitment, and entrepreneurship.

journey

My journey did not end when I left Austria for my Erasmus exchange. I continued it as a member of the Local Committee in Tampere, Finland, because I wanted to try out something different during my exchange semester. I became Vice President of Talent Management. My responsibilities were recruitment, induction of members and also the internal communication in the Local Office. I really enjoyed my work, as my ambition is to work in the field of Human Resources in the future. The experiences built up my confidence in facing people and engaging people in an organisation. Being Vice President opened up a lot of opportunities, including participating in international conferences, leading an international team to achieve goals and strive for excellence, and developing my public speaking and facilitating skills. I became more confident, open-minded, creative, perseverant, and willing to achieve.

journey

Although my term ended in 2015, I believe that there are more things I can learn and achieve in AIESEC. Now my journey continues as I am in National team of AIESEC in Finland, and I am looking forward to more challenges and experiences.

I never expected that I would learn and grow that much when I decided to join this organization. The AIESEC journey is something you really cannot describe by words. I am proud to have become an AIESECer.

 

Applications for new members are opened. You can apply on this link.

Author: Jenny Wongslike za blogere

Jenny is from Hong Kong. She likes to travel, to eat, to meet new people. She believes that ‘Adventure is the essence of life.’ Sisu, a Finnish word, is her favourite. Her mother tongue is Cantonese.

Leader or follower – take responsibility over your legacy

 

Nowadays we live in a world where things seem to have gone a bit wrong: we’re talking poverty,hunger and political and economical instability. All these issues (and many other) are gaining ground in our societies, yet some of our leaders seem to have lost interest in their people.

But that is where AIESEC steps in: we believe that the youth united can build the pillars for a new society. And because we know that believing is not enough, we also chose to act.african-american-869673_960_720

 

The concept of leadership has changed throughout the years so much. If one thinks about it, a leader was always someone who represented the people and ‘lead’ them to a better living. It was someone who did their best for the prosperity of the community. Because they believed that, if the community thrives as a whole, each member of that community will benefit from it and flourish as well. Such simple thinking back then. Well, how about now? Our species is supposed to have evolved, are leaders nowadays (not only on a large scale)? People dedicate themselves to their leaders, but where do they lead the people to?

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Anyhow, it’s not only about leadership. Day by day it seems more difficult to develop oneself because of the environment we live in – the world constantly gets more confusing. What is my place in the world? Such situations make one question him or herself, not to mention their skills. This proves there is always more to it. That is why AIESEC offers a unique way to develop, both professionally and personally. Our programs aim for a different type of approach when it comes to gaining experience in the work field.

 

Nevertheless, the journey AIESEC proposes also a personal, inner journey – finding the work field most suitable for you, or finding a new field to work with. We believe that this kind of focus proves most effective for a work experience: understanding your own self (that is sometimes eclipsed by society) in order to develop and improve professionally. Only when being utterly self-aware will one be able to use their talent and grow.

 

As said before, this world needs new leaders. But people should not wait on a knight in shining armour; they should realise that they don’t need titles to be leaders. What AIESEC does is help them decide what kind of leaders they are. As Gandhi once said: “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.” Of course taking action can be hard and difficult. But nothing can be done without action, so take responsibility over your legacy: go for AIESEC. Decide the type of leader you are and lead.

 

 

Author: Ioana Voineag

ON INTERNSHIPS – THE STRUGGLE IS REAL

There comes that time in a student’s life when he or she gets closer to the ‘real world’ – more responsibilities, more decisions, more burden. One of those burdens is linked to one’s vocation. In this respect deciding on an internship becomes a crucial step at the beginning of the career. Does the field of work fit? Will the time I spend help me in the future? – These struggles appear without doubts at some point. But during that particular time, AIESEC wants to help the youth spread its wings.

In order to support the future generations, AIESEC steps in with an exclusive project called Global Talent. From UK to China or Mexico, this internship program has been making the bond between companies and students from all over the world for a long time now and is always ready for more.

Such an experience assures not only professional development, but also, more important, personal development. While out of their comfort zone, people tend to realize more about the world and about themselves and what they really want in life.

Throughout our life the learning never stops. What is important, though, is that we learn the right things. Here are some of the interns’ thoughts about their experience throughout the program:

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Magdalena Grasser

 

UK – Alpha Card Compact Media

“Considering my professional development it was a very important step in my career. I got valuable insights into working in a professional environment, working independently and into customer relationships. And it made me think about what I want to do in my future life.”

 

Bianca Bauer

 

Mexico – Bosch

Project Mobile Migration – IT department

“I definitely enhanced my Spanish, I learned that there is a big difference in the working culture, although it was the same company. I learned how project management is done in Mexico and how the meeting culture is different.”

 

“It was one of my best experiences of my life. Every young people should really make this experience and work abroad. You can learn so much, which can help you for your whole lifetime in your private as well as professional life.”

Birgit Hoheneder Dublin/Ireland

Hertz European Service Center – Call Center Agent


“As for me it was really difficult to find a suitable internship for my studies I decided to go with AIESEC as they supported and helped me from the first moment on. My expectations as whole were completely met, speaking of the whole experience.”office-594132_960_720

Rus Diana Elena

Xi´an – China, Days Hotel & Suites Xinxing – GRO (Guest relations officer)
“I was always interested in different cultures, to meet new people, to live in different countries and to see different places. These are the main reasons why I decided to take this internship.

I am completely satisfied with all the time spent in China. I enjoyed every day.”

“I would take part again and again and again at any other internship. No matter where it is.”

 

Taking an internship could be an important first step in anyone`s career. For that simple reason, taking an internship abroad makes this first important step even more significant. Shannon L. Alder once said “The only real conflict you will ever have in your life wont be with others, but with yourself.” First, you need to figure yourself out, and then everything will become easier. That is why AIESEC puts forward the program Global Talent.

 

Take the chance – get a grip on your compass and turn this first step into a solid foundation of your future.

 

Author: Ioana Voineag

Summer series: Seeing Graz through another perspective – Part I

Many students decide to spend their summer doing an internship or working abroad. This year, four of them decided to come to Graz: Yassine Amri (Tunisia), Ana Parfión (Spain), Shu Chang (Hong Kong) and Tereza Palasová (Czech Republic). They will report fortnightly on their work experience as exchange students in the Styrian capital.

Yassine and Shu work together at the coffee shop “incafé” from Jugend am Werk, which they describe as “a really beautiful place: nicely decorated, well-equipped and well-arranged”. Yassine adds about his colleagues: “There is Paul who washes the dishes, he is very calm. Hilga who shakes everyday everybody’s hands before they leave and finally my Austrian friend David, who speaks English and does the role of a translator”. Speaking German with clients and colleagues was unexpected, but they find it quite funny and instructive too. Arriving in Graz, meeting their colleagues and the other exchange students was also a peak of their week “we visited many places and the architecture of the city is just astonishing”.

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Tereza and Ana, on the other hand, work together at the Jugend am Werk “Youth Park” in different projects alongside jobseekers, doing activities like gardening, cooking and handmade production. Both are enthusiastic about their workplace and the city they are living in.

“There is a really nice working atmosphere, people are very friendly and the place is well-equipped, I even got invited to a yoga lesson with my colleagues,” says Tereza, who also mentions that one of the main obstacles she had to face was German. She thought that she could use English at work, but in the end she had to speak in German: “It was okay though, because I expected some use of German and therefore I chose a German-speaking country.”Graz_week1_3

Ana says that the main challenge she had to face was getting the other exchange students to open to her. Since they are living together and they go out a lot, their relationship is constantly improving. On the other hand, she likes seeing how much people from different background, ages and nationalities are enjoying their stay in the company. “They are not only doing it for the money, they really love what they do,” says Ana. She also mentions proudly that this week she could even “present an own project to the company”, for which she is still awaiting approval.

The four students have had an interesting week settling in in Graz and getting to know their colleagues and workplaces. In the next few weeks, we will be catching on with their projects and we will see what they are doing!

Author:  Jennet Essid, Giulia Di Pietro

Why I joined AIESEC at Vienna University of Technology

I am Behzard Parvin, an International Student from Iran studying Master of Electrical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology. I joined AIESEC after attending info evening held at Vienna University of Technology. The reason I decided to become a member of this organization was to improve my leadership skills and find new friends along the way, as I was new in the city. Another important driver was that I really wanted to improve my communication skills, as I realized I would need to be better at it in my future if I want to pitch a project or an idea, present myself to a company or communicate my ideas to a group of people.

After working with AIESEC for a semester, I can clearly see a change – I can say that I have gained practical experience and developed many soft skills needed for my future. That is why I decided to continue with my AIESEC experience and am currently the newly elected Vice President in our office at TU, in charge of bringing people from all around to world to an internship in Austria, to teach them more about Austrian culture, lifestyle and uniqueness.

taco-momentsBecoming a vice president opens a lot of possibilities – I will be able to lead a team of people, achieve certain goals and strive for success. This will be a great asset to my future and my career as an Engineer, because one day I wish to be in a management position where I will have to lead a team. The skills such as critical thinking, negotiating, interacting with the higher management and many others that I will develop now, will come in handy one day and make my job much easier.

While I was studying in Iran, I have been active in many extra-curricular activities but by joining AIESEC I learned more about how to communicate effectively not just to people from Austria or Europe, but to people of diverse backgrounds. The team in AIESEC is a multicultural one and counts more than 30 different nationalities within 4 local offices in Vienna. Understanding cultural diversity and different mindsets and meeting people from all around the world by attending numerous conferences, was one of the greatest experiences I gained as a member of AIESEC.

5 Reasons to Become a Youth Talent this semester! – AIESEC

1. “Living diversity”

Not only is this one of the organization’s key values, it also pretty much describes the possibilities AIESEC has to offer. No matter if your interests lie within Sales, Project Management, Marketing & PR or Human Resources – there are many different projects waiting for you to join in on and bring new ideas. And this is what diversity is all about, is it not? Connecting people with different mindsets and visions. Can it be difficult to work with many talented people, who all seem to know it all the best? Yes, definitely. Why bother to join anyways? It’s more than worth it, being part of an inspirational team like that, because in the end we are all striving to be the best possible versions of ourselves.

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2. AIESEC helps you to travel the world and connect with different cultures

Going abroad for an internship with the organization you’re working in! Can it get any better than that? You can select between numerous countries worldwide AIESEC in Austria is partnering with (Brazil, Peru, Greece, Switzerland, Ireland, Malaysia etc.). And if you are not interested in being away for a longer time, you can attend one of the various conferences AIESEC offers. They take place on national, but also international level. An amazing opportunity to work on your personal skills whilst simultaneously discovering another beautiful place, such as Istanbul for example. And even by staying in Vienna you can connect with people from various countries and sharpen your intercultural understanding as AIESEC is formed by students coming from many different cultural backgrounds.

3. It’s all about the networking …

Heard this sentence before?! Yes of course, especially when it comes to Business & Economics there is no such thing as the easy way to success. Forgive the disillusionment but nowadays it is not enough anymore to complete a bachelor’s degree in exactly six semesters with outstanding grades. There is much more to it. Practical work experience you experienced and connections you’ve made during that time play an important role. This is also where AIESEC can help you. Not only will you gain a lot of experience by completing different business related tasks, but you will also get the chance to meet many inspiring people and attend trainings, workshops and business meetings.

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4. Step towards your future career

As simple as it may sound -­ working in a student organization is also an extra point you can add to your CV. Once, an AIESEC member held a lecture presentation at a beginners course at WU and after he had finished the very well-­liked and respected professor encouraged the students  to give AIESEC a try. He  mentioned that being part of AIESEC can significantly improve your career chances. No need to say more, right?!

5. It’s a fun world …

Exactly! Nowadays we are so busy with striving for perfection, working and keeping up with everyone else. But as a matter of fact, we only live once and we should also not forget to have fun. And this is a big part of AIESEC, apart from the things you learn and the opportunities you get. You are going to meet amazing people with whom you can have a great time, share unforgettable memories and maybe even gain  some life-long friendships.

So what are you waiting for?! Give yourself the chance and start your journey with AIESEC.

For more information you can check the website: www.aiesec.at, our local Facebook pages or approach our info stands at universities.

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Author: Sara Balitzky

4 Reasons to Work in an International Team

10431305_2681127749925_4296718496242939197_o-e1426172758714-500x800Ten years ago, I never would have seen myself working outside of the United States, with people who didn’t speak English as a first language, in an environment where even ordering coffee would be a challenging experience. But when in university, I joined AIESEC, an organization that makes these things possible for thousands of students in the world.

Currently I am working in Vienna, Austria,  on a team of people from Luxembourg, Germany, Serbia, Romania and Spain; and last year in Costa Rica, I worked in a team of people from Estonia, Slovakia, Colombia, India, Egypt, and Costa Rica. I went from a relatively homogeneous part of the U.S. where the biggest difference between people was where they went to high school, to working in two different countries with two different teams where every single person speaks a different language. This has been a journey that certainly has its own breed of lessons, 4 of which I found to be the most important for professional and personal growth.

1. Understanding is a first step to emotional intelligence

Everyone knows that emotional intelligence is highly valued in the workplace and especially in leadership. What people may not know is that the process to developing emotional intelligence actually requires a lot of core interactions with people who may fundamentally think differently from you.

I learned this lesson during a fight with one of my colleagues. In our disagreement, I realized that neither of us was coming from a place of bad intentions, but that he and I were simply just products of the environments of our home countries and therefore have different perspectives on many issues. Coming to this realization was the first step to solving tensions and paving the way for future positive collaborations.

Of course, this requires setting aside your own priorities and viewpoints for the greater good. This is a humbling experience that cannot be learned in books. By interacting with more and more people who think differently from you, you are able to fine-tune your interactions with them, and propel yourself to proceed in a way that benefits everyone involved.

 2. You get to re-invent yourself in your new environment

Growing up, I was always lost with what to do with my life and how to do it. Now, I can consider myself to have a purpose in my life, the passion to do it, and the structure to get it done.

This is because I was able to learn from my teammates how to find purpose, how to prioritize, and how to take action. In meetings, personal interactions, and working on projects with my colleagues, I was able to see different ways of processing information, seeing what is important, drawing conclusions and in which manner to act based on these conclusions. This was extremely vital for me to challenge my own style of critical thinking and taking action and to constantly re-polish my own purpose, passion and plans.

The best part is that I could even pick out the commonalities of working styles between different cultures. I learned how to be goal-oriented and focused from my European teammates, I learned how to be persistent from my Asian teammates and I learned how to be passionate about my work from my Latin American teammates.

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3. Being a Global Citizen doesn’t only mean travelling

I would not consider myself a well-traveled person; I have been to only around 12 countries in my lifetime. However, I feel like I’ve been able to experience many more.

When the revolutions in Egypt were happening, my Egyptian teammate spoke of the youth perceptions there. When floods took over parts of Serbia, my Serbian teammates were checking up on their families and friends. When the Russian-Ukrainian conflict grew, my Estonian teammate also spoke of concerns in her home country.

Working on an international team gives you a front-row seat to these kinds of world issues. But beyond that, you also learn about the beauties of each country that may never appear in headlines, which brings me to my next point:

4. Challenge every assumption you have about society

Perhaps to many people on Earth, Colombia would be a drug-and-violence-riddled society, but I know differently from my Medellin-raised Colombian teammate. I learned about the smart and forward thinking of people who live there, with vast skills to improve their country and contribute to the world. Perhaps to many people, Romania is full of gypsies, but I know differently from my Romanian team leader. I learned that people care about their country, want to see it improve and are willing to be the generation who accomplishes it.

I am an open person who tries not to have preconceived notions about people based on where they are from, especially as an American-born daughter of Indian immigrants. But my personal interactions with my international teams further solidified my strong desire to always challenge the formed assumptions.

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Author: Harkiran Kaur

Frauenpower in den Führungsebenen

Frauen an die Macht heißt es bei AIESEC in Österreich. Bei der österreichischen Zweigstelle der weltweit größten, von Studierenden geführten Organisation, sind dieses Jahr die höchsten Führungspositionen ausschließlich von Frauen besetzt.

Anlässlich des Anlässlich des Weltfrauentages 2015 erzählen sie von ihren Erlebnissen.

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Sie sind junge Frauen – keine von ihnen ist älter als 25 Jahre. Was sie gemeinsam haben ist der Wunsch zu lernen, sich weiterzuentwickeln und stets neue Erfahrungen zu sammeln. Die internationale Studierendenorganisation AIESEC bietet ihnen genau diese Möglichkeit: sie unterstützt junge Menschen während ihrer Studienzeit dabei sich persönlich und professionell weiterzuentwickeln und mehr aus ihrem Potential zu machen. Im Laufe von mittlerweile über 60 Jahren wurde AIESEC so zu einer der führenden Organisation für Youth Leadership.

Dieses Jahr sind es 9 Frauen, die in ihren Positionen als Vereinsvorsitzende maßgeblich an der Entwicklung von AIESEC in Österreich und seinen Mitgliedern beteiligt sind und sind dabei für 20 bis 100 junge Menschen verantwortlich, mit denen sie gemeinsam dieses Ziel erreichen wollen.

Ihre Rolle ist vielseitig: Sie sind Manager, Teamleiter, Vortragende, Freunde und Leader. Es sind jeden Tag neue Herausforderungen, die sie bewältigen müssen. Sie kennen die Statistiken über schlechtere Chancen von Frauen am Arbeitsmarkt, haben von der Gläsernen Decke gehört, die Frauen den Aufstieg am Arbeitsmarkt verwehrt. Sie wurden selbst schon mit Vorurteilen über Frauen in Führungspositionen konfrontiert.

Nichts von alldem hält sie jedoch davon ab, sich hohe Ziele zu setzen und sich der Herausforderung zu stellen. Von ihren bisherigen Erlebnissen gibt es hier einige Auszüge:

Wer sie sind und was sie bewegt:

Magdalena Prieler

Als Studierende der WU Wien habe ich mich vor über einem Jahr dazu entschieden, an der Technischen Universität Wien ein eigenes AIESEC Komitee zu gründen. Das erste an einer technischen Uni in Österreich. Mittlerweile sind wir rund 20 TechnikerInnen aus den verschiedensten Feldern und zeigen, das technische Studierende sehr wohl auch an Themen wie der internationalen Verständigung, sozialem Engagement und Leadership interessiert sind. Nach meinem Studium möchte ich als Fellow bei Teach for Austria SchülerInnen in den herausforderndsten Schulen Österreichs unterrichten und mich in meiner Zukunft für ein Schulsystem mit mehr Chancengleichheit einsetzen.

Magdalena PrielerMagdalena Prieler, 21 Jahre alt, kommt aus Linz und studiert Internationale Betriebswirtschaftslehre an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien.
Julia Wurnitsch

Mein Jahr als Lokalkomitee Präsidentin war eine große Herausforderung, nicht nur aufgrund der neuen Aufgaben und Verantwortungen, sondern auch aufgrund der Fluktuation im Vorstand und unter den Mitgliedern. Im Großen und Ganzen kann ich aber sagen, die Personen, die das ganze Jahr mit mir gearbeitet haben, haben einen großen Entwicklungssprung gemacht und haben, so wie ich, viel professionelles Wissen aber auch Emotionale Intelligenz erlangt. Am Ende meiner Amtszeit bleibt nur noch eines zu sagen: es war alles Wert, denn diese Zeit hat mich und meine KollegInnen zu den Menschen gemacht, die wir heute sind und ich bin stolz darauf! Meine Zukunft sieht folgendermaßen aus: nach meinem Studium werde ich mindestens für ein Jahr ins Ausland gehen und die Möglichkeiten, die AIESEC mir bietet ausnutzen: sei es in einer internationalen Firma im HR-Bereich oder in einem nationalen Vorstand von AIESEC arbeiten. Danach möchte ich mit einer Kollegin, die ich durch AIESEC kennen gelernt habe, ein Unternehmen gründen, am liebsten im NGO-Bereich, denn ich will auch weiterhin zu einer besseren Gesellschaft und zu einer besseren Welt beitragen.

Julia WurnitschJulia Wurnitsch, 23 Jahre alt, kommt aus Deutschlandsberg und studiert, lebt und arbeitet seit 3 Jahren in Linz.
Raffaela Reindl

Für mich war es sehr spannend zu sehen, wie man als Führungsperson die Richtung eines Teams beeinflussen kann, besonders auf einer persönlichen Ebene. Wie balanciert man eine gute Teamerfahrung und Performance? Dieses Jahr war eine große Herausforderung für mich und ich bin sehr dankbar für die Erfahrungen die ich machen konnte. In Zukunft möchte ich gerne im Bildungsbereich arbeiten und Kindern helfen ihren Berufsweg zu finden. Ich denke, es ist sehr wichtig, dass Kinder oder junge Erwachsene wissen, wo ihre Stärken liegen und was ihnen im Leben wichtig ist damit sie herausfinden können, welcher Beruf das so gut wie möglich verbindet. Mir hat diese Beratung als Jugendliche gefehlt und da ich sie später in AIESEC bekommen habe, habe ich erkannt, wie notwendig sie für eine Berufsplanung in jüngeren Jahren wäre.

Raffaela ReindlRaffaela Reindl, 22 Jahre alt, kommt aus Bruck an der Mur/Steiermark und studiert Umweltsystemwissenschaften mit Schwerpunkt Geographie.
Cristina Soreanu

Die Rolle des Landesvorstandes einer Organisation ist bestimmt mit einer großen Verantwortung verbunden, aber sie lehrt einem auch sich selbst und andere in schwierigen Situationen zu führen. Ich bin überzeugt, dass diese Rolle mich für die verschiedensten Problemstellungen einer Führungsposition bestmöglich vorbereitet hat. Die wertvollste Lektion die ich, als Frau an der Spitze der Organisation, gelernt habe ist wie man stark bleiben kann und sich gleichzeitig anderen öffnet. Ich kann nur hoffen, dass mehr junge Frauen die Möglichkeit wahrnehmen und sich in Führungspositionen verwirklichen. Ich selbst habe ein klar definiertes Ziel, welches mich in meinen nächsten Schritten leiten wird: Ich möchte Orte schaffen, an denen Menschen wirklich genießen können was sie tun, Arbeitsplätze an denen Menschen ihr Potential voll ausschöpfen können, um das Bestmögliche zu erreichen. Aus diesem Grund denke ich über eine Karriere in einer Personalabteilung nach, aber auch beratende Tätigkeiten oder mein eigenes Start-up sind nicht völlig ausgeschlossen.

Cristina SoreanuCristina Soreanu, 24 Jahre alt, kommt aus Krajowa und hat Psychologie in Rumänien studiert.
Theresa Stadler

Mein Jahr als Präsidentin von AIESEC an der WU Wien gleicht einer Hochschaubahn. Ich war zuständig für ein 7-köpfiges Team mit dem ich gemeinsam ein Komitee von ca. 100 Studierenden geführt habe. Jeden Tag habe ich gelernt was es heißt Verantwortung zu übernehmen und für das Lernen, die Entwicklung und die Performance anderer zuständig zu sein. Als Präsidentin war es außerdem meine Verantwortung mein Komitee in dem globalen AIESEC Netzwerk auf Konferenzen (z.B. in Taiwan oder Griechenland) zu repräsentieren. Dies gab mir die Chance Menschen aus aller Welt mit unterschiedlichen Kulturen kennenzulernen. Mein Traum für die Zukunft ist es eine globale Organisation zu gründen, die bestehende Bildungsplattformen und -tools vernetzt und Teilen der Welt zugänglich macht, in denen Bildung aus System- und finanziellen Gründen schwer zu erlangen ist. Bevor es soweit kommt möchte ich allerdings Erfahrung in internationalen Organisationen/Unternehmen – z.B. bei der UNO – und Gründererfahrung sammeln.

Theresa StadlerTheresa Stadler, 22 Jahre alt, kommt aus Wien und studiert an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien.

AIESEC (Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales) ist eine internationale gemeinnützige Organisation, die junge Menschen dabei unterstützt sich während ihrer Studienzeit persönlich und professionell weiterzuentwickeln.

Seit über 60 Jahren ermutigt AIESEC Jugendliche dazu, sich selbst herauszufordern und mehr aus ihrem Potential zu machen und wurde so zur führenden Organisation für Youth Leadership.

Mit mehr als 86.000 Mitgliedern in über 128 Ländern und Territorien weltweit sind wir die größte von Studierenden geführte Organisation der Welt!

AIESEC in Österreich ist in Wien, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck und Liechtenstein mit lokalen Gruppen vertreten.

How AIESEC team experience contributed to my studies

Hi I am Ulrike Jordi and I am an Erasmus student at the University of Vienna and I joined AIESEC after a presentation at an ESN (Erasmus Student Network) event. I joined because I wanted to get out of my “Exchange Student Bubble” and spend free time in a meaningful way. Now, after one semester in the organization, it has evolved into a way of gaining experience and practical knowledge connected to my studies.

Back home, in Switzerland, I am only a part-time student – otherwise working as a primary school teacher. Through the projects that AIESEC organizes with the help of international interns – Colors of the World and Career to Go (which my team was preparing), I got insight into the Austrian education system and the way schools work here. The projects also gave me new ideas I could implement in terms of new topics and delivery methods in teaching – how things could be presented at schools to both students and teachers.

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I am now continuing with AIESEC for another semester, planning and hoping to switch to the area of human resources, because conducting Individual Coaching Talks, Team Management, Team Buildings and conducting Interviews belong to an area I can see myself working in the future.

On top of that I meat numerous great people and had an absolutely awesome team experience!

Practice Makes Perfect

Nearly 700 delegates on one place, gathering all in a baroque, golden-painted hall in presidential representative spaces. And not just some people. Representatives of one of the leading and fastest growing economies in the world! They are all awaiting perfect service and comfortable atmosphere for the business they came to do in a foreign country, thousand of miles away from their hometowns.

The Czech-Chinese Investment Forum, held at the end of September 2014 in Prague, aimed to bring the businessmen from both countries together to share best-case practices, know-hows and funds. In the past couple of years, this event was the biggest attempt of local leaders to boost the local economy with foreign investment.

Just behind the door of the hall, the anxiety among all those in the organizing team who are standing in front of the room and awaiting their delegates to finish the official dinner is in the air. “What would they ask for? What do they need? Can I talk to them or will I be too shy?” most of them would be asking themselves – often unnecessarily. After all, all those businessmen are people as anyone else.CIF2-532x800

AIESEC in Austria holds about four or five conferences every year – from very small ones to conferences with over two hundred participants; for both members and international delegates. The organising team works on the project from the moment budget is set and the theme of a conference chosen, until the moment when the very last delegate leaves the venue. The team is there to make sure the conference not only happens, but is also a real pleasure for the delegates. As the Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing for AIESEC in University of Vienna, I had the chance to co-organize a conference for our new members. That is why I already had experience when it came to organizing the Czech-Chinese Investment forum.

 

I was thankful for the practical knowledge I gained while organizing AIESEC conferences, because the experience and skills acquired prepared me for this. What is also unique about acquiring experience and trying out managerial positions is that in the case anything goes wrong, no one gets fired. Quite opposite – failure is considered a learning point as well. And this doesn’t just apply to the members of the organizing team, but the whole organisation.

 

If you have the opportunity to be part of an international conference as early as during your studies, why should you be scared of servicing delegates from all around the world later, in your professional life?

The Czech-Chinese Investment forum was one of the highlights of my summer. An exhausting week full of learning points and sleepless nights. But not a time of anxiety or questioning myself – “Can I do this?”. I can because I have done it before. I am really happy that I have numerous experiences behind me that prepped me well for my future career.

Author: Barbora Spacilova