Who can change the world?

I wanted to go on a volunteering experience with AIESEC. This young girl approached me while I was walking to the library and she asked me if I could change the world, where would I start and then smartly segwayed that into a conversation about me going abroad to contribute to the sustainable development goals. But she got me thinking: If I could change the world right now, where would I start? 

It’s not a simple question. There is a lot that is wrong in the world. I don’t really know where I would start. Also why would I start anywhere? Who am I to think about changing the world? What could someone like me do to change the world? 

And so she called me tomorrow, on my cell, that I politely gave to her. She was very nice, just like yesterday. One of those people with a beeming smile, energetic and extraverted, that just knows how to talk to people. After a quick conversation on the phone, I turned down this idea to go abroad. She insisted to know what the reason was. I started with ‘I can’t right now, I have to finish my studies, I don’t really have the time, I can’t really imagine going away anywhere right now, also there was the corona situation. What if I would get stuck in a foreign country without being able to return home?’

The conversation ended, but the thoughts didn’t. Who am I to even think about changing the world? But then again, if I’m not changing it, and if the person who sits next to me in class isn’t, than who is? Who is changing the world? Why is the world the way that it is and who makes it so? Why is there hunger, why is there poverty, why are women treated differently than men, why is there inequality, why are sea turtles endangered, why are our oceans dirty, why doesn’t everyone have access to quality education and worries about passing exams? Why don’t I think about this more often? And why does the girl who approached me on the hallway and excitedly told me all about Latin America and how I could help educate the populations about the importance of climate action so passionately believe in my contribution? Is she the one changing the world? One person at a time? 

‘What can I do to change anything?‘     I guess it is exactly this concept that stops me from changing anything. I bought a glass bottle, and straws, I carry home-made lunch to Uni, I recycle. But at the same time, the internet says that the CO2 emission are rising, as are the sea levels. There are a lot of natural hazards that have happened over the last couple of years, that scientists say happened due to climate change. Besides that, I know a lot of people who live bellow the means, and I know about countries that don’t allow their daughters to go to school. I can’t possibly change that. Could I?

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I sometimes think about if I was a businesswoman or a politician what I would do. I have these amazing ideas, that I don’t really write down or talk about with anyone, because why does it matter? No one cares to know what I think about the sea levels rising. 

But I guess I would care to see more solidarity in the world. I also wouldn’t mind to eradicate plastic all together, so that no one could buy a plastic bag or bottle. I wouldn’t mind my world being better. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical of me to think how I would want my world to be better, but don’t think to do anything about it myself? 

It comes down to believing in something more and that I could achieve it. Because in the end, why couldn’t I? All the politicians and businessmen were once students. Once upon a time they didn’t have much knowledge, but they obviously had a vision. They had the courage to go further and do more than what was expected of them. Why don’t I expect more from myself? And I don’t mean to finally start studying for an exam on time, I mean why don’t I expect from myself to make a contribution and to change the world? Why don’t I do more than necessary, go further? 

In the end you only regret the chances you didn’t take. Yes, there would be many challenges if I decided to volunteer in a foreign country. But is that supposed to stop me? Starting University was a challenge, learning a new language was a challenge, sometimes calling the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment is a challenge and I have to write down what I would say, but I still did it. And yes, corona virus is a challenge. It was a mess I didn’t create and one I had no control over that took absolute control over my plans and my life. It came out of nowhere, so it could come again. But does that mean that I will stay at home, doing the necessary and never really experiencing anything, except a good cheese here and there? 

And so I called the girl back and I’m going abroad with AIESEC. All the way to Columbia, further than I ever was. 

Written by Marijana Nikolic

How to mitigate the negative aspects of the Gen Z corporate disruption

Generation Z comes right after the Millenials (also called Gen Y), and is defined as being born between 1995 and 2010. This is a generation that grew up watching Youtube instead of LooneyTunes, some of them turning this pastime into a career and earning millions by playing video games, showcasing their morning routines, their diets, their travels plans, even their birthday presents on social media. This is a generation that breathes inclusivity, creativity, individual freedom, sustainability. It seeks purpose in what they do and they are bringing all of that to a corporate world, that is slowly trying to adjust. All these disruptions were long needed and are a big breakthrough in the corporate world. However, as with everything in life, these changes too have a negative to them. Though we believe that the way youth is shaping business is revolutionary, we also believe that some corrections to their ways need to be put in place, for their own benefit and also for the benefit of business productivity. Here we will discuss these negative effects of the Gen Z disruption and ways that companies can efficiently mentor these wildlings to achieve the greatness they strive for.

Hierarchy no more

Today’s youth loves drawing circles, instead of pyramids. Teamwork is the way to go for the young. Everyone is given a chance to shape the working space, instead of just taking orders from one person, which is very important for the overall productivity and output. But so is a leader. Productive spaces need someone to lead the conversation, to invite the quiet ones to speak, to empower great ideas and to bench the bad ones. Especially among youth, some need encouragement and authority to stay committed. But most importantly, a group of opinionated strong personalities needs one that would have the final say in a disagreement. Leaders are not there to bark orders, but are needed to lead the space and everyone in it to reach a brilliant outcome.

Commitment issues

Purpose and meaning are the driving force of the young. Gen Z are the ones to take their time searching for themselves. Many of them will switch their study programs multiple times, until they find something they identify with. Or they’ll spend a year travelling and discovering their identity in the mirror of other cultures. Personal development is highly important for professional success and we should be thankful our society has evolved as much to produce such conscious individuals.

But at the same time – changing directions too many times can leave you with absolutely nowhere to go. Some may change their purpose so many times, that a lot of time has passed and they have no sense of accomplishment or actual skills. To become good at something, you must devote time to it. And let’s get real for a moment – neither the young or the companies can sustain themselves on inspiration, good intentions and purpose seeking. At the same time, spending 40 hours a week doing a job you hate is also a bad idea, again for both parties. But the best option is to start, be curious and constantly work on yourself, develop your skills. At some point, you will discover what you like and will be able to focus on it completely. And someone needs to offer this to the young working force.

Non-settlers

Gen Z are proud of the culture they have initiated and they will look for it when looking for a job. Flexibility, creativity, openness, good leadership, respect of individual rights and a job with purpose is what they strive for. If they see you aren’t trying to be open to change, they will go in search of a company that is. Gen Z can switch companies too often, constantly looking for that perfect fit, that currently still doesn’t exist. Sometimes you must stick to something long enough, to get a chance to shape it the way you want it to be. Sometimes, working long hours and earning respect of your superiors has to come before you get to do whatever you want. But this commitment is hard for Gen Z, who are always on the lookout for something better and more interesting.

What corporate can do to mitigate the negatives:

Let us be perfectly clear: flexibility, inclusivity, mutual respect and sustainable actions that Gen Z is demanding from the corporate world are what the world of business needs, in order for us to create a sustainable future for all. But, as with everything in life, this too needs balance. To mitigate some negative aspects of the young work culture, companies have to take initiative and be proactive.

Offer mentorship – young people resonate best with honest stories of success. Get your executives to talk about their personal struggles on their career paths, their motivations and reasons. Let the experience be the teacher.

Offer further education – allow young people to search for their purpose within your company. Let them explore graphic design, business analytics, marketing, strategy, all under your current experts. You will offer them the journey of looking for themselves, while at the same time educating skilled workers that may just remain faithful and indispensable employees.

Create a truly modern work environment– don’t create a modern culture just to attract the young workers, but understand it yourself and realize the benefits of it – the way that young people think is beneficial for business in the long run and also for the simple rush of a Monday. Be open to being wrong and try to understand the benefits that a flexible and inclusive culture might bring your firm. Try to create an actual productive culture, and don’t just put out flashy job adds that are far from reality.

Be careful with who you pick as your executive – to be a team leader, you don’t require extreme knowledge in the branch, but you absolutely require people skills – to be able to take a back seat and allow your team to contribute to the work is what a leader is for. Self-centered and numbers-centered executives can be harmful for your overall productivity when it comes to working with Gen Z. Being able to recognize someone’s potential pass their missed deadlines and offer them an environment to learn and grow is what characterizes a great leader. Be sure you have one of those in your ranks.

Written by Marijana Nikolic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Der Aufstieg des Home-Office: Fluch oder Segen?

In den letzten Monaten musste die ganze Welt aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie versuchen, neue Arbeitsweisen zu testen. Für viele Menschen war das Home-Office gar keine Option, da für ihre Arbeit physische Präsenz erforderlich ist, z. B. für Krankenschwestern, Fabrikarbeiter und Kassierer. Gleichzeitig verloren viele Menschen in der Dienstleistungsbranche ihre Arbeit, da Restaurants, Bars und Hotels finanzielle Probleme befürchteten und ihre Türen schlossen. Für viele andere Arbeitsplätze jedoch war das Home-Office der Weg nach vorne, der eine Anpassung an die besonderen Umstände ermöglichte.. Durch die technologischen Fortschritte der letzten Jahrzehnte erleichtert, scheint das Home-Office zur Zeit oft die beste Lösung zu sein. Doch natürlich gibt es auch Nachteile und wir müssen uns beide Seiten der Medaille ansehen.

Pro: Umweltvorteile

Millionen von Menschen müssen jeden Tag lange Strecken pendeln und sind häufig auf Autos oder öffentliche Verkehrsmittel angewiesen. Wenn mehr Menschen von zu Hause aus arbeiten, kann dies möglicherweise zu weniger Verkehr und Umweltverschmutzung führen. Ein weiterer ökologischer Vorteil des Home-Office wäre die Tatsache, dass weniger Geschäftsgebäude und -räume benötigt würden, was zu einem geringeren Strom- und Wasserverbrauch sowie zu einem geringeren Verbrauch von Baumaterialien führen würde.

Der Verzicht auf das tägliche Pendeln in die Arbeit hätte jedoch nicht nur ökologische Vorteile, sondern wäre natürlich auch eine kostbare Zeitersparnis für den Arbeitnehmer selbst. 

Con: Ablenkungen und Trennung

Bevor man jedoch von einer kompletten Umstellung auf Home-Office zu sprechen beginnt, sollte man auf jeden Fall berücksichtigen, dass viele Menschen keinen eigenen Arbeitsbereich in ihrem Haus haben. Somit kann eine unklare Unterscheidung zwischen Arbeitsleben und privatem Raum auch zu einer geringeren Produktivität und zu Konzentrationsschwierigkeiten führen. Viele Menschen wollen und brauchen diese Trennung, die ihnen das physische Büro gibt.

Dies gilt in noch stärkerem Maße für berufstätige Eltern, die möglicherweise von ihren Kindern abgelenkt werden und daher nicht garantieren können, dass sie das richtige Umfeld für Produktivität zu Hause haben.

Pro: Flexibilität

Einer der größten Vorteile der Arbeit von zu Hause aus ist wohl die Möglichkeit der flexiblen, individuellen Zeiteinteilung. Natürlich kann auch hier der Mangel an Struktur und definierten Arbeitszeiten zunächste ein Problem darstellen, aber nach ein wenig Anpassung ist es leicht, die Vorteile eines flexiblen Zeitplans zu erkennen: Wenn man lange aufbleibt, kann man noch etwas schlafen. Wenn Kinder sofortige Aufmerksamkeit benötigen, kann man seine Arbeit sofort unterbrechen und später darauf zurückkommen. Wenn man reisen will, kann man einfach seinen Laptop mitnehmen.

Con: Teamarbeit

In letzter Zeit haben wir alle an einer Vielzahl von Zoom- oder Google Meet-Anrufen teilgenommen und dabei sicher auch die schlechten Seiten solcher Online-Meetings bemerkt: Von Verbindungsproblemen bis hin zu Hintergrundgeräuschen gibt es viele Faktoren, die die Kommunikation online erschweren. Wenn man nicht mehr persönlich mit den Kolleg_innen in Kontakt treten kann, ist man möglicherweise weniger geneigt, um deren Hilfe oder Input zu bitten. Dies führt mitunter zu einer geringeren Zusammenarbeit in Teams und möglicherweise sogar zu schlechteren Ergebnissen führt.

Pro: Einfache internationale Zusammenarbeit

Trotz der Nachteile, die wir gesehen haben, gaben 60% der Personen, die an einer Kununu.com-Umfrage teilgenommen haben, an, dass ihre Arbeit vollständig von zu Hause aus erledigt werden kann. Jedoch arbeiten zurzeit nur noch 48% ausschließlich von zu Hause aus arbeiten. Es zeigt sich somit, dass sich viele Menschen leicht und gerne an das Home-Office anpassen können. Damit ergeben sich auch langfristige Vorteile für Unternehmen: Internationale Zusammenarbeit kann in Zukunft beispielsweise wesentlich einfacher werden.

Vorbei sind die Zeiten, in denen man für ein Meeting in ein fernes Land reisen musste – es kann nun einfach über Zoom abgehalten werden! Unternehmen, die sich stark auf das Home-Office verlassen, könnten auch in Betracht ziehen, mehr internationale Mitarbeiter einzustellen. Die Möglichkeiten sind endlos und die zukünftigen Entwicklungen der Arbeitswelt sind vor allem für Berufseinsteiger_innen sehr interessant. 

 

Verfasst von Nadja Jevtic

Hiring Internationally in Austria: The Benefits of a Different Outlook

Reflecting on the social and economical changes this year, we’ve seen that diversity isn’t just a buzzword for the 21st century, but rather a necessity and a true issue that needs to be tackled. People are protesting and risking their lives all around the world to show their dissatisfaction and their need to be heard and included. The oppression of minorities is almost always a systematic problem that has been in development for centuries. Therefore, we need to look into each aspect of society and break down the norms that suffocate oppressed groups. Admittedly, tackling these issues is extremely complex and difficult and can’t be done in a day, but we need to start working on our problems step-by-step.

Why is diversity in the workplace important?

One thing to consider is the working environment and recruitment. A homogenous working environment in a country leads to all major economic decisions being made by the majority group, oftentimes completely disregarding the needs of minorities and pushing them aside. Moreover, aiming for more diversity in the workplace gives necessary chances to disadvantaged groups to change their own lives and start fresh and gives minorities a shot at having power and being able to make significant changes they need, therefore, building up large communities and societies.

The new Austrian way

But this isn’t a topic that only applies to far away countries and places, it is also important to discuss diversity in Austria, especially concerning international workers. According to Statistik Austria, there are currently around 1.4 million non-Austrian citizens living in Austria, which is equal to 16.7% of the entire population. This means that Austria is relatively diverse, especially in Vienna, where the percentage of foreigners or citizens with a foreign background exceeds 30%. Even if we don’t compare the number of foreigners in Austria to the rest of the world, this is a large number of people living here. These people need to be represented in all parts of the Austrian economy to create a more stable environment. A company that sees the value of hiring diversely is sure to profit, since foreigners bring a new outlook and fresh strategies. This makes it easier for a company to understand the changing demographic of Austria and adjust their strategies and efforts to adapt. Since almost a million employed people in the country are foreigners, they do have considerable buying power on the market and companies should do well to regard them as valuable potential customers. Long gone are the times of foreigners being seen as construction workers or cashiers – almost 30% of students in Austria are foreign-born and many of those highly-qualified people will be staying in Austria to build their careers and future.

Competing in a globalized world

But Austria doesn’t exist by itself – the world is so globalized, that no company in the world can solely rely on considering the environment within the borders of the country it operates in. Austrian companies have to compete with the world in order to get a market share even in their own country. If you were to decide to produce and sell a chocolate bar, you would have to learn to compete with multi-billion international corporations, such as Mondelez or Mars. This is also where hiring internationally comes into play. Whether you’re setting up a chocolate-bar business or a sophisticated tech start-up, you’re competing with the world right now, and you’re sure to benefit from having people from all over the world helping you. Maybe an intern from India has already done an extensive internship in a company overseas and can help you figure out how the market there works and what your competitors are thinking. It can open up your own perspective to see new ways of running your business and promoting your products and services that can completely revolutionize the business. But numbers speak, and studies led by McKinsey and company in 2015 showed that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to have higher financial returns. This shows clearly that diversity is extremely important to companies and employers, not just employees and that it exceeds the boundaries of a classic “buzzword”.

AIESEC’s role in diversity

That’s where AIESEC comes in. We have a global network in countries all over the world and we work tirelessly with our international partners to connect companies and NGOs to the best interns and volunteers. We make being global and international achievable and easy, giving you the opportunity to reap the benefits of international hiring with little to no fuss. In the end, everyone wins.

 

Written by Nadja Jevitc

19 ways how to get around… without unpleasant surprises.

Even though COVID-19  impacted our lives and more or less confined us to our homes, quarantine time could also be the perfect time to aspire to some adventures, inspire your wanderlust and get you up and running for the upcoming projects you might undertake with AIESEC around the globe.  

As you might know, AIESEC is present in more than 120 countries. So before going to any of them, you are not ill-advised to look up and follow its laws and intrinsic rules! While some “no-go’s” might seem ridiculous and unnecessary, they could be pointing out some cultural values which might differ from your own! So here are 19 ways to be an exemplary world traveler.

1. Don’t be surprised if you “get a cobra” on a train in France.

Kissing is forbidden on French trains; it is allowed, though, at the train station but only just before the train arrives. So make sure you time your farewell kiss wisely. Did you know that there is another “kissing law” in Nevada that prohibits men with mustache from kissing women?

2. Keep your shirt on… seriously.

There is a law in Thailand that prohibits anyone from putting their shirt off while driving a car. So next time you are renting a car or a motorbike make sure to keep that in mind.

3. Hiking naked… it’s a thing!

The Swiss government had to remind its citizens that public indecency laws also apply to mountain hiking as well after some Swiss and German hikers made it “a thing”, fining a bare-bottomed man with $100.

4. Ready, set, fire!

A heads up if you are one of those people who love wearing camouflage attire: there is a law in many countries in the Caribbean that forbids it! So check the countries before visiting.

5. Just be sexy. 

This one is exclusively for men. If you want to wear loose-fitting trunks on French beaches, swimming pools or other places where swimming attire is needed, you probably won’t get to swim at all. In France, only Speedos are allowed for hygiene reasons! 

6. Pigeons and breadcrumbs… Are you sure you want to do it?

While tourists are waiting amidst the numerous pigeons on St. Mark’s Square in Venice to get the perfect Instagram picture, the yearly cost for each citizen to clean up after the pesky birdl rounds up to 275 euros per year. This considered, the government prohibited feeding the pigeons in 2008. So just spare yourself the fine.

7. Sightseeing in high heels.

In Greece, high heels are banned from places like Acropolis or any other ancient monuments out of fear of causing damage.

8. Have a prescription to chew!

Any manufacturing, selling or importing chewing gum in Singapore is forbidden. It could get you fined or even imprisoned unless your “chewing” has a medical or therapeutic purpose.

9. Just plan your last loo time.

In some flat blocks in Switzerland it is forbidden to flush the toilet after 10 pm, because apparently some residents get disturbed by it.

10. Take care of your chicken!

Yeah, sure, we all like to casually pet chicken. Just don’t take it with you for a hot-air balloon trip in New Zealand…there is a law restraining you from it. But make sure you don’t leave it wondering freely if you are staying in Georgia (Quitman); chickens are prohibited from crossing the street.

11. Sharing bathrooms.

There is a law in Scotland stating that if anyone should knock on your door asking for a toilet, you should let him use it. How considerate!

12. Show some decency, Winnie!

If you have some Winnie the Pooh shirts tucked in your backpack, make sure you don’t wear them in public in Poland. The cartoon bear isn’t wearing knickers, so it is considered inappropriate.

13. It is illegal to wear a suit of armour in British Parliament.

We all have this one suit of armour lying around at home for that trip to London, which is fine, just don’t go to the British Parliament wearing it. There is a law from 1313 which prohibits it; but since it is not as fashionable as in the Middle Ages, the British government won’t revoke it. Because why would they?!

14. Registering to a hotel room reconsidered.

A law in North Carolina states that if a man and a woman register together at a hotel and say they are married, they would by the common law marriage rules legally be considered just that, married. 

15. Taking an Uber in Colombia

 This is a weird one. Uber is illegal in Colombia because they failed to register as a taxi company. Maybe consider using a regular city cab instead.

16. When not to ask for time.

Think twice before asking for time in Madrid between 3:40 PM and 6:50 PM, as there is a socially accepted ban of “time-asking”. This isn’t an official law, though, but wearing a watch might spare you the looks

17. Hanging your underwear outside in Seville

If you are spending your holidays in the state of Seville next summer, make sure not to hang your underwear or any “suggestive attire” outside.

18. Selfie with Buddha?

In Sri Lanka turning your back to Buddha is considered disrespectful and it is also punishable by law. So selfies are a big no-go in sacred places.

19. Be a responsible driver!

When driving on the German motorway, make sure you don’t run out of gas because you will end up paying a fine. And if you want to quickly walk to the petrol station to get some spare gas, you might be advised to restrain yourself. That’s prohibited as well.

Are there some weird laws and rules I missed? Feel free to comment and add your own experiences with strange laws. Remember, empowering others is an AIESEC leadership skill; so let’s keep our criminal records clear.

Written by Klara Pahor

Zukunft der Arbeit: Generation Z & Covid-19

Täglich werden unzählige Artikel darüber geschrieben, wie sich der Arbeitsmarkt und unsere Arbeitsweise in Zukunft verändern werden. Dabei sind es vor allem zwei Faktoren, die im Moment immer wieder als Motoren für Veränderung angeführt werden: Einerseits ist es der Einstieg der Generation Z in den Arbeitsmarkt. Andererseits haben gerade auch die letzten Monate aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie ganz konkret neue Arbeitsmodelle hervorgebracht.

Geboren mit dem Internet

In Texten über die Generation Z (Gen Z), stößt man immer wieder auf folgende Punkte: Ein Leben ohne Internet ist unvorstellbar. Kommunikation übers Smartphone und Arbeit am Laptop sind selbstverständlich. Social Media ist ihre zweite Realität. Was den Arbeitsmarkt betrifft, erwartet sich die Gen Z vor allem mehr Flexibilität und Möglichkeiten der Individualisierung. Ich selbst sehe mich als Teil der Gen Z und stimme diesen Punkten durchaus zu. Allerdings kann ich nur vor zu groben Verallgemeinerungen warnen. Zuerst muss uns bewusst werden, dass in anderen Teilen der Welt neue Technik noch keineswegs so weit verbreitet ist. Daher schwingt auch immer ein Hauch von Eurozentrismus bzw. westlicher Dominanz bei dieser Definition der Gen Z mit. Davon abgesehen, ist die Gen Z selbst äußerst heterogen und von Widersprüchen geprägt.

Eine Generation der Widersprüche

Während wir als Gen Z durch die neue Technik mit der ganzen Welt vernetzt sind, sehnen wir uns doch nach Struktur und Sicherheit. Geborgenheit finden wir meist in der Familie oder im engen Freundeskreis. Obwohl oder gerade weil wir auf unseren Smartphones rund um die Uhr erreichbar sind, ist uns eine Trennung von Arbeit und Privatleben sehr wichtig. Technik bestimmt unseren Alltag, aber wir suchen den Bezug zur Natur. Gärtnern wird wieder zum beliebten Hobby. Wir lieben es die Welt zu bereisen, suchen aber zugleich nach den Wurzeln in unserer Heimat. All diese Widersprüche in unserer Generation haben natürlich auch Auswirkungen darauf, wie wir uns unsere Zukunft in der Arbeitswelt vorstellen. In einer Zeit, in der viele von uns gerade auf der Suche nach dem ersten richtigen Job sind, hat Covid-19 die Wirtschaft auf den Kopf gestellt. Damit wurde vielen Unternehmen aber auch klar, dass es notwendig ist ihr Konzept von Arbeit zu überdenken.

Nach Corona ist nichts mehr wie zuvor

Die letzten zwei Monate haben uns gezeigt, dass Arbeitsmodelle, die bisher nur am Rande existierten oder als illusionäre Wunschvorstellungen abgetan wurden, auch für die breite Masse interessant sind. Und unter den richtigen Voraussetzungen können diese auch von Unternehmen gelebt werden:  Twitter oder Microsoft sehen das Homeoffice als relevante alternative zum klassischen Büro und Neuseelands Regierungschefin hat in einer öffentlichen Ansprache Unternehmen zur Einführung einer 4-Tage-Woche ermuntert. Mehr Flexibilität und Freizeit klingt nach dem idealen Arbeitsmodell für die Gen Z. Bedenkt man jedoch die zuvor erwähnten Widersprüche, muss man davon ausgehen, dass auch klassische Arbeitsmodelle wie die 40-Stunden-Woche im Büro weiterhin relevant bleiben könnten, da sie Sicherheit und Stabilität vermitteln.

Auf die Jugend hören

Aber warum fragen wir nicht einfach bei denjenigen nach, die es wirklich betrifft? Warum fragen wir nicht die Gen Z, wie sie sich ihre  Karriere in der Arbeitswelt vorstellt? Der YouthSpeak Survey von AIESEC macht genau das. Er bietet Jugendlichen unter 30 eine Plattform, um ihre Meinung kund zu tun. Er gibt ihnen die Möglichkeit, ihre Zukunft selbst mitzubestimmen und ihre Wünsche und Bedürfnisse zu äußern.

Verfasst von Hanna Gsell

Speak Up: On Ideas, Initiative and Impact

Towards a sustainable future

In September 2015, the end of the United Nations General Assembly in New York seemed to bring with it a ray of hope for the future, a bolt of excitement and anticipation. 195 world leaders had agreed to the Sustainable Development Goals and committed to work towards a better future for the planet. For the first time in a while, we had something invaluable to help in our efforts while moving forward: a concrete plan. A set of targets that, if achieved, would finally mean the end of many long-standing problems which threaten life on the spinning globe of magic we call Earth.

Real progress is a tricky thing though. It doesn’t simply happen by adopting initiatives and hoping for the best, nor is it built on plans that we don’t follow up on. Progress, in its essence, is all about commitment. It’s about small, but purposeful and continuous actions that add up to big results. It’s about all of us deciding to take a stand and speak up about what matters, knowing that the outcome will decide our future. 

Let’s speak up together

This is exactly why we’re curious. As we mark the five-year anniversary of the plan for sustainable development, we are eager to hear from the very ones who hold the power to shape a different future. We’re interested to know more about YOUth. And we want to take it further than we’ve ever done before.

Why? Well, because in times such as the ones we happen to live through, it is vital to remind ourselves that what ultimately brings us closer to the SDGs, to change, are individuals. People who make an effort every day in order to raise awareness, to promote understanding and to inspire action in their communities. 

Because we know that, no matter what, we can not create progress without being inclusive. What we need is a deep awareness about everyone’s level of knowledge, everyone’s reality. And that is exactly what we want: to find out more – about your ideas and processes, about the hardships you face and about the way you are perceiving your environment. We want to give you a stage to showcase your thoughts. To shine a light on what it means to be a young person in 2020. Then, we want to use it to show what you can really do.

Consider this an open call: whoever you are, wherever you are, we want you to speak up. If you’re working to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality, or if you’ve never heard about them, we want to know about it. If you’re among the ones dreaming of a better world for everyone, we want to tell your story.

SPEAK UP and share your opinion by participating in the YouthSpeak Survey. It’s high time for the youth of the world to take the rains and make their voice heard.

Written by Ioana Varga

Coronavirus: The Effect on Human Rights

Today, the world faces a tough time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation affects not
just our daily life, but also a lot of things are different now from how they used to be. There
are lots of new rules and regulations all over the world every day. That is why one question
comes to one’s mind. Do human rights still have a meaning or do they lose their significance
during the fight against the coronavirus?

Lockdowns vs. Freedom of Movement

One change, for example, lays within Article 13, „the right to freedom of movement“. It
includes traveling, going on exchanges and moving to another country. However, these days
some states have closed their borders and only citizens can enter the country.

Self-isolation vs. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

This lockdown of countries leads to another significant part of the quarantine ㅡ self-isolation
at our homes. Normally, we as citizens have the right to meet up for „peaceful assembly and
association“(Article 20), like demonstrations. However, in these times the governments ban
these meetings to prevent the spreading of the virus. Apart from the demonstration, it affects
the private life of people with sick relatives and family events like weddings or funerals.

Tracking the Virus vs. Interference with Privacy

A more drastic change in the current situation is the loss of our privacy. According to the EU,
which is solely responsible for giving these companies the free-range to use user data, it is a
way to track down the virus and to minimize the spreading of this disease. The biggest
companies that use and collect anonymous location data in countries like France, Germany,
Italy, and Austria are in fact the national carries, such as “Telekom” in Austria.

All these points show us the impact COVID-19 already has on our Human rights and more
changes are still yet to come. Of course, we understand that the reason for all these
limitations is to save lives. But what we can learn from the whole situation is being grateful
for things that have always seemed natural to us and help other people to gain their right to
‘life, liberty and the security of person’ (Article 3).

 

Written by Monika Valjan, Petra Lippe

Why is travelling important?

When you ask people what they like the most, the most common answer is usually travelling.
Everyone likes having fun, meeting new people and creating memorable experiences.
However, if you wait too much; you will find yourself stuck in a routine that won’t allow you
to ‘leave’. Lack of money, lack of time, business, family, and practically anything could affect
your future travel decision. Therefore, you should take every opportunity as it happens, the
sooner the better. Here are some reasons why you should travel and why you should do so,
as soon as you have the time.

1. Open your mind

Travelling opens your mind in a way that you do not expect. Every place you go you will meet
new people with a different cultural background, customs, and ideas. From there you will
learn to open your perspective and look at things in a new way. You will have the chance to
learn new things and at the same time become more open to new ways of life and in general
learn to appreciate life more. Every person has a unique story and background, only by being
in contact with them you’ll be able to understand the beauty of this diversity.

2. Leave your comfort zone

Sometimes daily life forces people to be under certain constraints, such as, duties, moral,
education, religion or the similar. On the contrary, travelling will allow you to be free in
discovering who you want to be, where and whenever you want. You can experience a new
side of your own personality and in the end, you’ll find yourself to be more confident and
independent, because everything you did was without your family or friends’ help.

3. You choose

You are the protagonist of your experience. And in an ideal situation you should be free from
stress and concerns; thus, travelling is the best opportunity to discover new passions, plan
new trips, reconsider past hobbies, and enjoy every moment along the way with your loved
ones. In this way you will fuel your energy with positivity, coming back home with good
stories to share and at the end reflect the changes you would like to make in your past
behaviours.

4. Develop other skills

Travelling will give you valuable skills to employ in your personal, but also professional
career. A new environment always comes with new challenges that you have never faced
before. You need to adapt and react to new and unexpected circumstances. This way you will
develop new, soft and hard skills.

5. International friends

Being a traveller is different than being a tourist. Once you immerse yourself in a new culture
you cannot ‘avoid’ learning their language, asking questions and exploring. This will let you
meet locals or other curious like you, making friends who share your passion and creating
relationships that go beyond the distance.

Once you start, you cannot stop. Travelling becomes a habit and even a need. Staying in one
place gets boring and I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to visit friends, search for
new events, find cheap plane tickets, all as an excuse to travel somewhere new. What about
you? !

 

Written by Noemi Fiore

How to cope in quarantine: Tips and Tricks from AIESEC in Vienna BOKU

It‘s safe to say that the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our lives in their core. Our mobility has been restricted and we are now spending the majority of our days inside of our homes. Everyone has adjusted to quarantine life differently: some tried their best to continue with their normal lives by setting up home office and keeping a productivity log, some have focused their attention on improving themselves, be it physically or spiritually, and some are still having a hard time adjusting. We don’t know how long this new life is going to last and that scares most of us. But the important thing to note is that we must always look for a silver lining. In the true AIESEC spirit, we must remain solution-oriented and ask ourselves: what is this pandemic teaching us?

 

Because now for the first time we have the time to really look at our lives and ask ourselves what is truly important to us. The stillness is bound to make us think and after the initial shock, make us evaluate our every day.

 

So we would like to share with you a list of things we have learned during the quarantine and that we hope to take with us when the restrictions are lifted and we go back to our busy schedules.

 

  1. A busy schedule isn‘t everything.

Many have found the time away from the office very deadly to their productivity. Feelings of guilt after the entire day of watching Netflix and eating snacks fill the confessionals on social media. But we say – that‘s okay. Taking a few days or even a week to rest and do nothing can actually be very beneficial for our productivity. Now that we have the gift of time, we can take a few days or even a week to recharge and adjust to the new normal. Feeling good makes us do good and that is something worth remembering.

 

2. Our health and well-being should come first.

 It is easy to forget our health and well-being in the rush of a Monday. But now that we don‘t have anywhere to go, we have the time to focus on ourselves. We can stop skipping meals and exercise and cutting hours to our beauty sleep. We have the opportunity during quarantine to make these healthy habits into a routine. After spending some time in PJs and catching up on Netflix series, feel free to go for a jog or a walk, cook your favorite foods and share recipes with friends. Take care of yourself first, so that you could take care of others.

 

3. Connection with those who matter most knows no restrictions.

For some of us who are studying abroad and are currently separated from our families, quarantine has been especially hard. The Internet has played a vital role here in keeping us connected with those we love. Some of us who were lucky enough to catch a flight back home have been reconnected with old friends years after we lost touch. The vulnerability that we feel in times of crisis can bring out the worst in people, but also bring us closer together. It reminds us of what is truly important.

 

4. Be more present.

When was the last time you had the uninterrupted time to spend it with your family? Do you remember playing board games, exercising together, watching movies? Now we have the time to remind ourselves of these things and we also get reminded of how much we miss them. Use this time to take interest in what your loved ones are passionate about, let them show you their favorite board games, movies or bands. And make a mental note for the future to call your brother more often and answer to your dad sending you memes.

 

5.We should be grateful to live in times of global connectivity.

We take the internet for granted. We have the ability to keep in touch with those who live far from us and at the tip of our fingers and we also have access to loads of information from all around the world. We can take care of important administrative tasks sitting on our couch or take an online class to improve our skills. Most students in Austria won‘t have delays in their studies thanks to the flexibility of Universities to hold online lessons and exams. This is a huge advantage in regards to past crisis experiences and also to some other countries and cultures who aren‘t as developed. That is something to be grateful for, and while we‘re on the subject of gratitude…

 

6. We should be grateful for the little things in our lives.

We have seen how quickly the corona epidemic has spread across the world and changed our lives from one day to another. Before the quarantine, we didn‘t even think about whether we would find our favorite type of pasta in the stores. Going to the store freely is no longer something we are able to enjoy, among other things such as meeting friends for coffee, reading a book in the coffeehouse, going to movies or just taking a walk around the city for no other reason than to enjoy the beautiful architecture and scenery.

 

7. Different people – same fears.

Many countries around the world are experiencing the same effects due to the global spread of the virus and people all around the world are having similar experiences. Fear is something we all feel. The hardest-hit countries like Italy, for example, have received support from the global society during this time. #prayforitaly is a symbol of global solidarity. That is something we could keep in our minds even after the crisis has ended.

 

 8. Our planet can benefit from short periods of calm.

It has been three months since the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China. The country has already reported lower levels of air pollution. The Venetian Canals have cleared up. The overall pause in global travel has benefited our planet more than we thought possible. This situation showed us that we can make faster progress in our fight against climate change. Could we be able to give up certain excessive luxuries for the sake of our planet? Maybe the majority of production could become local again. Maybe we can lower the amount of international travel. The corona crisis has stopped our lives completely, but that has given us a view into possibilities for our future lifestyle. It would be irresponsible to forget these lessons, no matter how hard the adjustment might be.

 

We will try to remember these lessons and apply them to our future no matter what it holds.  We hope to have inspired you to think more about your present moment and see benefits in it. If you have any other lessons you would like to share with us, visit our social media channels and let us know!

 

Written by AIESEC in Vienna BOKU

Leadership in Zeiten von Corona

Die letzten Wochen haben viele plötzliche Veränderungen mit sich gebracht. COVID-19 hat sich auch in Österreich immer schneller ausgebreitet. Seit dem 16. März herrschen in Österreich Ausgangsbeschränkungen, die die Ausbreitung des Virus verlangsamen und eine Überlastung des Gesundheitssystems verhindern sollen: Das Haus verlassen wir nur noch zum Arbeiten, Einkaufen, um anderen zu helfen. Bewegung an der frischen Luft ist zwar erlaubt, allerdings nur alleine oder mit den Personen aus dem eigenen Haushalt. Für viele bedeutet die derzeitige Situation eine komplette Umstellung ihres Lebensstils: Arbeit im Homeoffice, keine Treffen mit Freunden, nicht mehr auswärts essen, die ganze Familie ist ständig zu Hause… Ich übertreibe wohl nicht, wenn ich sage, dass diese Situation jeden auf eine bestimmte Art und Weise herausfordert. Und gerade deswegen ist Leadership, wie ich ihn durch AIESEC kennen gelernt habe, in dieser Zeit so wichtig!

#WorldCitizen

Am 11. März wurde COVID-19 von der WHO zu einer Pandemie erklärt, d. h. es handelt sich ganz offiziell um ein globales Phänomen. Um die Lage in deinem Heimatland richtig einschätzen zu können, musst du dich daher über das Geschehen auf der ganzen Welt informieren. So kannst du zeigen, dass du ein World Citizen bist:

  • Informiere dich über die aktuelle Lage auf seriösen nationalen und internationalen Nachrichtenkanäle (Internet, Radio, Fernsehen…).
  • Hinterfrage alle Informationen kritisch und nimm dich vor Fake News in Acht.
  • Überprüfe Informationen, in dem du verschiedene Quellen und Medien zu Rate ziehst.

#EmpoweringOthers

Gerade in Krisenzeiten ist es wichtig für andere dazusein. Trotz Ausgangsbeschränkung haben wird dank neuer Medien etliche Möglichkeiten miteinander in Kontakt zu treten und uns gegenseitig aufzumuntern. Geh auf die Gefühle der anderen ein, aber vermeide es negative Stimmung zu verbreiten und zeig, dass du das Zeug dazu hast, andere zu empowern:

  •  Telefoniere regelmäßig mit Menschen, die dir nahe stehen.
  • Melde dich auch mal denjenigen, von denen du schon lange nichts mehr gehört hast.
  •  Denke vor allem an ältere oder alleinstehende Personen und lass sie wissen, dass du für sie da bist..

#SolutionOriented

Besondere Herausforderungen, erfordern besondere Maßnahmen! Für viele ist es ungewohnt, den ganzen Tag zu Hause zu verbringen und keine strikte Trennung zwischen Freizeit und Arbeit zu haben. Sei kreativ, um dich an die neue Situation anzupassen und konzentriere dich auf die positiven Seiten von Homeoffice & Co.

  •  Du kannst deine Routine nach deinen individuellen Bedürfnissen gestalten.
  • Finde heraus, wobei du dich am besten erholen kannst und plane genug Pausen zwischen Arbeitseinheiten ein.
  • Achte auf genug Bewegung, vom online Coach über eine sportliche WG-Challenge bis hin zu einer Runde um den Häuserblock hast du auch hier die verschiedensten Möglichkeiten.

#SelfAware

Es ist ganz natürlich, dass in unsicheren Zeiten nicht immer alles wie am Schnürchen läuft. Wir verbringen einen Großteil unseres Tages zu Hause und vermissen unsere sozialen Kontakte. Vielleicht kommt es auch durch das Zusammenleben mit anderen zu angespannten Situationen, denen man zurzeit nur schwer entkommen kann. Deswegen ist es wichtig, dass du dir Zeit für dich selber nimmst, denn nur wenn du verstehst, was in dir vorgeht, kannst du negativen Gefühlen und deren Folgen entgegenwirken.

  • Nimm die Zeit dafür, über dich und dein Leben nachzudenken – meditiere, schreibe ein Tagebuch oder ähnliches.
  • Kommuniziere deine Gefühle nach außen – lasse vor allem die Menschen, mit denen du zusammen wohnst, wissen, was in dir vorgeht.
  • Setze klare Grenzen – schalte dein Handy aus oder mach die Tür zu, wenn es dir zu viel wird.  

 

Verfasst von Hanna Gsell

10 things to do to tame your Wanderlust during COVID-19

Borders are closed, flights are canceled and you don’t know when you will pack your suitcase again. Although we know that we have to stay at home for our own safety, we all can’t wait for the next trip. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore other places right now. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can get a sense of traveling even during the quarantine.

1.Read a book about the other side of the world

Read a travel guide. Yes, those books with tips on what you should visit in another country and other useful information about the destination. We know that you go on Instagram to search for cool places, but give it a try. If you are a big fan of fiction ― go for a story that takes place somewhere else in the world. For example, the novel ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts ― let yourself be inspired by its vivid portrayal of bubbly life in Bombay.

2. Make traditional food

One thing people start doing more in quarantine is obviously eating. But why not make it more entertaining and cook a dish from another cuisine. Do some research on the internet and pamper yourself with a Mexican taco, Ukrainian dumplings, or Thai tom yum soup. Next time you are traveling, you will know what to search for.

3. Watch a movie about another country

Doesn’t matter if it’s a YouTube travel show, a Netflix documentary, or a foreign soap-opera as long as it feels completely different from home. But there is one thing that you seriously have to watch. We are talking about ‘Kedi’, the most adorable movie ever about cats and kittens enjoying their life along the streets of Istanbul. Take a rest from scrolling your news feed and let the Turkish music, city views, and cats calm you down. Meow!

4. Plan your next trip

Sometimes planning is as enjoyable as what we actually plan. Don’t take this pleasure away from yourself and think of places you want to go to as soon as we can travel again. Look for a tourist must-see, places to try national cuisine, or where to take the most stunning photos. Now you actually have time to arrange everything from scratch so don’t miss it.

5. Learn some words in another language

There is hardly something more useful for a trip than knowing how to speak the basics of a local language. Take some time to practice saying ‘hello’ in Arabic or how to shop in Spanish. Luckily for you, there are dozens of free resources online and maybe you’re going to speak a new language after the quarantine is over. Vamos Habibi!

6. Try out a daily routine of someone from another culture

When we have our usual working or studying routine, most of the time we are not in the mood to try something new. But now when you’re supposed to stay at home almost 24/7, which we hope you do, you can check out some routine features from the other cultures. Take a siesta for example. The main point is not blaming yourself for taking a nap even if you’re not tired. You’re not lazy, you’re Spanish today!

7. Get to know someone from another country

In the time of social-distancing, staying in touch with people is important. Find yourself a pen pal from another country to ask them dozens of questions about their culture. What is the best national dish in their country, the most popular bar, and if there are some weird language expressions ― why not find out?

8. Do virtual museum tours

Will there be a better time to visit the most popular museums virtually? Hopefully not. But while it’s the only option you have, walk down the digital corridors of the Louvre and the British Museum and take some screenshots.

9. Make a travel board

Create a picture board with photos, postcards, and tickets from your previous trips
Let yourself be as nostalgic and emotional as possible and appreciate all the amazing experiences that you’ve had so far. Take your time to enjoy the process and put the board in a visible place. Now smile every time you see it. Good job!

 

Written by Rita Papakina

Summer at Roots Camp: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Volunteering at Roots Camp

Hanna has been volunteering at Roots Camp while participating in the Mahlzeit Austria project.

As the Mahlzeit Austria project nears its end, Hanna reflects on her experience working at Roots Camp. AIESEC volunteers at this summer camp are promoting an unplugged and sustainable lifestyle to Austrian youth. Living without running water, electricity and the luxuries of modern life, Hanna realized that you don’t need these things to have an amazing experience. She also learned that we must respect nature if we want our planet to thrive.

Since the Mahlzeit Austria project is promoting SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), the camp is teaching its campers that living sustainably is possible. Actually, it can be a life changing experience.

And loving life’s simple pleasures is easier than you think!

Working at the camp

Campers sleep in teepees and live without electricity and running water.

Upon arrival at the camp, which is located south of Vienna, Hanna is responsible for the young campers. This includes making sure they sleep well, preparing food and organizing activities. Since campers sleep in teepees and prepare meals on the fire, leaders such as Hanna are needed to ensure a smooth transition to this new lifestyle. 

She adds that she was always “present at the different activities such as archery, wood carving [and] the games station at the wrestling tournaments.” Doing archery in the woods sounds like a good time. Wish I was there!

Living off the grid

Life without electricity and running water sounds like a difficult task. However, Hanna explains:

“It became quite easy to adapt to the living conditions… I just found my inner Jane from Tarzan and lived life to the fullest there. You shouldn’t stay too much focused on the difficulty of adapting to the life there… You basically have to get over it and enjoy it.”

That’s it. To have a successful AIESEC experience, you need an open mind and a positive attitude. Only then can you become a leader.

Learning to live sustainably

In its essence, Roots Camp is about respecting our environment and enjoying life without the luxuries we take for granted. This is how volunteers promote responsible consumption on behalf of the Mahlzeit Austria project. Hanna summarizes: 

“If we ruin nature than our whole ecosystems are ruined, so respect nature and learn how to appreciate it, but also use it… It’s called Roots Camp so we do go back to the roots of where it all started.”

Memories made

Beyond working with children and adapting to a more sustainable way of living, Hanna says that “it’s quite nice to experience what it’s like to live without a phone, to live without a hot shower and always cook your food on fire and actually make fire all the time.” Overall, she describes working at the camp as a “cool experience.”

Lots of memories were made at the camp, including this sunset!

If you are meeting volunteers from around the world, doing archery in the forest and promoting an SDG, your Summer is cool in more ways than one.

Click here to find your next AIESEC experience. 

Working at Wiener Tafel: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Meet a Global Volunteer in Austria

Marija, Global Volunteer and aisecer, poses at the Wiener Tafel office in Vienna, Austria.

“I have always wanted to visit this city [Vienna]. And then, I chose this project because I saw this opportunity to work in [an] office, to see how things are done… [h]ere, people are really really friendly,” says Marija Milicevic. As a Global Volunteer, she is working  at the Wiener Tafel office to promote and learn about food sustainability.

From Serbia, Marija speaks English as  a second language and is practicing her German in Vienna: “you get used to it,” she tells me. “Sometimes they forget that you know English and they start to speak [German] a lot… but it is [good] practice.”

 

About Wiener Tafel

This non-profit organization collects and redistributes food that would otherwise be thrown away. Wiener Tafel also raises awareness about the effects of excessive food waste on the environment and works to reduce this problem through projects such as “Soup with Sense” and “TafelBox.” This Summer they have taken some AIESEC Global Volunteers under their wing to continue their mission for sustainable consumption and production.

Working at the office

Sharing her experience so far at Wiener Tafel, Marija says:

I saw how people wish to help others… it really surprises me because in my country, it is not the same situation. They will like to help, but we do not have something like Wiener Tafel to give that opportunity. Definitely after this project I will be more responsible about wasting food.”

Marija prepares letters and pamphlets that promote projects by Wiener Tafel.

She has no previous experience working for an environmental initiative, but says that “after this, I will start to take part in some other volunteer projects.” This opportunity is motivating young people to increase their knowledge about food waste and expand their borders at the same time. Looks like Marija is becoming a better global citizen every day!

Her enthusiasm is inspiring, and there is no shortage of it going around among the volunteers. 

Advice for future Global Volunteers

When I ask her if she would be a Global Volunteer again, she says “yes, definitely because during this project I met really really good people and I hope to stay in contact with them. I feel like I am growing up during this project.”

Whether you are learning German or promoting food sustainability, the best way to get good at something is to be immersed in it. When you are saving the planet and becoming a leader (as Marija is), it’s the same deal. Don’t learn about something from afar. Get out of your comfort zone and jump right in.

And doing so alongside people who love to explore and learn is even better. 

 

First workshop completed! Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

This week, global volunteers debuted their workshops on food waste…

After spending the week preparing their workshops for youth on food sustainability, Mahlzeit Austra volunteers put their skills to the test for the first time. (Learn about the workshops and their creation process here).

At Mahlzeit Austria, volunteers such as Daria and Olia are promoting one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to youth. Here’s a run down of the some volunteers’ experience with their first workshop. What did they learn and what will they do differently in the coming weeks? Let’s find out.

Mission success: Mahlzeit Austria Volunteers Olia, Maria, Lasha and Daria at their first workshop about food waste.

My roommate, Daria, is sitting on the couch as we discuss the results of the first workshop. “For me it was cool, because children were really quiet and good,” she says.  BTW, Daria is my friendly roommate who may appear many times in this blog. We’re lucky we get to hear her input on a lot of these important matters!

Fellow volunteer Olia tells me about her lack of experience with children and speaking German. It was no surprised then that teaching children in German was even more daunting. Fortunately, they pulled through using teamwork. Despite the challenges, she tells me, the “children understood us and we felt their support and interest.” I guess this is my chance to thank any child who listens attentively and enthusiastically. They make all the difference!

Never stop improving

As we walked out of our first workshop,  we immediately discussed how to improve ourselves. Our final consensus is to include more games. Daria tells me, “maybe it can be more fun for children, because sometimes it’s like a lecture and they need to move more. I think children need it.” I agree. Children don’t want to listen to a lecture. Neither do I. 

When asked what she would have done differently, Olia reflects, “I would have probably added more games, but it went well in general. the amount of feedback we received was priceless because children liked us and listened to the things we told. The best is that they realized how important the topic is.” The SDG Mahlzeit Austria is promoting (responsible consumption and production) is important to volunteers and youth alike (or anyone who cares about humanity’s future, tbh). That’s why these volunteers welcome feedback and improvement.

That’s because the most important part of anything we do is getting better at it. Taking an event as a learning experience is at the heart of any AIESEC opportunity, and it’s why they are committed to providing youth with global experiences.

Teamwork > Flying solo

Remember enjoying participation? It’s one of AIESEC’s core values and ties in nicely with what we’re doing in Vienna with these workshops.

Though working with other people can be tricky (you have dealt with lazy group members and annoying partners, because haven’t we all?), I was happy to see my colleagues work together successfully. They also seem to notice the benefits of doing so.

“Benefits of working in a team environment are obviously in a number of ideas which we can produce together. We can also all participate in a project which makes our job easier because we don’t have to do everything on our own.” You said it, Olia! I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

 

3 books to read for the Summer

As the academic year has come to an end, one always seems to aspire for a rejuvenating Summer. Not sure what else you can do than your experience abroad? Whether you are currently prepping to get ready for your internship or volunteering project, I strongly advise you to take time to read these three books this Summer. What makes your experience with AIESEC so unique is that we help you conquer the world with our ‘Inner- and Outer Journey’ for leadership development, this means not only to gain professional hands on experience or impacting a community, but to also dig deep within yourself to enhance what we acknowledge as leadership qualities, being more self aware, being a world citizen, being solution oriented and being able to empower others. These books truly reflect on how to enhance these qualities and will help you on your journey to conquer the world. 

The first book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. A truly inspiring author who takes her approach to how to embrace your innate creativity and how it is your key to success. She draws inspiration from her family an friends to prove just how going for what you truly want and breaking down your fears will make you truly successful. This work of art contains how to create your art, how to cope with professional challenges or to accomplish your dream or to as well make your daily life more rewarding. Every young person should give this a read. 

Image result for big magic

The second book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. He speaks of the seven habits every leader should form and obtain in order to be truly successful in life itself. He also speaks of how to make these habits stick and why they are ultimately necessary in order for you as a person to grow and the importance of working in a team. His book is now widely read amongst professionals and young people seeking to upscale his/her business or organisation. 

Image result for 7 habits of highly effective book

 

Last, but not least Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This Stanford University professor came up with the theory of Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset. Mind you that growth mindset does not necessarily see growth in the sense of numbers, but growth as a person. On this note I would like to quote Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Related image

 

Take a chance to read these books this Summer on your experience. I believe these books will make you more self aware about what you want in life and who you are, they will make you more agile and solution oriented and I believe they will encourage you to empower others. These books will enhance your experience abroad with AIESEC. Have a great Summer and let us know online what you think by tagging us on your social media at @aiesecinaustria on both instagram and facebook and using the #livetheexperience hashtag!  

 

Missed the opportunity to go abroad this Summer? Don’t miss the opportunity to go abroad this Winter, sign up here.

Our Global Approach to Entrepreneurship

As we go into our 7th batch of Empower Austria, I thought I would commemorate it by taking you through the essence and motive of our project. Empower Austria was born in September 2016. It was designed to meet the short time skill requirement needs of Austrian Start-ups and to bring in young internationals and their perspectives into the local Start-up scene. By the end of the Summer, we would have brought 150 interns to over 100 Start-ups. In three years, we have had the opportunity to partner up with multiple excelerators, start-up platforms and even create our own entrepreneurship kit in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. (UNIDO)

 

Empower Austria is our project based on AIESEC’s product shaped for the entrepreneurial scene, Global Entrepreneur. Global Entrepreneur was created in 2015 to cater to Start-ups and young aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world. We aim to cater to Start-ups by bringing aspiring international entrepreneurs to your venture whilst we offer these young individuals the opportunity to internationally develop themselves and their career. 

 

Our global value proposition for businesses is to ultimately to bridge the gap between an expensive and globalised company. We aim to solve this gap by helping you acquire bright minds from all over the world with our processes it would be as easy if not easier than hiring locally and all of this at an affordable price tailored for the Start-up scene. These passionate interns are carefully handpicked to not only contribute, but also learn from your venture. With Global Entrepreneur, we seek to help globalise your Start-up and customer bases grow to exceed borders and languages. 

 

As for the interns themselves, we promote this opportunity to be able to dip their toes into their aspiring career and for them to understand the behind the scenes of a fully functioning Start-up. In all our products, AIESEC for youth focus on leadership development and creating opportunities for young people to step out of their comfort zone. These interns actively apply for these projects as an opportunity to extend their horizon culturally, personally and professionally. 

 

On this note, we invite you to be part of inspiring and being inspired by the entrepreneurs tomorrow. We invite you to be part of a movement that is beyond borders and to boost your venture at the same time. Our project is tailored for a Start-ups just like yours. What are you waiting for? Sign up here.

5 Common Mistakes While Traveling

With Summer around the corner, we thought we would share five common mistakes for you to watch out for on your upcoming trip! 

  1. Not buying insurance.  One of the biggest investments one should take forward is travel insurance. Insurance that covers emergency medical expenses beyond your country’s borders. Often it can also extend to covering all cancellation fee may an emergency arrive. 
  2.  Arranging transportation from the wrong airport. One city with two or more airports that sound the same? It might deem as self-explanatory, but better be safe than sorry because these things do happen. Leave your self 30 seconds to double check the airport on your ticket before arranging transportation. 
  3. Not checking Visa requirements. As previously stated, might seem self-explanatory but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s also worth mentioning to be aware of how long in advance you need to apply for your visa as some might take a number of days up to a couple of weeks. 
  4. Touristic vs Authentic. Don’t get trapped in the touristic part of traveling! Step out into the authentic whilst your there. Listen to local recommendations when available and do not solely rely on travel books. Plus point is that local areas tend to be cheaper than the touristic ones. 
  5.  Being culturally insensitive. Take the initiative to step out of your comfort zone, to understand the local reality and new cultures. An open mind will help you absorb the culture and help you gain better understanding thus developing your world view. 

These things can be deemed as intimidating if you are a beginner traveler or if you’re traveling alone. Good news is that when volunteering with AIESEC, we cover all of these bases. We ensure and handle simple insurance and visa processes before you leave, we arrange airport pickup from AIESECers upon your arrival and you get a taste of life in that respective country by volunteering towards one of the Sustainable Development Goals! Find your perfect fit at aiesec.org

 

4 Qualities You Need As A Global Leader

If you’ve ever spent time thinking about or working with leadership, you’ll know that it’s something incredibly hard to define, and even harder to embody. But you’ll also know that within effective leadership lies the secret to making change happen.

A Response To Global Challenges

It’s no secret that the world we live in is facing challenges – visit any popular news site for a few dozen examples. But the fundamental solution to these issues lies in engaging oneself, but also other people, to tackle the various problems head-on. In a sense, leadership. To achieve these solutions on the long run, it’s a logical conclusion that we need to make sure that young people – the next generation of prime ministers and CEOs and heads of NGOs – are challenged from early on, and equipped with the personal values, passions and skills that they need to make a proverbial dent in the universe.

For this reason, AIESEC works every day, around the globe, to provide powerful practical experiences to young people, that will instill in them a sense of responsibility, as well as those leadership qualities that they need to make the world a better place. And while leadership is still one of the hardest words to define objectively, in AIESEC, we believe that there are four qualities, that are the most important to develop in young people, to shape them as competent leaders for our world.

The Leadership Development Model

The first of these revolves around world citizenship. People who possess this quality aren’t only interested in what’s going on in their immediate vicinity, but they stay on top of news and problems from around the globe, and take responsibility to solve these as well. World citizens are the types of people who act to build a better world, because they enjoy it. They know that even the smallest actions can be significant, and they strongly believe they can make a difference in the world.

Secondly, AIESEC experiences develop self awareness in youth. They plenty of challenges and give spaces for participants to reflect on what defines them as a individual, and by extension, as a leader. They allow participants to get to know their strengths and weaknesses, but put the focus on strengths. They give participants spaces to explore their passions and values, and consider how these can contribute to a bigger cause.

The third quality is solution orientation. An effective leader does not dwell on the problems and adversity they face, but moves quickly to consider how to move forward from there. Towards the people they work with, they transmit positivity no matter how uncertain the circumstance, and has a great awareness of risk, taking the leap when it’s needed, and when others may not.

Finally, AIESEC strives to develop a capability to empower others. Through effective communication skills, even in diverse audiences and environments, through engaging others in a bigger purpose and through focussing on developing and investing in others, this quality maximizes the overall effect of the cause of the leadership. It can make the difference between an effective individual, and a powerful organization – even a movement.

World citizenship. Self awareness. Solution orientation. The ability to empower others. These qualities aren’t randomly chosen. They are responses to the way our global society has been developing, and they are what will be required from the leaders of the future – indeed, from anyone looking to make a difference in the way the world works. These are the leadership qualities that AIESEC strives to develop in young people through everything it does.

You can develop these qualities as well! Go on a volunteering exchange this summer, to countries like India, Indonesia, Colombia or Mexico, and find out firsthand why contributing to our global society can change how you see yourself. Apply to opportunities at aiesec.org.

How Time Abroad Can Change Your Life

Taking the step to go abroad for a long time not only comes with a new environment, people and cultures, but also with a lot of personal growth. I would even say that through my studies abroad I feel like another person. The experience enabled me to go beyond the known. And I can say that this was the best time I have had so far! My way of thinking and attitude has changed and I believe that a year abroad might have similar effects on you. To help you understand what I am talking about, here are five reasons why time abroad can change your life:

You Get out of Your Comfort Zone

I had never moved houses before and had been surrounded by more less the same people since primary school. I wanted to change this and was willing to discover new things and meet new people. My decision to go abroad forced me to get out of my comfort zone – the country being completely unfamiliar just like the people. Now I am aware that life also exists outside the bubble I was in. All I had to do was take the first step. I don’t fear change anymore since doing that. On the contrary: I see it as a chance to enrich my life positively with new people and to gain experience.

You Will Be Independent

My stay abroad was the first time I had been away from my family. I would say that before my exchange semester I was anything but independent as my parents were arranging everything for me. However, in a foreign country far away from my hometown, I had to look for a flat myself, I learned that the fridge doesn’t fill itself and that the laundry doesn’t do itself either. At first, it was a big change. But, after a short time, it became quite normal for me to cope with everyday life without the help of mum or dad. I have the feeling that my stay abroad has made me more self-sufficient. After my return home, one of the first things I did was the search for an apartment of my own. And I love it! Time has shown that I can do everything on my own if I want to.

You Learn Another Language

At school, I was one of the people that hated reading out loud in English class because I was so worried about my pronunciation. Even on holiday, I was very hesitant about speaking another language whether English or French – I always let my friends order for me in the restaurant. Abroad, however, I was confronted with another language all day long because there were no Germans in my new environment. And look at what happened! After only a few weeks conversations became easier and easier for me. Even if I didn’t know a word or didn’t pronounce it properly, I didn’t think about it anymore. Today I don’t have to think when I speak English. I also try to use the other languages I’ve been studying for years at every opportunity. It would be a shame to unlearn them!

You Will Be Open to Foreign Cultures

Different countries, different customs: during your time abroad you will notice that there are other cultures besides yours. I met people from all over the world. Our flat was an international group and everyone was influenced by the culture of their country of origin. I learned an incredible amount about different customs regarding food, drinks, clothing, education, and religion in other countries. For example, I had to learn that not all cultures and countries gave punctuality top priority. Therefore, I became more patient. I left my host country with a new, more open way of thinking and it became clear to me not to judge a book by its cover.

You Realize You Can Feel Homesick for More Than One Place

When I think back to my time abroad, I become nostalgic. I remember the smell of my favorite Indian restaurant, the coffee around the corner where I knew the barista and my favorite bar where my friends and I would dance until dawn. I knew every corner of the city. I learned to love it and soon felt like a local. Before my year abroad, I never imagined in my life that I could feel home somewhere else. Now I know that one can also feel homesick for several places and feel like coming home on your return.

You see, there are many reasons for spending a long time abroad. It doesn’t matter whether you want to spend a language year, a semester abroad, or do an internship in another country, you will certainly not regret it and return as a different person.

Verena Hellinger – StudentJob Partnerblog

Think global, be global!

Ever wondered what separates short-lived startups, from successful international ventures?

According to the World Economic Forum, successful startups have shaped themselves into 21st century startups consisting of 5 characteristics: Experience-centric, outcome-based, agile and lean, service oriented and ecosystem-driven. With this framework, I am going to prove to you how internationalizing your startup can bring you closer to being a global 21st century startup, and thus to success!

1. Experience-centric & 4. Service-oriented

Nowadays, customers are looking more for just a solution to one of their problems, they take importance in the quality of their customer experience from start to end. This goes beyond what your startup ultimately offers as its value proposition. With globalization and the rise of global entrepreneurs, understanding of not just what your local market wants but as well what the global market is looking for is crucial. Having internationals in your company provides your startup with the global insight of what the globalized market needs and allows your product or service to cater to everyone everywhere.

2. Outcome-based & 5. Ecosystem-driven

A 21st century startup is driven through outcome-based targets. To achieve these, Startups need to be part of teams across functions or partners with collaborative bridges or platforms. The word amongst 21st century startups is ‘ecosystem’. To refrain from competition, but rather embrace connection in the mutual market. When you bring an international into your market, not only are you bringing in that individual’s specific set of skills but also his/her understanding of their respective local market and prior connections which you would have otherwise not had. This gives you the opportunity to foster international collaborations which ultimately gives your company a wider reach. It also gives you a feel of how companies abroad deal with problem solving and help you stay on top of new developments.

3. Agile and lean

Working with an international team with different norms and cultures can often stray your away from your comfort zone until the only way you can cope with it is through adapting to it. You learn to appreciate and pick up the positive quirks and can incorporate it into your startup culture making operations more efficient. Also, the company as a whole may be able to adapt faster to challenges that may arise during operations. Generally, global entrepreneurs have developed an open mindset to keep learning from new opportunities which often can lead to big innovation spikes. It has been proven that those who have been exposed to international work cultures are more open to having a more holistic workforce which ultimately plays a big role in the growth of their venture.

Ultimately, the point is that you will gain the ability to work with and handle a diverse workforce. Most developed 21st century startups are workplaces filled with diversity and multiculturalism. This energy enables you to adapt and familiarize yourself with various working styles and cultures.

Are you ready to let become an international, 21st century startup? Empower Austria can support you to easily and affordable find the perfect international interns for your venture!

The work world is changing, how can I adapt?

The world of work is changing. According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will be employed in jobs that do not yet exist. Sustainable Development Goal 8 aims to increase productivity and tackle unemployment rates. It also aims to eliminate all types of informal work to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth. (Sustainable Development) If most jobs are predicted to be taken over by automation and soon artificial intelligence, how can we prepare ourselves for the future? We need to prepare ourselves in a way that will easily allow us to adapt into future jobs, but as well for us to fulfil our passion. In my opinion, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is an amazing framework to kick off your plan towards your professional life with success and passion!

Be Proactive
Reactive people focus on the things that are simply out of their control. Proactive people on the other hand realise that complaining about something that is not going to change anything, but there are things that can be controlled that can influence your ultimate goal. People normally focus on the things that they cannot control, because it is simply easier, because it does not require you to actually do something about it. But in order to be successful and to work into creating an outcome you hope to see, do something about it.

Begin with the end in mind
When you leave this earth, what do you want to be remembered by? Are you achieving your goals? Are you actively working towards becoming the person you ultimately want to be? Make sure that what you are doing today contributes to what you want people to remember about you when the time comes and for you to live your life to the fullest.

Put first things first
Think about when someone asks you what you deem as most important in your life, what are you thinking about? Now, think about how much to contributed or spent time with that today and if not today in the past week? Are you truly putting first things first?

Think win-win
This is a crucial point for your future working life and your way up to success. Not everything is a zero sum game, in order for you to win, someone else does not have to lose. If we think this way, we will never be able to fulfil SDG 8 and without a collective win, you will never be able to grow to your fullest potential.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Say you worked really hard on a paper for University until it seems like you were putting in more effort into your paper than your friends were in theirs, but you got the lowest grade in the class. This is important, because often times we do not understand what the exercise wants needs or how it is supposed to be answered. We do not listen to what the professor or whoever is grading your paper wants you to mention or how you should structure your paper or what that person wants you to learn from it. So seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Synergise
Team work is the dream work. As cliche as it sounds, if you work as a collective you will be able to achieve much more than you would on your own.

Sharpen the saw
You have to work on the foundation before you build your house. What does that mean? We need to work on the things that mentally and physically do us good in order for us to strive in this life. Do the little things that make us people, that helps us relax, the things that bring us joy, the things that will motivate us and give us the energy to do exactly what we want to achieve.

Start working on this seven points today and await your successful, passion filled journey on contributing the SDG 8. The world is your oyster! What are you doing this summer? Do you want to travel and work on a project based on one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals? Find your perfect match at aiesec.org!

Some Plastic for Dinner?

Let’s talk about the mess we are making in our oceans. But first:

3 things you need to know to survive:

  • Water covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface.
  • The human body consists of 70-80% water.
  • Without water, a person can not live for more than 7 days.

Water is the source of our life. So why, according to estimates by the UN environmental service, are about 8 tons of plastic, household, and industrial waste, thrown out into the ocean every year?

Even such a large natural resource is not able to recycle so much waste. There is a poisoning of the fauna and flora of both coastal and marine, the decline of fisheries.

Plastic waste makes up clusters and stains in the waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Most of the garbage is generated due to the dumping of waste from densely populated areas of the coast. Often, marine animals swallow bags and small particles of plastic, confusing them with food, which leads to their death.

greenpeace.org.uk

It was found that only in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, the amount of plastic increased 100 times. Even small particles can change the natural ocean environment. During the calculations, about 90% of the animals on the shore die from plastic waste, which they mistake for food. 

businessinsider.com

What could be more dangerous than plastic? Microplastic of course! 

According to the existing definitions, microplastic is any piece of plastic, five millimeters to one micrometer, that is, one-thousandth of a millimeter, in size.

New research shows that microplastic, in addition to being present in the air, is found in some foods, and especially in seafood. And this is quite logical: since there is a lot of microplastic in water, it is consumed by fish and other marine organisms that take it as food. Scientists add that microplastic is found even in deep-sea organisms, and mussels and oysters have the greatest risk of accumulating it in themselves.

Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Life below water” calls for careful management of this essential global resource that is a key feature of a sustainable future. 

Do something to protect the most important resource for our lives today! Volunteer for the SDG 14 this summer contributing to environmental projects, by applying on aiesec.org!

 

Valeriya  Palhuyeva
International Development, University of Vienna

What is FridaysForFuture and why should I care?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve most likely seen it on social media, on the news or maybe even in real life, in your city. Kids around the world are taking to the streets, protesting a political and economic system that hasn’t been taking the needed action to stop climate change. They call it FridaysForFuture. But many people have been asking – is the topic really urgent enough that kids should be skipping classes for it?

Answer: yes

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the situation is very urgent indeed. We are already experiencing a 1ºC rise in global temperature compared to preindustrial times, but this number will only go up if we continue emitting carbon into the atmosphere at the rate that we’re doing it now. That means rising sea levels, endangering our global supply of food, our homes as well as the habitats of many plants and animals. It also means more extreme weather phenomena, even more deadly than climate disasters we’ve already been experiencing now. We can’t afford to ignore this crisis, because unless we come together as one humanity, and completely change how we do things, our days on this planet are numbered.

climate change scenarios

Unfortunately, coming together as one humanity to completely change how we do things is not something that has ever been done before. As Vox‘s David Roberts describes it, “It would be like the US mobilizing for WWII, only across the globe, sustained for the rest of the century. Nothing like that has ever happened.” Indeed, certain countries are taking steps in the opposite direction as we speak. Changing our policies to stop climate change will mean a very inconvenient and uncomfortable period ahead. Many governments and corporations are not willing to make these sacrifices.

That is why we are seeing kids worried enough to go on strike. That is why Fridays for Future is a huge movement and only growing. According to their website, during the week of March 15, there were at least 1.6 million strikers on all 7 continents. Young people are the generation that will need to live in the world that is currently being destroyed. There’s plenty of reasons to take it personally.

FOTO: APA/HEINZ PETER ZIEGLER

Concerned? Me too. So what can we do?

Firstly, there are a huge number of small steps you can take in your daily life to make sure that you, personally, are not making the situation worse. You can find lists of actions all over the internet, like this one from RESET.org.

Secondly, why not join a FridaysForFuture climate strike, and find out first hand how important it is that we push our governments to take urgent climate action, and keep the temperatures from rising even further. You can find out when and where you nearest strike is taking place on the FridaysForFuture website.

Thirdly, since global problems require global solutions, you can take action in a Global Volunteer project for climate action. Simply search for Climate Action projects on AIESEC.org and apply for one of the 6-week projects on the platform. It’s a great chance to learn about another culture, while helping make sure we stop climate change around the globe.

There are many other ways you can contribute. About the only thing you should not do, is nothing. Science shows that we can’t continue living like this. So let’s take action.

Graphic/photo credits: Vox.comfridaysforfuture.at

 

SDG 4: Why does education matter?

In 2015, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the United Nations in New York, Member States formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda provides for 17 goals, including a new global goal education (SDG 4). This goal is to provide inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education is a key element that will achieve many other sustainable development goals (SDGs). If people have the opportunity to receive a quality education, they can break out of the vicious circle of poverty. Extreme poverty is now defined as living on less than $ 1.25 a day. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) has been conducting research in 105 countries, where 75% of the world’s population lives, or 5.7 billion people. Experts found that 23.5% of them live below the poverty line. Experts noted that more than half (662 million people) of those who live below the poverty line are minors. The poorest regions in the world are sub-Saharan Africa, where 58% of the population lives in poverty, and South Asia (31%).

Therefore, education contributes to reducing inequality and achieving gender equality. Based on data from 114 countries for the period from 1985 to 2005, it was found that one additional year of study corresponds to a 1.4 percentage point reduction in the Gini coefficient.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and participation in political and economic processes will contribute to the sustainability of the economy and benefit society.

Investing in educational programs for girls and increasing the age of marriage will provide an income five times higher than the amount invested.

Education also plays an important role in promoting tolerance in human relations and contributes to the formation of more peaceful societies.

Have you ever thought that you can make a difference in the world, it starts with that first step and works well as the butterfly effect. If you want to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals and tackle the issues you’re most passionate about, find the Opportunities here.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In order to achieve full and equal access to education and participation in science for women and girls, and to encourage empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%).

Access to education, participation in science and gender equality are all pressing social issues that must be tackled in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Gender bias and stereotypes are pushing girls and women away from science related topics. In most cases, further obstacles like socio-economic status, traditional norms about gender role status prevent them to access education and exclude them from participating in these fields.

Access to education, participation in science and gender equality are all pressing social issues that must be tackled in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

As YouthSpeak Forum we value and stand for SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 5 Gender Equality. Join us on 19th March and take part in our workshop related to Quality Education and other SDGs. Let’s take action to remove all the barriers that hold women and girls all over the world from getting their right to access education and pursue their goal of fully participating in science.

Let’s celebrate today and every day, women and girls who are leading innovation to debunk the myth that science and technology can’t be interesting for a woman!

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!
#IChooseAction. Do you?

YouthSpeak Team Takes Action! Part II

“What can a single person change anyway?” We are all familiar with this question. It is a sentence we hear in the middle of a hot conversation or a slinking thought in our head once in a while. But we have to keep in mind that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a single action will go a long way. As the YouthSpeak Forum Organizing Team, we shared some of our little steps we take towards awareness and sustainability every day:



Masa Mitic
Economical University of Vienna • Law

Yet another passed, another will come soon and so on and so on…it’s an endless circle. Every student knows this feeling, the exam week. But they don’t come along alone. With every new exam week, new books come along. For a simple book of 200 pages that is produced in a edition that is consisted out of 20.000 books 56 trees need to be cut down. Now, just imagine how many trees do you need for one university campus, how many forests have to go away? Instead of buying a new book, try to borrow it from a friend, or from the library or just buy it from someone who doesn’t need it anymore. You will not only save money, but with selling/buying/ borrowing a book from someone, you will keep a forest alive.



Nikola Brandstaetter
University of Vienna • Law

As Madeleine Daria Alizadeh, Founder of dariadeh recently wrote in her blog, approximately 1.6 billion tonnes of the food produced for us goes to waste. A new analysis from 2018 shows, that if we keep up with the current this number will increase by a third by 2030, with 2.1 billion tons lost or thrown away, which is equivalent to 66 tonnes per second. In 2016 815 million people, which accounted to over 10% of the world population, were suffering from chronic undernourishment. Furthermore, food waste and loss accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reasons for that are diverse. Especially in industrialising countries, where wealth grows, the demand for more diverse food, food that is not grown locally, is increasing. Supply and demand have to be matched better and companies have to start promoting items that are about to expire soon. On the other hand, we buy too much food and anything that doesn’t meet the aesthetic standards after a few days in the fridge might be thrown out. But also government regulations have to be made, as for now there is little to no incentives for companies to reduce food waste. Governmental restrictions on expiration dates, storage and size (like in China, where the size of blueberries that can be sold is regulated) support food waste rather than diminishing it. I try to reduce food waste by buying from local markets, not buying too much food and not throwing away things, when it does not look that delicious anymore. I also eat food when it already passed it expire date and still seems good to me. What do you personally do to reduce food waste?



Denise Steger
Economical University of Vienna • International Business

Growing up in the heart of the Alps, South Tyrol, with nature everywhere around me I always asked myself as a kid, why we had to “import” electricity from over 100km away to our small village. I knew about the possibility of using hydroelectric power to produce electricity but didn’t understand why we didn’t implement this technology in our village yourselves since we had a rather powerful river just flowing through the valley. My dad was the major at the time and as soon as he heard my thoughts a new inspiration came to his mind. Over the course of 3 years he managed to plan and implement the construction of the northernmost hydroelectric power plant of Italy and it was put into operation in 2007. Do you know “How hydroelectricity works” ? It is a more sustainable alternative to coal or atomic energy and doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact and take action? Join us at the YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

YouthSpeak Team Takes Action! Part I

“What can a single person change anyway?” We are all familiar with this question. It is a sentence we hear in the middle of a hot conversation or a slinking thought in our head once in a while. But we have to keep in mind that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a single action will go a long way. As the YouthSpeak Forum Organizing Team, we shared some of our little steps we take towards awareness and sustainability every day:



Carolyn Lai
University of Vienna • Politics

Coming from Malaysia, diving is a must. I love the ocean and life under water. It gives me great pain to know that water pollution is a serious problem in Malaysia. Because I grew up in one of the most metropolitan cities in South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur, it never occurred to me how statically water pollution was increasing. Each year, beaches become more unsanitary. The fish in our rivers contain 80% plastic. Generally, Malaysia lacks a central agency to manage the overall aspects of water resources management, so I decided to take it into my own hands. Tap water in Malaysia is not drinkable, so for as long as I can remember, my family buys big bottles of filtered water to put into our water dispenser at home resulting in the disposal of four 5 litre plastic bottles each week. To take action, I now boil tap water to decrease the number of disposed plastic bottles each week and encouraged my grandma to do the same. Now whenever water is served in our household, it is boiled tap water.  I hope that one day, all families in Malaysia will mirror this action step. I stand for SDG14 & SDG 6.



Valeriya Palhuyeva
University of Vienna • International Development

According to the data published on the website “Global Index of Slavery”, at the moment there are 40,3 million slaves in the world. Have you ever wondered how many slaves work for you? Don’t be shocked by this question, because victims of modern slavery may be people of all nationalities and cultures. No one in the modern world is protected from slavery. The general terms “modern slavery”, “forced labor” and “human trafficking” are used to refer to the act of recruiting, harbouring, transporting, delivering or obtaining a person for the purpose of using it for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation by physical force, deception or coercion. Look around you and think, do you really know how the things you buy were made? That your smart phone, t-shirt, computer, cup of coffee…

Out of the 17 SDGs, human trafficking is specifically mentioned in three targets under three goals: 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 16 (Peace Justice and Strong Institutions). However, many other goals are related to combating human trafficking, which is deeply rooted in development issues in general, including poverty, education, child labor, abuse and exploitation, gender inequality and discrimination, migration, and the effects of climate change.

Be Aware! How many slaves work for you?



Asli Ertem
University of Vienna • Sociology

When I watched the ‘True Cost’ documentary a few years ago I was shocked by the reality of fast fashion and my ignorant consumer habits. It was a wakeup call for me to realize how we damage our environments and support all kind of inequalities for the sake of following cheap, fast fashion trends.

I stand for SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. I decided to learn more about the concept of responsible consumption and change my habits accordingly. First, I changed the way I look at wearing fancy outfits every single day in general and minimized my shopping activities to few times a year from sustainable brands. Now, I also try to follow and go to second-hand markets and events in the city. But most importantly, when I don’t need or wear something, I make sure to donate them. And I really recommend that to every single person!

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact and take action? Join us at the YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

5 Ways To Stay Sustainable While Studying

Once again, this year, the call for sustainable and conscious living is loud and clear. As YouthSpeak Forum, to ensure sustainable consumption and production will be one of the Global Goals we’ll be tackling in March.

“Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce social costs, and reduce poverty.”

As exams are right around to corner, we took this chance to rethink our lifestyle and habits as students, thought of 5 ways to “do more with less” and contribute to a better environment by making green choices this month.

1.Stay away from disposables.
You have probably heard this one a couple of times now, but it can be never mentioned enough. To survive during the exam period, we go through cups of coffee, tea (and hopefully a lot of water). The majority of us also bring our own food to the university to keep it healthy and economic. Unfortunately, that would mean a lot of waste every single day unless we opt for reusable cups and containers over disposables ones. So try to reduce your plastic waste by buying few reusable items for this month. Plus, places around the university give discounts if you bring your own reusable item to fill!

2.Reduce your paper waste.
Paper is one of the main areas where university students can save money and the environment. The options are endless when it comes to reducing your paper waste. You can easily borrow books from the university library or maybe buy them second hand from someone who don’t need it anymore. If you’re studying from notes or slides, try not to print them. You have colorful highlight options on your laptop as well!

3.Recycle.
No matter how hard we try, even in the best case, we end up with unnecessary amount of printed assignments or papers handed out by lecturers by the end of each term. For that, most universities have recycle bins in the campus buildings. Be sure to put paper, plastic and cans in those bins. Take your game a step forwards and make it a habit to separate& recycle your waste at home as well. For that find the nearest recycle bin to your house and if you’re living in Austria it shouldn’t be too far anyway!

4. Avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
Most of us consume more energy while studying… Charging our laptops and phones multiple times a day and staying up late or even all night is only normal when you have a lot to do. Still, unplugging your chargers when not used or switching off your devices along with all the unnecessary lights while you’ re studying is only a few little things you can do. Research from the University of Kent has found that students can contribute reducing energy consumption by 37% if they can see the amount of energy they are using in real-time and are motivated by their peers to save energy.

5.Bike, walk or use public transportation.
Avoid driving your own car to the university campus. For many reasons it is the better option. Did you know that transportation accounts for more than 25% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions? So, You will not only get some fresh air and save money but do more good for the environment more than you think by reducing your footprint.

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact? Check out YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

The Most Important Declaration

“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal
and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th
anniversary of that landmark document.”

– Secretary-General António Guterres.

Every so often a thing comes to pass with such an importance that we must stand up and recognize it. We must take on and spread its message as far as our voice will carry. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the first and the most fundamental declaration of human rights. It was drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the World and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 10 December 1948 in Paris.

Since then, 10 December is celebrated as the Human Rights Day. Different than the previous years, in 2018, the Human Rights Day has a special meaning to it. This year marks the 70th Anniversary of this remarkable document that proclaimed the inalienable rights we are each individually entitled, no matter who or where we are. ‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.’ Article 2

Although it may seem like we have a long way to go, there is a lot to appreciate in these statements that acknowledged the freedom and equality we all deserve way back in 1948. Now, On the 70th Anniversary of this universal milestone, The UN Human Rights Office, is calling every person to #StandUp4HumanRights and strive for equality in their actions. As a first step to make a difference I took the Human Rights Pledge*. “When anyones human rights are denied, I will raise my voice, I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.”

Today, on 10th December Human Rights Day, #IChooseAction. Do you?

“International interns are a highly welcomed addition”

Last week, we had a chat with our Empower Austria partner, ONDEWO, an awarded Austrian high-tech startup developing AI-based natural language understanding and automated conversation flows. ONDEWO helps companies digitize their human-machine-interface and “stay human” at the same time. They’ve developed a “SMART DIGITAL ASSISTANT Platform” that builds on artificial intelligence, NLP technology, machine learning algorithms and an automated conversation flow management framework.

This winter, they participated in Empower Austria, our 12-week startup internship program, and took an intern from the Netherlands — which proved to be a great success. We’ll let CEO and CTO Andreas Rath explain to us why.

AIESEC: What was important for you to consider while choosing an intern?

Andreas Rath: We consider fit with team as well as cost-benefit aspects. First, fit with the team is important so that effective collaboration as well as team fun can be achieved. Second, we are happy to invest into good interns by training them, challenging them and thus helping them grow and develop. For these investments, we are of course also looking for a return. Thus, interns are always welcome if they use this personal growth opportunity, choose to play a significant role in the company and contribute to success and impact.

A: Why did you choose to work with an international intern?

R: The two founders have a strong background and very good experience with work in an international context (e.g., USA, Canada, Netherlands, France, Finland, UK, Italy, Middle East). Furthermore, we are already an international team at ONDEWO with employees from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, the Philippines and Ukraine. International interns are thus a highly welcomed addition.

A: You’re currently working with a Dutch intern, Leoni. How has Leoni contributed to your startup?

R: Leoni had great impact already. She was given a lot of freedom and responsibility to handle HR, Marketing and company operations and excelled along all tasks with her highly motivated and self-driven approach, her strong analytical skills and structured way of working and her drive towards excellence.

A: At which point of your startup development did you see the need for increasing the number of employees?

R: From the first second on. Our business model is based on scalability and there are always too many topics and not enough hands. Being forced to prioritize from the first day on, we focused on finding grant money of which we invested 90% into hiring more employees. We are growing now and we will continue to grow the next years.

A: What is the most challenging part when hiring people in a startup?

R: Three things make it challenging: (1) Uncertainty in tasks, (2) job riskiness and (3) limited cash. First, there are no fixed positions in the beginning and the required skill set can shift even on a daily basis. Thus, finding experts and allrounder talents in one person that in addition can deal with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the task shifts is challenging. Second, without a proven track record and limited recurring revenue streams, startups are always the more risky choice for employees compared to secure jobs at established companies. Thus, startups need to find other ways to become attractive and compensate for this risk. Third, with limited cash in the startup phase, many interesting senior profiles are difficult to win. Bonus in 2 years or stock options don’t pay rent. Finding a compromise is required here.

A: What HR structure are you using?

We have divided the company in two teams – product and commercial. The product team drives the technological development and builds our product. The commercial team shapes interactions with stakeholders such as users and customers. There are strong ties between the two teams but this split also allows for efficient work while deep-diving into topics. Administrative workload is being handled by the management and every employee has certain additional administrative tasks. So no worries, no-one only does the coffee 🙂  

A: What is an added value of having internationals in your team?

R: International employees help us in three ways: fresh ideas, overcoming groupthink, and preparing for international expansion. First, we are building products that are at the cutting edge of technology. We like to include the latest thinking from all around the world and therefore rely on international employees. We believe that broad experience is always value adding. Second, teams can easily start to think and act alike, especially in small startups with frequent interactions. Bringing in new employees with different backgrounds in culture and language helps a lot! Third, we plan to expand internationally and thus need to better understand target markets. Employees with a native background are valuable first guides in this expansion.

A: Describe your team and how are their background diverse, how has this shown when working together?

R: We are diverse in many dimensions. Age ranges from 20 to 36. Male and female. Some techies and others with commercial focus. Employees with a doctor’s degree, others with practical experience. Some living in Vienna, others joining via video conference from a rural part of the Netherlands. Multiple nationalities, ranging from Austria, Germany, Netherlands, the Philippines and to Ukraine. Working together works well with a joint vision and shared values.

A: Would you take part in Empower Austria again, would you recommend it and why?

R: Yes, full recommendation and always again. We believe in exchange, and on top, we found great person to support our startup.

Do you also want to grow your venture with young international talent? Find out more and drop us a line at empower.austria.at!

Adaptability – the key to staying competitive

Original article by Aseel Badran on aiesec.org

We live in a world of challenges, risk, and instability, and on each day, we might face many situations where we have to deal with sudden changes and respond to challenging environments. As a result, the competitive advantage no longer arises exclusively from the previous experience, positions taken, or formal education, we need to increase our competitiveness by automatically adjusting our performance to the current conditions with the maximum flexibility in the workplace as well as our personal lives.

Another feature of change in the world has been the development in the nature of jobs, therefore, the best job candidates are those who are comfortable making quick business decisions,  able to acquire new skills, and ready to learn new technologies needed in the current fast-moving marketplace, in one word, those who can adapt.

Being adaptable has many benefits, but we should realize that they may need some practice. Below we have listed some of those benefits:

  1.  Adaptability is the new competitive advantage

According to iCIMS, the top three soft skills recruiting professionals value most in a job candidate included problem-solving (62 percent), adaptability (49 percent) and time management (48 percent). While the sets of hard skills differ depending on the employer and the position, recruiters look for adaptability as a key soft skill.

  1. Adaptable employees can become great leaders

Employees who are adaptable excel as leaders. They can influence people around them to embrace change, they take the responsibility to add a lot to the company and give it more opportunities to progress. Those who want to succeed and push themselves are always seeking out bigger and better things, they always bring new ideas and take the initiative to push themselves and others around them to be creative. Take advantage of them!

  1. Adaptable employees are self-motivated

Those who can easily adapt to changes, accept challenges, learn new things, have the feeling that you can do anything. They believe they have the skills, the knowledge, and the ability to learn and change achieving a better version of themselves. Because self-motivated people are internally driven, managers and companies will not need to make a lot of effort to reinforce their strong loyalty and commitment.

In the rapidly-changing market of these days, employers are always seeking for employees who can come up with new ideas and take the initiative to make them happen. These days, adaptability has become the new competitive advantage, a critical quality that allows employees to stand out. If you are looking for highly adaptable employees, make sure to have a look here.

Are you a startup looking to level up your game with adaptable and talented people? Check out the Empower Austria project and contact us to find out more!

Don’t Give Up

Living in this fast paced, competitive world of ours, there is a lot of pressure on us from a very young age. Get good grades, have extracurricular activities, get into a good university etc. It’s hard to manage all of those things.

When I was growing up I was learning several languages, doing sports learning an instrument and all of this next to school. When I started university, this didn’t change. I am a person who likes to keep busy because I believe that it makes you grow as a person.

But this also has its downsides. There are days when all of us think “why am I doing this right now?” or “I don’t want to do it anymore”. Staying motivated is a difficult task but there are ways to ensure that. When I feel overwhelmed with work, I like to take some time off and just do things that I really enjoy where I don’t have to think about my work load. I spend time with my friends where I can just relax.

Sometimes what really helps me as well is just being by myself. Most of the time I am surrounded by a lot of people and it can get very overwhelming so sometimes being at home, reading a book or watching a movie can do wonders for my motivation.

However, what I noticed is that when your work is what you love you can achieve incredible things. Find something that you enjoy, go after it and you will have all the motivation you need. Don’t give up when something doesn’t work out, just keep going. Success is not measured by your achievements but by how many times you are able to stand up again after you fall.

You have to go out there, make new experiences, step outside of your comfort zone and you will discover what it is that you want to do.

 

What I lost through AIESEC

 

That’s right. Being in the organization for years I lost many things. But it’s not what you think. It’s a good thing. My entire experience I have lost so many fears. From a fear of public speaking to a fear of failure and many more. But how can this be? How can working in an organization be so liberating? Well, by being in AIESEC you are being put in new environments and faced with new challenges every single day. You are encouraged to do things that you never thought you would, like speak in front of a class of 500 students. But after you do it, you feel incredible. You feel pride, a sense of accomplishment and the next time you have to do it, it gets easier and easier.

You are constantly surrounded with many different people from different nationalities, with different skill sets and different stories and you develop with them. Learning from each other is what makes this organization so special. The connections you make with people are not just work related but are genuine friendships. And the biggest benefit of all is the leadership development. If you already know something about AIESEC you will know that we are an organization that aims to develop leadership skill in young people, because we believe it is the fundamental solution to the world’s problems. But what does leadership even mean?

The dictionary says that leadership is “the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this. 

But it is so much more.

There is quote by Seth Godin, an american author and marketer, that defines it perfectly to me: Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.”  By developing leadership you are enabling yourself to grow and at the same time helping others to do the same and to make their ideas a reality and if every single person is aware enough we can achieve things of unthinkable proportions.

If you want to be part of an organization that not only develops you but also encourages you to help develop others, then you can sign up here and trust me, you will not regret it!

 

New Year, New Me

Two weeks have already passed in 2017. According to a survey, only around 68% of people are still carrying on with their New Year’s Eve resolutions. That’s over 30% of people who have already given up on them. After just two weeks.

There are various opinions about New Year’s resolutions. Some people say, ‘I don’t need a new year to better myself and to try to achieve goals’. Others say, ‘I need this moment when the new year starts, to really be able to commit to my changes’.

Regardless of your stance on this matter, most of us have made some kind of resolutions at the beginning of a year. And when you commit to something, you should make sure that you achieve it.

But how can you make sure that you set new year’s resolutions that you can actually achieve?

The key is self-awareness. You have to know yourself, so that you know what you are capable of and what you can actually achieve. Once you reach that point, you won’t say that you will become a millionaire in 2017 (which doesn’t mean that you can’t) or that you will become the president of the United States of America (which is less likely, but who knows). Start small – every huge, ambitious goal can be broken down into smaller, achievable goals. Achieving these small goals will make you feel a sense of accomplishment and you will feel more motivated to actually go further and strive for the bigger ones.

Once you have reached that level of self-awareness, all that is stopping you is a lack of discipline. The way to the top is a hard one. Nothing that really matters comes easy in life, but working hard means achieving great things, so isn’t it all worth it?

However, when making new year’s resolutions, you should not just think about yourself. It’s easy to say ‘I will lose weight this year’ or ‘I will pass all of my exams’ but you should also think about others, who are less fortunate than you are. There are people (many people) in this world who do not have the luxury to think of new year’s resolutions at the end of a year, because they are just trying to survive different kinds of hardships. Think of those people, when contemplating what you will do this year.

AIESEC provides you with the opportunity to go abroad in summer and actually help those people. Our social projects are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, meaning that you will be on the right track to actually contributing to a better future. Volunteer this summer and make this year meaningful. You can find more information here!

If you’re thinking “I would like to contribute, but I can’t afford to leave my hometown” — fear not, we have an option for you, too! Join AIESEC at your local university and make all these social projects possible, while developing yourself personally and professionally and joining a huge international network.

2017 can be a big year – if you make it big. Be self-aware, show discipline and care for others and it will be the best year of your life!

Youth activism is important

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

AIESEC is the world’s largest youth run organization, officially founded in 1948 after the second world war by a group of young students from different countries with the goal to avoid cross-cultural conflict.

Now, more than 60 years later, we are active with more than 70.000 active members worldwide and present in over 120 countries and territories. But what do we do?

The main goal of AIESEC is peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential, which we believe can be achieved by engaging and developing every young person in the world for a better future. Young people have power and we can make a change. We should not be underestimated. In AIESEC we help students from all around the world to develop their leadership skills by putting them into challenging environments and through that letting them grow.

With our three exchange programs we send people abroad to do social internships, work in startups and intern at companies all around the world. As an example, in the last 5 years over 102.000 young people volunteered abroad to tackle social issues in another country. Due to our cooperation with the United Nations, all of our social projects are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and are actively contributing to solving these issues.

You can be part of this movement. Join AIESEC and become part of a huge international network, develop your skills and contribute to making our present and future a better place.

You can find more information here, and here is the registration form, if you decide to sign up!

Can you guess the country?

Did you guess India? Then you were correct! India has many very advanced sectors but unfortunately education is one thing that is still not available equally everywhere. You can do something about it! Go to New Delhi and work in the ‘FOOTPRINTS’ project. Prepare and deliver classes on different subjects to children. Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal #4 – Quality Education and make an impact while getting to know the incredible culture of India.

Take Action and apply for the project here:


To find out more about Global Volunteer, visit this website.

Quality Education

SDG #4. Quality Education.

‘Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think’ – Albert Einstein

We have to teach our people about other cultures and to understand and accept others – We are all human and our differences make us unique. They shouldn’t tear us apart but unite us.

Everyone on this planet deserves the same level of education so that they can use their resources to their best abilities.

If you want to take action, check out this opportunity in Finland

 

And fill out the YouthSpeak Survey, to let your voice be heard:

Teamwork

Teamwork. A word that people like to throw around, but what does teamwork really mean?

There is a variety of definitions, but why is it so hard to establish one? I think it’s difficult because teamwork comes with many facets. Being in AIESEC, I defined the most important parts about teamwork — relationships, cooperation and leadership.

Growing up I had the deep belief that teamwork is something that distinguishes me, that I am a good team player. I kept that belief but my perception of teamwork changed as I got older. Being a shy kid I always tried my best to not be the centre of attention, especially when thrown into a group of people I didn’t knew before. So in a team environment I would take the passive role as someone who is always agreeing to others and trying hard to not be destructive in any way.

So how did my understanding of teamwork develop by joining AIESEC?

Being a member of AIESEC put me in a whole variety of team experiences. Starting with being team member I realised that being good friends with everyone doesn’t necessarily lead to good results. You need to make sure that every member still knows their responsibilities and nobody neglects their duties so that the consequences won’t be that bad.

Moving on to a team leader position I got to know the importance of gaining an understanding of every different team member and finding a way to include everyone in the team. You need to respect different personalities and find a common vision and goal that everyone can strive for. We try to cooperate, using our individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between the individuals. I was leading a group of different personalities but I would try my best to find common grounds by communicating and working together.

Working with a lot of different people and ideas I also realised that sometimes you need to take leadership of your team. Leaving behind ideas just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings can lead to a disadvantage for the whole team. If you are confident in your ideas and beliefs then take the ownership for the wellbeing of your team and the results you want to achieve

By putting me in various team experiences and giving me the chance to take the leadership role, AIESEC helped me to get a far better understanding of teamwork.

Written by Sebastian Berg

University life: 
Getting what you need in 4 steps

What do you do when your university schedule does not quite fulfil you?

Panic, drop out, change subject or even university?

Absolutely not, you simply figure out what you are missing and get it from somewhere else.

First of all there is nothing wrong with changing your field of study. Just make sure that you are 100% clear on your decision. Not all of us know what we want to do in our lives, which goals we want to achieve, what we want to spend our time on and with whom we want to spend our time.

If you need some proof you can simply contact some of my older friends and they will tell you how often I changed my life plans. Even in this moment I don’t have a plan that is set in stone and it is very likely that it will not be the way I expect it to be right now.

However, that does not stop me from being super interested in various different subjects and wanting to learn something new every day.

So if you are not satisfied with your university courses; fear not, I have a solution that allows you to tailor your university experience to your needs. As long as you don’t totally hate the subject you are studying I am sure there will be at least one or two points that will help you shape your future.

This topic has been on my mind a lot recently. This is coming from me spending two years at university, finally feeling like I found the right way to get everything I expected to get from university, from my day to day experiences. For me this wasn’t easy, but I will give my best to make your life a bit easier.

Here we go!

Step 1: Talk with (the right) people

Growing up a lot of us make the mistake of asking the wrong people for advice. Talking to people in general can be very insightful, but be careful which advice you follow.

To explain this with an example:

Let’s assume for a second you want to create an amazing start-up. Whom would you ask for advice? Your professor? Your parents? Your friends? Or perhaps someone who actually has an amazing start-up?

The answer to this might seem very obvious, but you meet people every day that struggle to implement this thought in their search for guidance.

So far so good. There is another point you should watch out for when looking for advice.

When you are working closely with someone, to learn from what they are able to do. You are not only learning from their behavior, but also from their attitude. Respect yourself enough to walk away from someone who might have the knowledge you need, but does not apply it according to your beliefs and your values.

Of course finding a person who has the exact skills and attitudes you are looking for is not always easy, but I assure you it is worth finding the right people to talk to.

To summarize: Talk to the people that are where you want to be.

Step 2: Learn with others

“I am so much faster when I study this by myself.”

Who of you had this thought before? – I sure did.

From experience I can tell you that when it comes to studying it is not always about understanding the subject or passing an exam. To learn the most about a topic it often helps to see it from a different perspective.

On the one hand, this gives you the possibility to refine your understanding and your ideas. On the other hand, seeing what motivates other people to learn and develop themselves in a certain area can also restore your curiosity and interest in your subject area.

Step 3: Create impact in the “real world”

Throughout my university experience I asked one question a lot: “How can I apply this?”

I rarely got a good answer. For me personally this was one of the main reasons why I started looking for something that I could do additionally to my studies.

What I found was AIESEC. There I started to use the skills I got from university, different jobs, and internships all in one place. By working with many different stakeholders and developing leadership in the people that surround me I started changing the society I live in.

This was eye opening for me because I found something that I deeply care about. Knowing that not everyone has the same goals, I can only tell you: Find what you stand for. Find something that you want to create. Few things are as fulfilling as creating impact through your own actions.

No matter where you find this space to apply your knowledge practically, I am sure looking for it will be worth your time.

Step 4: Strive for goals

Nothing in life is as easy as giving up.

In the times of delivery services, Netflix & Co it is very easy to waste a whole day by indulging in small, short term happiness boosts. As dedicated as we seemed when we put our goals and dreams on paper, for every journey there comes the time when we forget why we even started it.

As nice as creating an impact in the “real world” sounds in the beginning, there comes the point when reality actually hits you. As long as the budget only exists on paper it does not really limit you. Even working in a team is a lot easier if it is not you who has to worry about the team’s structure.

Do not let reality push you down. I strongly believe that the beauty of achieving goals gets lost when achieving them is too easy.

To achieve your goals, sooner or later you will work with real resources. Working in AIESEC lead me through a lot of ups and downs when it comes to that. Getting used to the threats that reality has prepared for us made my life a lot easier and helped me to stick to my goals more persistently.

Last but not least: Know what your goals mean to you. Be clear on what you want to achieve during your time as a student and follow up on it.

Do not back down – it is worth it.

Final recap of the above mentioned tips:

  • Talk to (the right) people
  • Learn with others
  • Create impact in the “real world”
  • Strive for goals

I’ll leave you with this. In the end: is it up to your university, your parents or your government to create your future? Or do you perhaps have a bigger duty in that than everyone else?

After having studied different subjects, worked in different companies and student organizations, for me the answer to this is obvious:

What do you like most about your time as university student? Is there something you disagree with? Questions? Comments? Like my ideas? Tell me in the comments below!

By Lukas Bensch

How I joined AIESEC and why I stayed (a.k.a my last 2.5 years in AIESEC)

Hello, my Name is Johannes Schneeberger and I’m currently studying one of the most hipster studies, Environmental Management a.k.a Umwelt- und Bioressourcenmanagement, a.k.a UBRM, at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences a.k.a BOKU. Okay, that was probably a lot of a.k.a’s for now.

If the first part is too boring for you, just skip it because it’s about the military. To answer the first questions – how I joined AIESEC – I want to congratulate and thank the Austrian Military. For those of you, who aren’t familiar with Austrian law, I’ll give you a little introduction why in the world the most central country in Europe, needs to rob six to nine months of every young man’s time, in which he could to something purposeful. All young men in Austria by law are obligated to either do six months of military service or nine months of social service. Well, I chose to be in the military, for the sake of starting one semester earlier with my studies.

So due to the fact that the official language in the Austrian military is not English, my level of English – which was already bad – got even worse during my time in the Bundesheer. Nevertheless, I have to be thankful, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been as appealed when in the first week, a random student started to pitch AIESEC in my lecture, since at that point AIESEC was the chance for me to finally get properly fluent in English. This, and the fact that I like an international atmosphere, made me join AIESEC and I wouldn’t regret this decision in a million years (though the initial reasons were pretty trivial and egoistic).

You would probably ask me now why I don’t regret my decision – or more precisely, why I stayed. Obviously, I didn’t stay because after two and a half years I still solely wanted to improve my English skills. There are thousands of reasons why I stayed, but let me point out the most relevant ones.

When I was back in school I hardly managed to find likeminded people who were eager enough to join my Interrail travels or to do extraordinary stuff. That fundamentally changed when I joined AIESEC. Throughout my journey I had the privilege to mostly work in the on-ground marketing area, doing info booths, promoting our cultural exchange programs on social media or pitching AIESEC in front of 200 students. Therefore, I had the chance to get out of my comfort zone, talking to random people and actually getting to know a lot of students on the campus.

Was it always easy? No, for sure it wasn’t, but I saw my development in public speaking, in doing sales or in simply figuring out a way to communicate effectively, so people would understand what I was trying to explain them. I would say I definitely got more self-aware about my strengths and weaknesses, and got constantly more solution oriented by seeing the thousands of opportunities, instead of focusing on the one obstacle.

So, I was in this Marketing area for one year and I enjoyed it a lot, but since AIESEC is about always challenging yourself and taking new opportunities, I did exactly that back in December 2014, when I applied to be the main responsible for the entire Local Committee at AIESEC at BOKU. It was a huge step for me, because I personally was not really sure if my previous achievements qualified me enough to be the leader of 20 young people. But then, the AIESEC spirit kicked in and I asked myself if I would regret it one year later if I hadn’t applied. Furthermore, those amazing people who worked with me, whom I can proudly call my second family, supported me immensely. So I went for it, and had the honour to lead AIESEC in BOKU for the past year with an amazing bunch of young, motivated and courageous people, who volunteered in order to make a better version of themselves and simultaneously making the world a better place.

Yeah, I know it sounds quite fluffy, but I think nowadays that’s exactly what is missing for many people. Having a vision for the world and acting up on it, no matter what. AIESEC is essentially a group of young people, who really believe that there could be peace in our world and therefore are fostering cultural exchange and developing young leaders, who lead with their heart and not with their greed, for profit or power.

While being the leader of AIESEC in BOKU I had the amazing opportunity to join conferences with more than 300 individuals, coming from more than 50 different countries all over the world. That;s cultural exchange, and it showed me once more the importance and necessity of AIESEC being a worldwide youth voice. All this made me realize how interconnected our world is and made me a world citizen, who doesn’t think in country borders but who finds the similarities between all those different cultures.

On top of all this, I had the chance to facilitate trainings and I needed to figure out how to make a lecture engaging, without having people fall asleep, since they had just slept three hours the night before. This was also a huge challenge for me, since I’d never done it before and in the beginning, I didn’t really believe that I could be a good trainer. A lot of effort and amazing people who supported me, proved me wrong and finally I can proudly say, that I’m able to empower and engage other people.

All these experiences are reason enough for me to invest the majority of my time into AIESEC, because at the end of the day I get so much more back!

Advantages of working with young people

It is important for a company to have the right mix between old and young, experienced and maybe less experienced employees. Some companies prefer to hire employees with a lot of know-how and hands-on experience. However, one thing is for sure: It is always an advantage to have young and motivated people in your company. So, what are those benefits?

 

Energy

Generation Y, born between the 1980s to the early 2000s, also known as the Millennials,

are eager to continuously learn and develop themselves, plus they never stop exploring because of their thirst for knowledge. Young employees are really enthusiastic about their first job and they want to prove what they have learned so far.

 

Motivate your workforce

Introducing a young person to your workforce could be a chance to develop also their team- and training skills. Younger people have new, fresh ideas and also new solution approaches. Furthermore team members can get highly motivated due to the enthusiasm of a younger person.

 

Technological expertise

Younger people grew up with the Internet, mobile phones and many more innumerable technological devices. When sometimes experienced employees get confused with modern technology or just Excel Sheets, the Millennials can help them using time-saving shortcuts and formulas. Generation Y has an unique knowledge in technology which should not be missing in your company.

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Social Media Fluency

Speaking of technological expertise, Social Media is becoming bigger and bigger and it is unavoidable for a company not using at least one Social Media channel. It is a must-have nowadays and the Millennials grew up with it. More experienced employees sometimes feel not comfortable working with Social Media channels, younger people can help them getting used to it and maybe to really start liking it.

 

Networking

Due to the fact that the world is growing together and young people grew up in a connected world, they have made friends all over the world. Their network not only consists of people from one continent but of people from all over the world. This could be very helpful concerning the internationalization of your company. Furthermore this worldwide network is nowadays easier to maintain thanks to Social Media and the Internet …and so the circle is complete.

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All in all, it can be said that having Millennials in your company is not only necessaryut essential and a great investment for the future of your company.

 

Source

Notes on Leadership

Notes on work, success and leadership – things we forget about

 

There’s been so much ‘nagging’ about how to become a leader so far. Still, after becoming one, holding on to the gained values is essential. Though, sometimes, pressed by the circumstances, leaders tend to forget some of the values, so here’s a ‘heads up’ about it.

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Stay away from ‘the high view’

 

The usual attitude of many leaders of organisations is “I’m the boss, I’m the special one and you’re just an employee”. Well, that seems a bit wrong, doesn’t it? You know it’s wrong, maybe they know too that it is wrong, but such things happen a lot to people in high positions. Still, that’s not what leadership is all about. Leadership is also about recognising the value of each teammate and using that for the benefit of the organisation, of the common purpose. This is also connected to self- awareness.

 

Self awareness wins

 

This is not only about self-confidence, but about realistic self-confidence. It means understanding your strengths, your limitations and in consequence acting from competence: know when to rely on someone else. A good relationship with oneself is always a great benefit when leading – it gets you a good relationship with the others as well.

 

Don’t force things

 

Forcing one’s own view onto a situation blinds him or her from seeing what is actually going on. Therefore, one might act inappropriately and mess things up for the team, but also for him- or herself. If not forced, things usually fall into place. Always mind the timing: act the appropriate way at the appropriate time.

 

Yielding or decisiveness?

 

It’s just like ying and yang – balance. The middle way always gets the best results. Not falling into extremes is important for a leader. Mixing listening, co-operating, being open with being decisive has the best outcomes for everyone.

 

Leadership – The Classics

 

Speaking of being open-minded, here is some precious literature about leadership that will surely help: (all good things come in threes)

 

  • ‘The Art of War’ – Sun Tzu
  • ‘The Prince’ – Niccolò Machiavelli
  • ‘The Republic’ – Plato

Office diversity

Advantages of Cultural Diversity in the workplace

Thursday morning: Getting an E-Mail from China, answering a phone-call from the USA and having a meeting with a group of customers from India. Cultural diversity takes place in our everyday life, also in our work place. It is important for companies to recognize the advantage of the full potential and benefits of this kind of diversity in the workplace. So what are those advantages?

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  • Increase of creativity

Employees with different cultural backgrounds have divergent attitudes and ideas. Furthermore there are also different ways how to solve a problem. Hence you can obtain more ideas and you will have various solutions for one problem or even new alternatives which is a massive advantage for your company and problem-solving strategy.

 

  • Increase of productivity

Productivity can increase exponentially when diverse people put together all their ideas, thoughts and solutions to meet a goal. In addition, we are living in a high-speed world in which decisions have to be made quickly, therefore companies have to adapt quickly nationally and internationally. The combination of these different point of views, diverse strengths, new processes and skills can be an unique advantage concerning the productivity.

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  • Language skills

In the world of globalisation and internationalization language skills are an essential competence of companies nowadays. To build a strong relationship with other companies abroad you should speak the same language and understand your partners. Understanding and speaking a language fluently is hard work but in working with diverse people you do not have to be afraid of language and cultural barriers. Furthermore, getting to know the cultural background and traditions of your business partners could be also a tremendous advantage. Your company can gain a greater perspective on the cultural background which can lead to greater success in global business.

 

All in all, cultural diversity is an essential part which gets more and more important in our fast-moving, globalized world. Companies should strengthen this diversity and see this as an integral part of the business plan. At the end, this could be the difference.

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Source: http://www.ethnoconnect.com/articles/9-business-advantages-of-diversity-in-the-work-place

5 Life Lessons You Will Learn Being Abroad

It’s this time of the year again. The weather gets colder, the days get shorter, the clothes get warmer and you spent more time inside. Summer seems further and further away and it gets harder to remember what the sun felt like on your bare shoulders. Wouldn’t it be great to be at the beach somewhere and get a tan? (And even better if you could develop yourself and help others while doing it?)

Luckily, you can jump on a plane and summer is only a few hours away! But if this isn’t enough reason for you to travel this winter, here are five more:

 

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  1. You will learn to live with less

Unfortunately taking your entire wardrobe (or your entire room) on a trip abroad is pretty much impossible. Packing forces you to really think about what you are going to need – and what items you absolutely can’t live without. Knowing you have to carry these things around makes you think twice before packing the 5th pair of shorts. And you will see, you won’t even miss it! Need some general advice for packing? Check out this website for some tips!

 

But it’s not only about clothes and personal belongings. While traveling you will consume less in general. It’s way more fun to spend your money on experiences, going out and sightseeing than on new things. And once you experienced that you can live with a lot less, you can implement it in your daily life at home. With less items taking away your attention, you are left with more energy to focus on everything that truly brings you joy.

 

  1. You will learn how awesome you are

A lot of the plans you have and make while traveling will not work out. Maybe better things happen instead. Maybe not. But you will see that you are okay, whatever situation you are confronted with. There’s always the next stop on the road, new people to meet and new adventures waiting for you. Seeing that you can handle all the situations traveler’s life throws at you will give your confidence an extra boost.

 

  1. You learn to take care of your health

There are numerous studies that show vacations are good for your physical and mental health. One study for example showed that there is a direct connection between annual travelling and all-cause mortality. Another study deals with the correlation between depression and vacation among women in Wisconsin, USA. Women who took vacations at least twice a year were less prone to depression and tension.

Traveling for better health? Sounds good to me!

 

  1. You learn to live in the moment

When traveling, you don’t know what the next moment will bring. You are forced to live in the now, to enjoy the places you visit, to concentrate on the people you meet. In everyday life it is so easy to worry about the last test you weren’t good at or the assignment that is due next week. Our thoughts often drift to events in the past or future taking our focus away from the now. While traveling, you realize how valuable the events of the present are. You can let yourself be surprised by the happenings of the future and use all your energy to enjoy the fascinating beauty of the present moment. This skill is not to underestimate in your life back home. It will make your studies, your job and relationships a lot better.

 

  1. You learn to appreciate home

Coming home after some time abroad allows you to see things differently and to implement all the amazing things you learned while traveling. So you are not only getting to know new places. You will get to know and worship your home country, friend circle and family even more.“

This quote by Terry Pratchet sums it up perfectly:

 

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.“

 

So what are you waiting for? Go abroad in the upcoming winter holidays and enjoy all the amazing benefits traveling brings along.

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Start preparing now and check out the projects AIESEC has to offer!

Contact us and we’ll help to get you on the road!

Todays AIESECer, tomorrows leader

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. “Bill Bradley

Every and each one of us have found ourselves unsatisfied with a certain situation happening to us, either in our society, somewhere over the ocean or a bit closer to us, in our community, at our university…and felt like we in, particular, had no influence over it.
What if we told you that you could definitely have an influence? What if we told you that the world is yours to explore, change, and make a better place for yourself and, for at least for one more person? There is the solution, contained in one word, in one organization.
The magic formula is AIESEC.

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We, in AIESEC put a lot of time, energy and effort into creating leaders of tomorrow. We believe that each individual in this world can make a difference because a potential lies in every single one of us because we all strive to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

So, how do we do it ?!
We ensure that our members gain the four core concepts of AIESEC Leadership development as demonstrated:

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1. SELF-AWARE
Being self-aware means to have the capacity to recognize ones strengths and weaknesses, to acknowledge its own emotions, beliefs and thoughts because by getting to know itself, an individual has an opportunity to grow and make advances in its life.
Involvement in AIESEC enables a person to engage into experiences that will drive to understand and live personal values, focusing on strengths over weaknesses and explore one`s passion/s.

2. SOLUTION ORIENTED
By being solution oriented means to come up with solutions to challenges. It means that one is approaching the problems with optimism and an open mind, being flexible and always ready to take the necessary risks. After all, it is essential to bear in mind that the obstacles we encounter on our way to goal are not there to stop us, but push us beyond our comfort zone.
Being a member of AIESEC means to be personally challenged but having in mind that as a part of AIESEC community, you will always be supported and inspired to achieve great things.

3. WORLD CITIZEN
To develop “World Citizen” characteristic means to be aware what is going on in the world, enjoy taking an active role in contribution towards making it a better place for everyone. The key for achieving it lays in believing in our own abilities to make a difference in the world because sometimes, even supposedly small steps and contribution from your personal side can make a great difference.

4. EMPOWERING OTHERS
The characteristic that bonds every key point from above and makes it possible to actually get closer to our common goals is to be a team player, meaning to empower others. It implicates that a person is able to communicate ideas clearly, engage in meaningful conversations with others, in diverse environments, and co-create spaces of collaboration that empower people to take action.
AIESEC is a community where knowledge and experience is freely given, received and shared among ourselves and society, wishing to unite people all around the world.

Get in touch with students with Consulting Challenge!

Many employers face different challenges during a recruiting process. It is not only important to know what kind of employees you are looking for, but it is also essential to present the company itself as an attractive work environment. The more specific the tasks and requirements are, the more difficult it is to find the perfect candidate. This is why AIESEC created Consulting Challenge, a unique interactive career event that gives you the opportunity to get in touch with top students from the Business University in Vienna.image1

 

On the 17th of December get ready to gain insight into the current student market and address your target audience within the framework of case studies.

 

How will the application and the Challenge proceed?

 

From 125 applicants, only 60 will be selected based on their CV to ensure that the participants suit your ideal profile. By giving us details regarding your target audience, we can promote accordingly so that qualified applicants approach you in order to increase the chance that you find the suitable employee(s).

 

This first step of Consulting Challenge is the perfect way for the students to get an overview of what your company stands for, while simultaneously enabling you to get to know the students and observe them work on a solution for the simulated case of your choice. Allow the students to find out more about your company culture and explain your vision and values by giving them the chance to work on a practically-oriented case study.

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Reflect on the case study together with representatives of the other participating companies in the course of a podium discussion. Emphasize the key points of a job in the consulting area and present its many facets in a nutshell.

 

Use the planned networking lounge in the evening as a more informal meeting between companies and students. Interact with representatives of other companies and students, establishing a connection to those who left a lasting impression during the case study or perhaps get to know some of the students chosen by the other companies.

 

Among the companies represented in Consulting Challenge are EY, ZEB and BearingPoint.

 

Have we aroused your interest? Make sure to visit http://consultingchallenge.at/ in order to find out more details about what Consulting Challenge means!

Summer series:Adventure in Austria coming to an end – Part 4

With their adventure in Austria coming to an end, Ana, Yassine, Shu and Tereza have made some thoughts about their experience in Graz. With each day and week, they collected memories and little life lesson, which are important to all of us.
Each one of our volunteers had her own and unique experience. Depending on their background and on the different working atmosphere, they all got something to cherish from these 6 weeks in Graz. Shu was one of the volunteers who had a very special experience in Graz, partly being her first time in Europe and having to go through a rough change of background. Overcoming the cultural shock and communication problems, she started to get deeper into the Austrian traditions. Being it her first time working in a cafeteria and restaurant, Shu was happy to learn how to cook Austrian recipes. Moreover, having to work with disabled people, who had difficulties moving and communicating, she could learn more about herself and how to approach people with special needs. As always, for Shu, it is always important to smile!
Tereza on the other hand had to work with long-term unemployed young people, so she had another type of challenge to deal with. She explored four different projects and therefore got to know a lot about different social problems and how young people face them. What she points out is the importance of liking or at least not hating your job. Being motivated and trying to find motivation in your working life is of great importance. According to Tereza, the government should push young people to make an effort for their lives and not help them dwell in an unproductive routine. For our dear Ana, this has been an experience which will be hard to forget and is very grateful to her buddy Carla and all her working colleagues for the great summer spent together. She believes that everything happens for a reason!

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Yassine also had an important experience in Austria. He is happy to have learnt to rely more on himself and become more confident. Having to work with disabled people, he has become more patient and understanding. He could also learn how to cook simple recipes, which he will be happy to cook back at home, and most importantly, he overcame his indisposition to wash dishes, which now seems to be quite unproblematic to him. Another important fact was becoming more independent while living away from his parents and more responsible. He now wants to start drawing his own path in life.

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At the end of the six weeks, what matters the most is what our lovely volunteers will take with them and what made a difference in their lives. For Shu, this was the first time in another continent and she made the most out of it. She is grateful to have had the chance to be part of the program and thanks all her colleagues and partners.
For Tereza on the other hand, these six weeks were a very well spent time. She was always very motivated and eager to improve herself. According to her there are some points that might need improvement, such as the position of the volunteers in the company and the possibility to have more opportunities to make their own programs and have a stronger say in the program.
These six weeks have certainly given a lot to all of us. Both volunteers and us working closely with them have gained a lot and will not forget this experience we shared.

Author:Giannenta Milio

Summer series: Seeing Graz through another perspective – Part III

4 Volunteers, Blog post Number 3, a lot to 2 and 1 mission: Having the time of their lives while being a volunteer in Graz! Time is flying by so fast – it’s already the fourth week for our great international volunteers Ana, Tereza, Shu and Yassine who are working for Jugend am Werk. 

During these last weeks they have learned a lot about themselves and disabled people. Saying that „disabled people are capable of innovating and creating many pretty things and what I like so much about it is the moment when I see the smile on their faces“, puts also a smile on Yassine’s face. On the one hand our volunteers learned something about themselves: how to integrate easily and approach to the clients and the team members. On the other hand Tereza “hopes that the teenagers learned something from her teambuilding this week”, so in the end everyone gained some experience in a different way.

Additionally they could also improve their German in learning some new words and within four weeks they also got to know the Austrian and European culture. Shu states that she „learned lots of new things during her trip to Budapest, while taking the Eurorail for the first time“. Our four volunteers also try to cook together to introduce their cultures and national food to one another. Plus, in this past weeks Ana “learned about the Austrian economy and how Austria tries to introduce young people with problems of the professional world.”

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So aside from all the travelling and exploring Europe, you may ask yourself, how does a normal day look like as an EP? Work starts at 9 a.m. and ends in the afternoon around 3 p.m. In “incafé” there are usually people in the morning drinking coffee. Before midday, the preparations for lunch have to be done. Shu mentions that the rush hour is at lunch time when she „serves guests and sends the dishes to specific tables“. Despite all the work concerning the café, they prepare activities once a week for their colleagues to get to know them and their culture better. Tereza, who is working in a different project than Shu, states that her “work is different every week as there are more projects – sewing bags, handicraft and decorations, kitchen and two projects concerning gardening works.” Furthermore she says that working slowly is important because the goal of the organization is not quantity but “to give the opportunity to work to people who have problems finding a job”.

Time is going by too fast for our four volunteers. Although after four weeks they have a daily routine, every day is still special for them because there is always something new and interesting to explore here in Graz and Europe.

And if you can’t get enough of their stories, stay tuned for the next blogpost!

Author: Giulia Di Pietro

Summer series: Seeing Graz through another perspective – Part II

After having spent the first two weeks in Graz, our dear volunteers Ana, Yassine, Shu and Tereza have started to get deeper into Austrian culture. They have started exploring this culture and communicating with Austrian, especially their colleagues.

Most of the volunteers have not yet really felt a culture shock. They all feel comfortable with living in the Austrian society with its customs, food, habits etc. and they do not feel that this culture differs all too much from their own. However, Ana points out that there clearly are some differences, even though they might not be very substantial. For example, at the beginning it was alien for her to wait for the traffic lights to turn green before crossing the street. In Spain, her home country, one would not wait for green lights but check if there’s a car in sight and cross the street if this not the case. Also, she highlights that Austrian people treat the environment respectfully and more carefully than Spanish people do. This goes also with the cleanliness of the streets or rather the city as a whole. Shu in particular feels that there is a quite a large difference between Hong Kong and Austria, especially regarding lifestyle “Hong Kong has a very quick speed of life. However, in Austria, it is very different. Everyone lives a very relaxing and slow speed of life”.


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Furthermore, our volunteers are starting to get in touch with their native-Austrian colleagues. They explore how people here generally think, what point of views they may have and how they live. “I like the typical conversations about religion with Yassine, who is of Muslim religion, and also to see how far away “my world” is from his. The important point for me is that we respect what the other says and we search for a better understanding of our point of views trying to be assertive and without judgement”, says Ana. Of course, we must not forget that language is an obstacle that is hard to overcome. A lot of Austrians do speak English, but only to a certain extent. According to Yassine, the beginning was hard as he could not really understand what the others were talking about, but he’s improving and is now able to extract the key information. Because of this difference in languages and cultures, Shu has learnt a valuable lesson on how to overcome language barriers: “I found that even though you cannot speak German, the most effective way is to smile. Just SMILE!”. Tereza has also had many good experiences. She is open for new stories and new opinions and at the same time also her Austrian mates are. “I feel quite comfortable, I like listening to people telling different stories and exchanging ideas”, she states. A cultural exchange that comes along with cultural experience is taking place and is giving the four volunteers new input for their view on the world as well as on themselves.The volunteers have also made the most of the central position of Austria in Europe, over the last weekend Ana and Yassine went for a trip to Slovenia, Shu went to visit Budapest and Prague, and Tereza has been visiting other parts of Austria too. “Austria gives you the chance to visit a lot of countries because you can move very easily and the transport is really cheap”, says Ana.

So, the four are in the middle of this unique experience. We do frankly hope that they will go on as well as they did until now. We’ll keep you updated!

Author: Carla Kowanda

A social project with a transcontinental impact

Our department of social projects puts its main focus on a project called ‘Global Education‘, with the major task of introducing intercultural communication and a social, open minded discourse about diversity into the everyday schedule of participating classes in Vienna.

The project is based on a cross-cultural learning approach. By inviting students from all over the world to teach children at the age of 6-10, it spreads awareness about different cultural topics, such as cultural diversity, sustainability and world issues. Currently, we have three Viennese primary schools participating: the Josefinum Volksschule, OVS Zeltgasse and VS Kaisermühle. The projects last 6 weeks, in order to create trustful evolving relationship between students and school children.

The aim is to opt for a playful learning environment, where children can get involved with social world issue topics that are normally not taught in school, and to teach them about tolerance and the beneficial aspects of cultural diversity.

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A sample showed us, that most children at this age have already been confronted with racism, social exclusion and prejudices of differnet kinds. This makes clear, how important it is, to raise the question and discussion about cultural diversity, especially here in Vienna, where many immigrants from our eastern neighbors have found a place to stay and to raise their children.

Our main goal is for the children to experience cultural diversity as something enriching and positive, as an endless source of learning opportunities and a way to connect with people from all over the world. As the lessons are taught in English, the children will simultaneously experience improvement in their language skills.

On the other hand, the incoming students get the chance to get to live and work in another country, with a different culture and unknown traditions. Those experiences are the ones that help to boost their personal development the most. Therefore the project is not only a rewarding opportunity to help children gaining knowledge in important world issues, but as well a chance to get out of the own comfort zone and improve the know-how in multicultural interaction.

There is the possibility for everyone to get involved and become part of Global Education. One of the best possibilities to do so is by becoming a host family and accommodating an incoming student for the duration of the project. It is a unique opportunity to get in contact with a new culture and new traditions and to enjoy the diversity that the world offers right in your own home.

As we are always striving to improve our projects and to implement new strategies we are now working on a collaborating with non-governmental-organizations, to provide the students with a lager pool of opportunities. Moreover we also hope for the students to get the possibility to get involved, not only in the teaching process, but also in afternoon activities for example in youth clubs, in order to reach even more children and to build an even stronger base for an ongoing learning experience.

Author: Sara Balitzky