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THE UNDISCOVERED WORLD

I discovered a new world. But NASA hasn’t approved yet. I think is not needed because this world is very close to everyone. If you want to go and see, it is just one click, phone or street away from you. This world is called “AIESEC”. It is still waiting to be discovered by all young people. And as a student who visited, stayed and lived there I’ll share some stories.

AIESEC is a world of Opportunities.  Why ? Because here you are not just belonging to one nation, country or region, you are becoming a world citizen. How is that ? Going on an Exchange. For me it was in Slovakia. I volunteered on project called “International Kindergarden”. I had 6 great weeks with wonderful kids.

Selin Akay

Me with wonderful kids on a project’s workshop

Actually the experience starts at the airport.  It’s the moment when you realize you are not going on a trip, you are going on an adventure.

When you realize you had an argument with your family trying to convince them, questioned yourself if it is right for you or not. Because you don’t know what is going to be next. You’ve never been out of your comfort zone. Knowing that you made this decision on your own, you will be responsible of any outcomes. Then you notice, you are on a plane while thinking about this stuff. The next thing you see is a smiling face waiting to pick you up from the airport. Don’t forget, this person is your first friend in another country and maybe you might not know now, but the same person is also going to be your best friend. And now you’re reading this and thinking about how it can be possible. I can talk, talk and talk about How I felt, What I’ve been through, How it effected my leadership journey… Even if the intensity of my feelings could be understood from this point, the only way to feel it, is to experience it.

The words can tell the story but the people create the story. People can be part of organizations and make positive impact to society. YOU can make a story for a better world.

To accomplish it you should experience a leadership journey, which includes a global environment. Because the most effective way to understand your personality and values is to be in a challenging environment. By this way you are capable of learning by doing. Why I’m telling this is cause you are the person who makes important decisions, achievements, failures in your life. To know your true self helps you grow and be an example for the other people around you.

Now, if you are thinking about why is all this important… Here is the reason, we are living in world which is interconnected.

Everything you do effects another individual or whole society in a negative or a positive way. We need people who make conscious decisions, interact with other cultures, understand their values and respect people’s ideas. In a nutshell we need people who make our world livable. And it starts with you.

 

Do you want to do something meaningful this summer?
You also have a chance to volunteer abroad.

Click  here for more info!

Author: Selin Akay slike za blogere

Selin is exchange addicted, world citizen and sport enthusiastic.

An opportunity to share

Never an easy thing having friends who were part of the Global Citizen volunteering program. Listening to their endless stories, about how lucky they got during their journey, or how the experience had changed their lives, can only make you wish you knew about AIESEC’s opportunities a little earlier.

As sharing is caring, mates from my local committee wanted to tell you about their life-changing experiences.

“Going on a volunteering experience with AIESEC isn’t just an opportunity to explore the world. I know that now, anywhere I’ll go, I have family. Being surrounded by those people during my journey in São Paulo – Brazil was the best experience I’ve ever had so far. Don’t be afraid to be out of your comfort zone, away from your habits. Take every opportunity to celebrate life and create the best stories. That’s what I did!”

-Myriam Hemrit

Myriam Hemrit


 

 “My experience with AIESEC was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Everything went incredibly smooth from the beginning to the end. I was surprised how fast and easy was to find an opportunity in India, Bangalore. I went there and the local people took good care of me. I met the most amazing people that I encountered in my life. Working with children was a bit challenging but immensely fun. Getting out of my comfort zone and facing some obstacles on my own really helped me improving myself. I would recommend anyone to try AIESEC’s programs and live the same amazing thing that I lived.”

– Youssef Ben Ahmed

Youssef Ben Ahmed


Thinking about their experiences, I can picture which places I will be visiting in the future, and imagine in how many ways I can affect peoples’ lives.

I can only wait for summer to come, to cease the opportunity and go as far as AIESEC can take me.

 

Do you want to do something meaningful this summer?
You also have a chance to volunteer abroad.

Click  here for more info!

Author: Wala Ben Ali slike za blogere

Wala is passionate, goal-driven AIESECer from Tunisia. She has an excessive love for music, music coming from every corner of the globe. It helps her expand the knowledge of the world.

 

Dare to dream: My experience in China

Corinna is a student of Chinese and English studies at University of Vienna.  She volunteered on a project in Chengdu, China.

Corinna

AIESEC: Why did you decide to take part in the Global Citizen Programme? Did your experience meet your expectations?

Corinna: First of all, I love travelling more than anything else in the world. It inspires me and enrichens my life in so many ways. As I have heard a lot of great things about AIESEC, I decided to go for the Global Citizen Programme. Furthermore, I found an amazing project, which is entangled with my study of the Chinese language and besides, gives me the opportunity to teach children in Chengdu.

China

AIESEC:  Please tell us the name of your project and describe it briefly.

Corinna: The Project was called “Dare to Dream” and was held in Chengdu, China. We were a group of 10 students who tried to teach English to children in a Chinese summer school.

In order to teach them English, we had to prepare several English lessons and we also taught them about our different cultural backgrounds (our country’s tradition, food, values, etc). At the end of the project we also participated in the Global Village, an event which connects several AIESEC Projects, which was a lot of fun.

China

AIESEC: What was your biggest cultural shock? How did you deal with it?

Corinna:  As I have been to China before, I did not experience a cultural shock. Unlike other participants, I had the advantage that I had already known a lot about the Chinese culture beforehand. But nevertheless, it was a completely different experience for me. The city of Chengdu is very different from megacities in the East such as Beijing or Shanghai. Thus I received a distinctive insight into Chinese life.

China

AIESEC: What was the most impactful moment during the volunteering experience?

Corinna: There were quite a few:

  • The kids in school – their happiness and gratefulness, it was so much fun playing music with them and teaching them English.
  • The whole AIESEC community – we got into contact with two other AIESEC Projects in Chengdu and thus we were able to hang out with people from around the world.
  • Making new friends in different parts of the world.
  • Getting a deeper insight into the Chinese culture by travelling through several provinces after the project has ended.
  • The feeling of liberty when travelling in general.

China

Do you want to do something meaningful this summer?
You also have a chance to volunteer abroad.

Click  here for more info!

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.

Columbia2

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.

peru3

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.

Peru4

‘’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

7 Reasons To Volunteer Abroad

Each year we ask us the same question “What should I do in this summer?“

We make several plans, do a lot of internet research, apply and eventually end up doing exactly the same as the summer before. This year do something different. Here are several reasons why I believe you should decide to go on a volunteering internship and have the summer of your life.

1. Exploring

Volunteering gives you a chance to explore new countries and cultures in a different way than by just travelling and sightseeing in these countries. Doing a volunteer internship shows you the country from inside out, allows you to get to know the culture, locals and their habits. You will see places and areas you would never have the possibility to go to as a tourist. Some people might have travelled the country but in doing a volunteer internship, they sometimes feel they’ve been here for the first time.

„Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.“ (Robert Frost)

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2. Connecting

Meeting many new and different people is another great aspect of volunteering. Working with young people from all over the world is a big advantage nowadays. This diversity can help you improve your soft skills and give you the opportunity to make friends across the globe. Sometimes, it’s hard to get in touch with local people as a foreigner, but as a volunteer it will be impossible not to get to know them. Another positive aspect is that for your future career, it’s important that you have the skill of adapting to different environments and work in a team with diverse people.

3. Communicating

 By communicating with people you might even soon call your friends, you’re able to improve your language skills or even learn a few words in another language. And we all know that improving language skills, especially English, is always “the yellow from the egg“.

4. Doing amazing things

 We don’t want to forget why we volunteer. Besides many positive aspects, the most important thing is that we can make a difference by helping: helping children learn English, contributing to the environment or helping the locals. For you it’s just a few weeks of exploring and helping, full of new challenges. For them it could be a life-changing interaction. Always be aware what you are able to do and change just in helping step by step.

“The world is changed by you, do something awesome!“ (Kid President)

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5. Getting to know… You

 Just dare and you will see soon that you will learn so much more about yourself than you’ve ever imagined. By volunteering you will experience so many new things and challenges. By doing so, you will truly reach and extend your limits. But in the end you will feel absolutely nothing but self-fulfilment when you look back at what you were able to do in a few weeks.

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6. Learning

After working several weeks on amazing projects and in NGO’s, you will not only improve your soft skills but also gain valuable knowledge and practical experience – for example entrepreneurial experience, which can be helpful for your personal and professional life. Volunteers don’t do it for the money; they do it for the impact.

7. Getting off the couch

Going abroad for several weeks and working there is always a challenge for oneself. You have to step outside your comfort zone and be dare, because nothing will happen if you don’t take the first step. It won’t be always easy, speaking of cultural differences and cultural shocks (be excited for our next blogpost) but you just have to break down barriers. There will always be obstacles or challenges in your life and no one can prepare you for them, but in learning how to overcome them, you will get a feeling that you’re unstoppable. So go outside, dare, challenge yourself and get the hell out of your comfort zone!

And always remember when volunteering:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind“ (Neil Armstrong)

thomas-ghana

Thomas stepping out of his comfort zone while volunteering in Ghana

Author: Julia Wünscher