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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.

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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.

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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.

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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No Llamas in Colombia

“There are no llamas in Colombia,” he affirmed. This small detail caught my attention and resulted in an hour-long storytelling session in which I realised how few I know about South America.

My friend Hazar worked 3 months in Colombia. In the suburbs of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, he helped in schools and taught English to young kids. He worked together with a dozen of students from all around the world. Some of the kids had never seen people from somewhere else than South America. Most of the team could not speak Spanish, which resulted in communication problems. Hazar and his team had to adapt to the situation to create an unforgettable experience for the kids and themselves.

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“After living in Vienna for a while, it was hard to imagine how things can get unnecessarily complicated.” he told me when I asked him about his biggest culture shock.

While they worked during the week, they explored Colombia during weekends. Soon, Hazar realized that there are no llamas in Colombia. His friends can assure you that he loves those furry, spiting beasts. Knowing this they organized a short trip to a petting zoo. So he could take a photo with one of the few llamas in Bogotá.

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During his time abroad he lived with a host mum and her son. The advantage of living in a host family was that the mom cooks great and that he could enjoy the Colombian cuisine. Her son and some other locals taught him, on the other hand, how to get around fast in Bogotá. Because apparently the traffic in the city was terrible.

“I don’t like to travel just for sightseeing, so Global Citizen was a good opportunity for me to travel and to be of use. I had a great time there. I met some people, who will always be very precious to me and I saw great places.”

At the end of the three months Hazar had enough time to travel to the Caribbean. By swimming there he fulfilled one of his long hold life goals.

We all have great destinations and goals on our list. What is keeping us from reaching ours?

Author: Lukas Bensch

Peru: Your story is waiting to be written

Peru, one of South America’s hidden gems, is no longer a secret as toursts flock to this Spanish speaking country year-round. The land of Incas and gastronomical capital of South America has more to offer than its indisputably enchanting nature and mouth-watering cuisine. It also offers foreigners the opportunity to submerge in the Peruvian culture, way of life, and values unique to this developing Latin American country.

Chimbote, located on Peru’s pacific coast, was Austrian volunteer Mara Weiss’ destination. Peru, a large country, with rainforests, mountains, sea, and deserts, has many different landscapes and cities to visit yet Chimbote is not a popular touristic sight. ‘’As I scavenged online for information about the city I mostly got warnings not to go as it smelled like fish and was mostly an industrial city with no tourist attractions whatsoever,’’ Weiss claims. However, this didn’t stop her from wanting to explore Peru as she embarked in her long adventure anyways.

‘’I was rather nervous and insecure, but I was also curious because I’ve always wanted to go to Latin America,’’ Weiss explained. Arriving in Peru she discovered that most of her expectations were inaccurate, the city did not smell like fish and despite being a small town it was enjoyable to be there and interact with the locals.

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Weiss crossed the Atlantic Ocean to volunteer with ‘’EduAction’’, a NGO bringing students from all over the world to Latin American countries to host workshops for local kids focusing on global topics and issues, such as sustainability. ‘’We gave workshop classes to children in eight different schools, all in Spanish, which made it a challenging but outstanding experience,’’ Weiss explained. The locals appreciate this as it brings the world to them through the many volunteers visiting towns throughout Latin America. ‘’The students appreciated our work and the knowledge we shared with them as many might not travel outside of Peru and their thirst for knowledge of the outside world is immense,’’ Weiss added enthusiastically.

‘’Not only do the students learn about the world, but also about themselves while enforcing their confidence, leadership, and creativity among other skills,’’ Weiss explained. ‘’ We were like their mentors and they appreciated it as they grew comfortable around us’’ Weiss adds. The students grow as individuals and begin to think differently and creatively, an important factor for impoverished countries like Peru where children are the bright upcoming future.

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‘’During my 10 weeks in Chimbote I brought change to the classrooms of Chimbote, but I also learned from the children I interacted with,’’ Weiss said. ‘’I learned that we are all similar and that this was a unique opportunity to bring two different realities together and share experiences and time together, ‘’ Weiss added. This and the countless Peruvian sights and mouthwatering cuisine make Mara miss Peru, and long for her return.

As with most developing countries in the world, Peru is in need of volunteers that are willing to bring change in any form. Mara’s experience in Chimbote illustrates the need for volunteers in Peru and how much one person willing to spend their time and energy can really do. When it comes to helping and volunteering it is the time and energy you spend that brings the change we want to see in the world. Not only do you ameliorate a community but you also grow as a person and become a global citizen that can proudly claim ‘’I did make a change’’. So what are you waiting for? Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi once said.

Author: Mauro Ortíz

Between Green Landscapes and Pints of Guinness in Ireland

When I told friends and professors I planned to spend part of my spring break in Ireland the most common reaction was – Why Ireland? But I say, ‘Why not’?

Ireland might not have renown monuments like the Eiffel tower or Big Ben, but it does have its own charm ranging from vast emerald landscapes to the malty and bitter taste of a pint of Guinness.

My advice? Go to Dublin with an open mind to experience the city as it unfolds to you.

First, visit the temple bar district in central Dublin. This is the most famous district of the city and deserves a visit from your part both during the day and during the night. Visit the pubs around this area to experience Irish music ensembles and enjoy a pint of Guinness. The Irish vibe provided by the lively music and people singing is truly a highlight. I would avoid Temple bar itself, and suggest you to go to The Long Hall, Fallon’s, and Whelan’s instead.

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If you do wake up the next day, head over to Trinity College and admire the architecture and gardens of this over 400 year old campus. Continue your architecture hunt towards Dublin Castle and admire this iconic construction situated in the middle of a bustling city. You also can’t miss the cathedral and the St. Patrick’s church while walking through the city center.

The highlight of your stay in Dublin will definitely be the tour of the Guinness brewery and storehouse. The tour lasts around 3 hours and students pay 12 euros, which includes a Guinness pint which you will be serving. The tour starts by introducing you to Guinness’ history in Ireland and the original processing involved in crafting this malty beverage. Later on, you are taken to sample small shot sized glasses of Guinness after smelling the different aromas this beverage has. This ignites both your smelling senses and tasting buds, which enables you to taste the different flavors, from hops to the creamy malt. At the end of the tour you are taught how to serve a Guinness and after you served your perfect pint you receive a certificate stating your new abilities. Finally, you get the chance to savor your pint at the storehouse’s sky bar with a breathtaking view of Dublin.

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Ireland is not only about Dublin and Guinness. Our adventure to the famous cliffs of Moher starts at 7am as you drive west towards Galway. Before you reach the cliffs the tour stops at Dunguaire Castle. After a morning of driving through picturesque green landscapes you will most likely arrive to the cliffs at around 3 p.m. We were lucky enough to visit the cliffs on a sunny and clear day, which is unfortunately unusual. The cliffs are not only unique for their breathtaking views, but also for their beautiful and picturesque green landscapes that really portray the essence of Ireland.

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No, of course I did not forget food! Here I have a few suggestions for where to go when you need some energy or a break from beer. At ‘’Super Miss Sue’’ or SMS students) can get a large portion/box of Fish and chips for only 6,50 euros. English speaking countries in Europe are famous for their Indian restaurants and fusion cuisine and Ireland is not an exception. Go for lunch to ‘’Kathmandu Kitchen’’ to experience a delicious and inexpensive full set Indian-Nepalese lunch for under 10 euros.

Even if Ireland is not on your bucket list, plan to visit this majestic country. I promise you will not be disappointed, but rather surprised by how diverse and exciting Ireland actually is. Wait, I forgot to ask you, what are you waiting for? Go explore the emerald isle and broaden your horizons!

Author: Mauro Ortiz

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

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!