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A Survival Guide For Your AIESEC International Internship

You just got accepted to your dream internship, in a completely different country you are dying to explore. The anticipation can be just as stressful as it is exciting, so what now? Here’s a few tips to guide you through your international experience!

Prior to your departure, remember to:
find reasonable accommodation (you don’t need anything fancy, be wary of scams)
learn the language and cultural norms (if applicable)
set aside extra pocket-money (to go out to eat, buy souvenirs and possibly travelling on your days off)

During your time abroad…

1. Determine clear goals

At your orientation, make sure you determine clear professional goals with your supervisor, so you can look back on your time there and appreciate the growth you’ve experienced. You can also set some personal goals for yourself!

2. Keep an open mind

It’s normal to have expectations, but be open to any opportunities that come your way. Don’t stick to your home-work-home endless cycle. There’s lots to learn about. Get out of your comfort zone, discover some hidden gems of the country and blend in with the locals, you’re in for many surprises.

3. Connect with your coworkers

While your main focus should be on the work you’re responsible for, make sure to take the time to get to know the people you see everyday. Join company events or after-work get-togethers, you could make great friends who contribute to your experience immensely.

4. Network, network, network

New professional relationships can bring you more (international) opportunities for work later on. Actively participate in conversations and be proactive so you’re a memorable intern for the company!

5. Mingle outside of work

There’s more to this experience than your work bubble: neighbours or other people you casually meet who are also your age can make it that much more fun! Leisure time is an important part of your experience. Balance is key!

6. Always have a backup plan

Make safety a priority, have an exit strategy and a way to get home at all times. Memorize a taxi or a friend’s number or the directions to the nearest bus stop. You don’t want to find yourself completely lost, sometimes at weird hours, because all you know is your commute from home to work. Hopefully you’ll never really need this information, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. Don’t fear asking for help

No one expects you to just know how everything works from the get go. In order for you to make a significant impact you need to know what you’re doing, no one’s gonna judge you for trying hard to be a good worker!

8. Get letters of recommendation before you leave

This is a very valuable document for future employment opportunities. Not only that, but your superiors will be able to truly reflect on your contribution to their company. It’ll give you the perfect “mission accomplished” feeling.

Ultimately, this will be a unique experience which you have full control over. AIESEC will support you along the way and we wish you the best of luck and success on your international journey!

Leadership Is For Everyone

Leadership is an abstract concept: there isn’t one definition that can explain its depth, as different people value different qualities, skills and styles.

This means that, even though it’s often associated with business, management or administration, leadership is something that anyone, regardless of their field of studies or work, can and should develop. However, in certain areas it can be hard to envision who a leader should be, how they should act, how they can effectively make a difference and how we can become one.

In this article we share the perspectives of people from multiple academic backgrounds, to show how important leadership is for everyone and hopefully bring some light over this matter.

We asked them the following questions:

  1. What does healthy/positive leadership mean to you, personally?
  2. What does it mean to be a leader in your field?

Here are their answers!

Law

Beatriz Martins, Law student

“For me, leadership means setting the example for others and becoming involved in our communities in an act locally. In a global perspective, it means inspiring others to become the change. I believe leadership can be developed in anyone by starting to be self-aware of our strengths and weaknesses, being interested in the world we live in and taking responsibility to help improving society in some matters, even the smallest ones.”

“Leadership plays an important role in the Law field even when we’re still in university: from early on we learn to identify and analyse issues, solve problems and communicate clearly and persuasively. Communication is crucial in the legal field in many ways, since we always work in teams and need to express our ideas to the people we seek to lead; quick problem-solving skills are also necessary, once we are faced with the most varied problems in the workplace or in the cases we work on. Most importantly, to be a leader is to lead by example, by showing empathy to others and understanding what other people need from our expertise, because when people seek help from lawyers, they don’t only need our legal knowledge, but also our advice on how to solve their problems.”

 

Communications

Margarida Oleiro, Social and Cultural Communication student

“For me, true leadership means to dare to get out of our comfort zone, share our vision and while being vulnerable and honest, grow alongside the ones who surround us, accepting both failure and success and most importantly, being able to grow from it.

We all know it’s easier said than done, but the first step towards leadership is to believe in yourself and in our own potential. At the same time, strong bonds that strive for excellence are greater, therefore leadership is also defined by protecting what I think is one of the most precious and special aspects of our lives: our relationships with other people.”

“As a communications student, I’m firmly convinced that to become a great leader in this field we truly have to be outspoken based on a creative and strategic mindset. Being open to change and learn from others are also key factors as well as aiming every day to be the best and the most authentic version of ourselves.”

 

Social Sciences

Daria Semenchuk, Sociology student

“Leadership is the ability to produce respect and admiration in the relationship with others. These characteristics cannot be imposed, as they will lose their value. Only through dedication, resilience and humanity can we first become leaders in our eyes and, later, in the eyes of those around us.”

“All social science professionals have the ability to be a leader. This area provides scientific knowledge about human behavior and the changes that occur in our social reality, being in our power how to apply it effectively. Thus, in the social sciences, we are leaders when we use our knowledge to impact the world. For that, it is necessary to be decisive and assertive, we can only be successful if we are not afraid to make even the hardest decisions.”

 

Hospitality

Brian Fuller, Hospitality and Tourism Management student

“In my opinion, a good leader communicates their ideas successfully, sets expectations from the beggining and motivates their team to do their best. Leadership involves empathy, resilience and composure: a leader has to be comprehensive and understand their team’s needs, be able to overcome challenges and obstacles that may show up and keep their emotions in control.”

“In order to become a leader in hospitality, the number one quality to develop is customer centricity. People and communication skills, not only to handle guests but also employees/ co-workers is very important too. What works best, in my opinion, is to delegate responsibilities, avoid micro-management and encouraging over-achievement. Business skills such as computer technology and bookkeeping procedures are also relevant.”

 

Natural Sciences

Luca Zeiner, Biology student

“I think leaders have clear goals and they do everything in their power to achieve them. If someone’s in charge of a team, they acknowledge their efforts and keep them updated in order for it to function properly. Positive leadership is empowering, therefore leaders motivate those around them by providing a healthy work environment, where their achievements are recognized and mistakes are rectified, not punished.”

“To be a leader in science you need to understand what your objective is or identify a specific problem and outline steps in order to achieve your goal or solution, also by investing in the research needed to do so. Being a leader isn’t necessarily a role (in an investigation or project, for example) but a way of living – like being confident in your abilities, inspiring others and do meaningful work. Communication, attention to detail, troubleshooting and problem solving skills are all important aspects to succeed in this field.

 

Marketing

Selina, Marketing master student

“Healthy leadership to me means being able to talk to my boss, without having to fear that I’m not taken seriously. I don’t want to be judged by my age or my work experience, but by my qualifications and skills that I contribute to a company. At my work place, I want to be supported by my peers as well as by my superiors, but at the same time I want to be allowed to work independently and be given responsibility over my own projects. Yet, I also understand that leaders sometimes need to make tough decisions on their own, which brings me to another aspect that defines healthy leadership for me: communication. Be open and transparent! I don’t care whether my boss gives me good or bad news, but I want to be informed about it and if possible be able to take matters into my own hands. Give me the chance to help and don’t force me to be a clueless bystander while projects fail! Moreover, healthy leadership to me means being understood and being treated like a human being instead of a machine in a working mechanism. If you ask me, being a good leader isn’t that difficult… Just ask yourself how you would like and expect to be treated by others and treat others with the same respect.”

“In order to become a leader in marketing, one needs to understand what marketing actually means. It’s not enough to say that marketing is only about selling a product or that it’s only about creating an ad. Marketing combines aspects like intuition and creativity with hard skills in areas like marketing research, business analytics and decision making. Since marketing is a rather fast paced industry, it’s important that people and also leaders acknowledge that they don’t know everything. New techniques and methods for communicating or promoting are being developed frequently, and if you want to keep being successful and competitive, it’s vital to stay up to date and trust the knowledge of fellow employees. However, leadership is also about making decisions and standing up for the results, no matter the outcome. Furthermore, communication is key! You want to lead a successful team? Be transparent with your employees and give them enough room to be creative on their own. You want to be recognized by customers? Think outside of the box and offer customers innovative, fun and integrative marketing campaigns. You want to be seen as a good leader? Find the right mix between pleasing employees, making tough decisions, relying on data, while also keeping an eye on various metrics.”

 

As you can see, everyone conceptualizes leadership in their own way. It’s important to understand there are many aspects to take in consideration, and different environments involve different responsibilities. Start by understanding what your industry, field or team needs and adapt to it, in a way that sets you apart from others in the most positive way.

Now it’s your turn – tell us what leadership means to you! Check out our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn and let us know your opinion.

Effective Conversations: A list of reminders to communicate like a leader

Recruiters have made it clear that communication skills are essential in any field of work. Besides that, if you think about it, there are so many other valuable soft skills that require you to be a strong communicator, such as: persuasion, public speaking, negotiation, storytelling, etc.

Additionally, it has been proven that good communicators are better listeners than most! It’s safe to say these are essential skills for any team to be successful.

“But what if I’m not a people person?” That ‘s okay! No one’s born knowing everything. Thankfully, communication skills can and should be practiced, even if you think yours can’t get any better.

Check these 5 reminders that’ll help you communicate more effectively.

Showing emotion isn’t unprofessional

Everyone wants to “look good”. More often than not, the fear of showing an over-the-top reaction will get in the way of our listening and speaking. Keep in mind that it’s deflating to be around someone who is impossible to impress. Be excited for a co-worker’s achievements and congratulate your team on their success, you’re not being “soft”, you’re being kind.

Not a competition

Another way of killing the joy in any conversation. If someone is talking to you about how excited they are for their next trip to France, telling them “I’ve gone there 4 times and it’s not that great” is not the right thing to say, try to recommend places to visit instead. Making others feel inferior will lead to a failed conversation.

It’s ok to be wrong

The need to be right may emerge from a fear of being disrespected. Or it can come from the fear of being seen as we truly are – imperfect human beings who are flawed and full of inconsistencies and contradictions. Being right does not make you better than anyone else and insisting on it will show off your insecurities.

Let others speak

Interrupting people is one of the most common mistakes to make in conversations and yet, it’s the most overlooked. Be self aware enough to recognize if you do this often in order to “catch yourself” in future conversations.

Don’t assume bad intent

If someone disagrees with you in a conversation that doesn’t mean they’re attacking you and your perspective. Unless they’re disrespectful towards you, avoid being defensive over your argument, it’ll make you seem less secure in your answers and point of view.

 

We share lots of information about self development in our social media, if you’re interested in this kind of content follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

3 reasons why you must be at the upcoming YouthSpeak Forum

YouthSpeak Forum is in exactly two weeks from today. What is that, you ask? Never too late to find out!

YouthSpeak Forum is an annual event organized by AIESEC that serves as an exchange platform between young people and leaders from the business sector. It allows for discussions about the world issues and the possible solutions through the Sustainable Development goals to take place.

This year it will be held online, due to the restrictions caused by the corona virus.

If you haven’t yet signed up for it, there is still time! And if you’re still on the fence about it, here are 3 reasons why you should be there:

 

A healthy dose of Vitamin B!
Maybe you already know, but vitamin B tends to give you an extra kick when climbing the career ladder. We are, of course, talking about connections, or in German „Beziehungen“. At YSF you will meet other ambitious young people like yourself, as well as the business leaders who will be part of the panel and holding the workshops and get a chance to form connections with them.

 

 

 

Stay in the loop!
Do you even know what’s going on in the world today? Honestly, we wouldn’t really blame you if you didn’t. Apart from the general issues, such as hunger and climate crisis, that exist since decades ago, there are always new fights to be fought. But if you care about what’s going on, don’t be a mere spectator from outside the fence. Join the active discussion, hear new insights directly from those who are trying to shape the change and offer your own opinions and solutions.

 

Get inspired!
Sometimes, in the middle of a busy Monday, it’s easy to forget what our purpose is. We seem to be doing many things – studying, reading, working on our selves, maybe even working at a part-time job, too. But why? At the YouthSpeak Forum, the discussion is less about how many to-do lists you’ve ticked off, and more about the collective ‚Why?‘. We talk about quality of education and how we can improve it, climate change and what we can do about it, among many other topics. Surrounded by these ideas, you are bound to find  your inspiration and maybe even your own ‚why?‘ behind all the studying and working.

 

Join us on October 29th by signing up under this link!

 

 

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. 

The Wiener Tafel market: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Read as I work alongside Ezgi and Marina, fellow AIESEC Global Volunteers participating in the Mahlzeit Austria project. Spending their days working with Wiener Tafel, I joined them on the job to discover more about what the non-profit does and how they are reducing food waste.

Working at the market

If you don’t yet know, the AIESEC’s Mahlzeit Austria project aims to promote responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). That’s when Wiener Tafel enters the chat.

Volunteers prepare produce to be distributed to charities.

Monday to Friday, Wiener Tafel receives, sorts and distributes food that would otherwise be thrown away.  To reduce food waste, they collect unwanted food from supermarkets and restaurants. This is where Ezgi and Marina’s job comes into play. Volunteers separate the good, fresh product, from that which has passed its prime. The food is then pick up by partners who put the food to use, instead of letting it go to waste. Charities often use food provided by Wiener Tafel to feed those in need.

On a bright and sunny Friday day, work has already begun when we arrive at 8:00 that morning. I noticed (and appreciated) the relaxed atmosphere and friendliness of the other volunteers. Sipping coffee, I introduced myself and we talked. Well, tried, because I don’t speak German and nearly all the volunteer don’t speak English. Still, we tried. I’ve gotten pretty good at using hand gestures in replacement of German during my 6 weeks in Vienna!

Volunteers sort lettuce as part of their work at Wiener Tafel.

We then went outside to start working. Today, a large quantities of lettuce, zucchinis, onions, potatoes and carrots arrived. We spent the rest of the day sorting the produce.

It was surprising to me how much of the produce was perfectly edible. While a supermarket may deem these heads of lettuce not good enough to sell, we simply had to peel off a layer of leaves and what was underneath was good as new. It’s little surprise then that according to EuroCommerce, the EU wastes approximately 88 million tonnes of food each year. That doesn’t sound like responsible consumption to me, and if we want to save resources and the planet, this number must be reduced.

Teamwork makes all the difference

The variety of people volunteering for Wiener Tafel gave me another view of our fight to reduce food waste. Our group not only consisted of AIESEC volunteers, but of people from all walks of life. I met young woman from Iran with an Master’s degree in accounting. She volunteers at Wiener Tafel once a week. The man with which I picked up some leftover baked goods at Dunkin’ Donuts (a highlight of the day, naturally), told me he was ashamed that a wealthy country like Austria would allow so much food go to waste. He says he volunteers to help change that.

Together, we were a dynamic group working for towards common cause. And we became friends in the process, so it was a successful and fulfilling day if you ask me!

Small acts can make a change

Whether big or small, you can make a difference too. Whether big or small, your efforts to reduce food waste can help reduce climate change in a time of crisis. At home, you can do so by using leftovers and eating food before it’s too late.

If you want to volunteer at Wiener Tafel, click here for their contact information.

 

Volunteering at Augarten: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic As part of the Mahlzeit Austria project, some volunteers are working at Augarten, a community garden in Vienna. There, they are promoting sustainable food growth and the value of growing one’s own food to Austrian youth. I spoke to volunteers Anna, Alessia, Elena and Solmaz to learn more about their experience at…

Seminars for project volunteers: Mahlzeit Austria 2019

By: Annalise Cajic

Delivering workshops is not the only thing Mahlzeit Austria project volunteers are doing this Summer. When they are not teaching youth about food waste or working with Wiener Tafel, they are improving their skills through workshops hosted by Pulswerk and project runners. Volunteers are taught to improve their own workshops and see the value in self improvement as they become global citizens.

Workshop by Pulswerk

Pulswerk, founded in 2012 by the Austrian Institute of Ecology, has partnered with AIESEC on this project to promote the United Nations’ twelfth SDG (Responsible Consumption and Production). This week, they met at the Pulswerk office to share their thoughts on the project thus far and discuss areas of improvement.

Mahlzeit Austria volunteers receive a workshop delivered by Sabrina Lichtnegger of Pulswerk.

It’s important that we value the process self improvement and work actively to deliver excellent workshops to Austrian youth. We are the leaders of tomorrow, after all!

Meeting with Anna and Valerie

The Mahlzeit Austria team also met with project head Anna Balashova and AIESEC team member Valerie Christ to discuss similar subject matter. At the AIESEC Vienna office, we reflected on the project’s first couple of weeks and openly shared what could have gone better. As a “part 2” of our meeting with Pulswerk, ways to implement our ideas into the workshops were discussed.

Volunteers discuss how to improve their workshops on food waste.

Lessons learned

Firstly, we all agreed that we are fortunate to be teaching to children a topic that is so important to our future. Volunteers have a positive attitude and we hope the children feed off of that (no pun intended!). But we also agreed some things can be improved, and we shared those too.

For instance, more activities should be implemented into the workshops to engage children and create a more dynamic presentation. While the current workshops already includes some activities, it was decided that more could be added to make them even more fun.

We all know that children under 10 have limited attention spans, so a long PowerPoint presentation would feel more like a lecture than anything else. And who needs that, especially during the Summer? We want to make food waste an interesting topic, because it’s an important one.

Here’s a list of ways we decided could make the workshops more engaging for children:

  1. Games
  2. Quizzes
  3. Dances or other physical activities
  4. Arts and crafts
  5. Music (song about food waste, for instance)

A few of these ideas will be implemented into the workshops to help children stay focused and absorb more information about food waste.

The importance of reflection and improvement

When reflecting on these team meetings, fellow volunteer Elena says, “they are actually useful. We can meet all together and discuss.” As we worked together, we got a little bit further along on our journey to self-improvement. Being in Vienna on this project has taught us that while we should always do our best, improvement is an ongoing process.

While the workshops on food waste to children were good to begin with, they can always be made more effective. So it seems to me that self-improvement was the theme of this week, and we’re sure to see a lot more of it before the project is over.

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

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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.

10 reasons not to become a Global Volunteer

It’s been a buzzword for quite some time and still, it’s something many people don’t like to associate themselves with or that can seem downright controversial – volunteering. The notion of altruistically providing a service without any financial gain is nothing new and yet, in light of an ever-changing international context, it seems to become more relevant than ever, especially among young people.

Going abroad and working as a volunteer might not have crossed your mind before, or you may have simply thought you’re not cut out for it. If you’re looking for more reasons not to embark on what could end up being the greatest adventure of your life, keep reading:

  1. You’ll get to know a different culture, and I don’t mean just by looking from afar, as if you would watch a movie, but actually immersing yourself in everything it has to offer – understanding customs and traditions, as well as learning the meaning behind all of it.
  2. You’ll see incredible places that you might have never thought you’d end up witnessing. Whether it’s something you’ve always wanted to visit or a hidden spot, unknown to usual tourists, you can be sure you’ll remain speechless at least once or twice.
  3. You’ll be faced with a new language that’s nothing like yours and that you never imagined you’ll want to learn. Although you won’t become an expert in six weeks, by the time you return home you’ll surely have some cool phrases to teach your friends.
  4. You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone and learn to deal with unexpected situations. No matter where you decide to go, you can be sure something will pop up that will force you to rethink your course of action, and guess what? You’ll be a better, more capable person by the end of it.
  5. You’ll become more aware, not only of what things are like outside of your own reality, but also of who you are as a person, of what your strengths and weaknesses are and how you can best put them to use in order to help change something in the world.
  6. You’ll meet people that will change your life, either by exposing you to a different worldview or by teaching you something about yourself or the planet. Whatever you decide to do, the people you meet along the way will always be the greatest component of journey and the thing you’ll value most after it’s over.
  7. You’ll gain a new perspective on who you are, what you want to achieve and what your role in the grand scheme of things is. You can be sure that by the end of your experience there’s going to be someone completely different staring back when you look in the mirror, because of all the way you’ve developed in.
  8. You’ll get to explore interests you didn’t think to pay attention to before. Whether it’s discovering your love for sharing knowledge with others or a secret passion for fields like photography, there’s definitely something to be gained out of having freedom to do new things.
  9. You’ll gain leadership skills that will help you in everything you do after you come back. Your studies, your career and your personal life will all have to benefit from the abilities you develop while being a volunteer. And no matter the field you want to be active in, you can be sure leadership is going to make a difference.
  10. You’ll become an agent of change by actively working on making the world a better place. Having the chance to do your part and leave your mark in the community you’ll live in by contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals will be something that you’ll always remember and that will definitely transform the way you think about world issues.

If the list we put together doesn’t appeal to you one bit, it might mean that you’re that rare unicorn that really shouldn’t try volunteering; but if it did – and we have a feeling you’re at least a tiny bit curious- then why not give it a try and discover all the amazing things it has in store for you? Go to aiesec.org and find your opportunity!

 

Why I joined and why I stayed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE UNDISCOVERED WORLD

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

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

Selin Akay

Me with wonderful kids on a project’s workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Click  here for more info!

Author: Selin Akay slike za blogere

Selin is exchange addicted, world citizen and sport enthusiastic.

How to become your true self

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become

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

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

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

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

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

 

Author: Kitti Komoróczyslike za blogere

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

Welcome to the new journey of life

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Author: Selin Akayslike za blogere

Selin is exchange addicted, world citizen and sport enthusiastic.

My AIESEC Journey

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

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

journey

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

journey

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

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

 

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

Author: Jenny Wongslike za blogere

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

What happened 2015 in AIESEC in Austria?

2015 already ended, but every ending is the start of something new. Now, reflecting of what it has been, we know 2015 has been a good year with many improvements and milestones.

Here is a short overview:

Some Numbers and Facts

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In 2015 were able to provide a total amount of 192 international exchanges, giving all those exchange participants a chance to develop themselves while doing purposeful work, abroad or in Austria. Our incoming volunteer projects even had an increase of over 35% in participation compared to 2014, while our outgoing corporate internship program, Global Talent, could improve by impressive 40% compared to the previous year. But these are not only numbers; these are life-changing experiences that we, as a youth organization, succeeded in delivering, in only one year, to people from our generation.

Introduction of Global Entrepreneur

Startup Stock Photos

This year we were proudly introducing a new program – Global Entrepreneur. program enables students to find an internship in an entrepreneurial environment abroad and to gather tons of experience. Furthermore, through this program, we enable start-ups from Austria to Austria to have in their teams highly motivated and outstanding students from abroad.

Amazing events

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This year we had events both for students and companies. We organized focused workshops for students (e.g. workshop “How to write a successful CV”), or business networking events like “Career Days” or “Consulting Challenge”. Besides that, we had also events that promote cultural exchange like “Global Village”, where students from different nationalities, who came in Austria for our volunteering projects, prepared traditional dishes from their respective countries. With those events we did everything we could to foster cross-cultural understanding.

All in all it can be said that 2015 has been a very successful year for AIESEC in Austria, but we don’t want to settle at successful – we want to strive for excellence, so let’s see what 2016 will bring for us!

AIESEC Resolutions 2016

As a new year approaches us, both individuals and companies reflect on their plans for the future. AIESEC takes a step further and, as an organisation, sets clear milestones every five years in order to come closer to the achievement of our organisation’s mission, peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. The end of this year meant the completion of our 2015 vision, but it also marked the establishment of the new milestone, AIESEC 2020.

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The reasons for initiating AIESEC 2020 is quite simple.The key to achieving long-term goals is by having a clear strategic direction. The new plan can be seen as a refreshment of AIESEC’s earnestness: Giving leadership development to youth with an accurate plan.

 

The three AIESEC 2020 statements are self-explanatory and underline the meaning of the organisation as a global youth movement.

  1. Shaping what we do around what the world needs
  2. Growing disruptively 
  3. Being accessible to everyone, everywhere

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The first statement indicates that it is essential for the organisation to be fast in responding to the world’s trends. In 2016, AIESEC wants to align to the global necessities with the help of Youth Speak, a youth insight survey. This global movement focuses on understanding what hopes and challenges the youth is focusing on and what issues they are ready to act upon. By that, young people have the opportunity to provide decision makers with the opinion of how they envision the world. Their insight will make an impact on how to adapt to the world and work upon the first goal.

The second statement expresses the wish to expand more and more on the existing market, and by that, also to create new markets. Furthermore, it also means to promote innovative ideas and to elaborate on the point that standards lead to satisfaction. To achieve that, it is important to ask the question, “How can we engage Millennials to take actions?”. This helps understand how to contribute to the goal of engaging more and more young people and by that, it enables us to truly be a Global Youth Movement – Broadening our perspectives on numerous fields leads to being able to make an impact and influence more of the global situation.

The third statement hints to a limitless AIESEC world, without boundaries towards physical or virtual engagement with the organisation. As a Global Youth Movement, it is essential to make sure that we can reach as many young people as possible. This is why in 2016, we want to enable exchange of ideas, innovation and collaboration and be relevant to any young person in a flexible, attractive and engaging approach. To ensure that the 2020 vision will truly have an impact on AIESEC and on the world, concrete goals will be finalized by the end of summer 2016.
The new year in AIESEC means to bring us closer to engaging and developing every young person in the world. The map to achieving the goals is already there. What follows is taking this path and constantly optimizing it on the way. Let us look forward to a challenging journey!