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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?

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

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