Exchange CHANGED me!

When I sat down to think about the six-week experience at Romania, I found two key words to describe the experience, which are CHANGE and LOVE.

CHANGE & SELF

Before I went to Romania, I thought myself as someone who could easily adapt to everything and I had very low requirements of living conditions. Moreover, the academic exchange experience in the UK and a master degree study in Canada could help me adapt quickly into the new environment. However, when I arrived at Bucharest, I realized that I was not the one I imagined. I have already set up some requirements for living. For instance, I felt very uncomfortable while sharing a room with 7 other girls who had different living habits.

After I explained my difficulties of adaptations to Natasha, my Exchange Participant manager at AIESEC UBC, she offered many useful suggestions and encouraged to be proactive to solve the problems. So, I changed the way of doing things as I used to be more passive when I met challenges. I talked to the other girls, the project manager and also the host of the hostel about my difficulties. I was surprised that everyone understood me, and all of them gave tips or offered to assist me overcome the difficulties.

Adaptation to the living conditions at Bucharest was just one example of CHANGES. I have experienced other changes as well. Due to these changes, I knew more about myself. I realized that I was not as open minded as I thought I was, and sometimes I was very judgmental. During this experience, I learnt how to understand the differences, accept them, and also deal with them. That is how I change myself and how I grew with the AIESEC exchange experience.

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Love

This part is about my work at Casa Iona orphanage Bucharest. We worked two hours from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm four days per week. The children’s age in the orphanage ranged from 3 to 15 years old, and we had ten kids in total. Most of the children were homeless and their parents could not afford a house in Romania. Some kids suffered from domestic violence and others had mental disorders.

The first two weeks, we were very disappointed and upset with our work at the orphanage, because the kids were not very organized and didn’t like to do group activities. They would always fight with each other when we asked them to play group games.

However, with the help of our translator, a very nice Romanian girl, we found out what happened to the kids. For instance, one boy suffered from domestic violence and had mental disorder. He always felt nervous and lonely. After we knew more about them, we changed our strategy of designing sessions. We slowed down and added more types of activities, such as watching cartoons, drawing and doing origami. The kids became more and more organized and disciplined. They could participate in group activities and learn simple vocabulary within 30 minutes.

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After the experience with them for six weeks, I learnt how to love others and take care of others. I got used to being loved by family and friends, but I didn’t consider how to love others seriously. From this experience, I was trying to learn and practice it. It was amazing that we could communicate, interact and play with each other when we spoke different languages.

Finally, thanks to AIESEC, I experienced a lot during the six weeks. I met good friends from different countries; I visited a country I never knew before; I learnt to change and to love others; and I grew from this experience.wordpress3

From Mengzhen Cheng (Tifa)

Now I am a second year master student at UBC

Note:

The first picture is a group picture of our project took on Global Village, including every trainee and project manager.

The second picture is a boy and I in the orphanage, which was taken when we were playing outside.

The third picture is a thank you letter and flower sent from the orphanage we worked at.

Vietnam Here I Come

“We must take adventures to see where we truly belong”

Adventures

My inspiration:

Today June 19th (when I actually wrote this entry) marks one week before I leave for my 7 week internship in Hanoi, Vietnam. I initially thought that I wouldn’t be going abroad to work till 3rd year, but plans change. Why you may ask? Simply because I want my life to be changed. Be it a good or bad experience I want to step out of my comfort zone and go on a journey. The fear of the unknown is a scary thing, uncertainty leaves you feeling anxious and misplaced and that’s why I want to explore the undecided.

It all started in December 2013. I attended my first ever AIESEC conference. I was able to meet passionate student leaders from all across Canada who all want to create change. The stories I heard convinced me to apply to go on this internship.

The power of a story is what I was interested in. How could something so abstract give me such a sudden change of heart. I then realized that I wanted that ability as well. To go on an adventure of self development and self discovery and hopefully impart the same type of change to somebody, anybody I would eventually meet.

My Responsibility:

I am pleased to be partnered with AIESEC NEU (National Economics University). My job entails me to create conference content with themes central to interpersonal, soft and leadership skills.

I will also be working with interns from Germany, Brazil, Indonesia, and many more, so I am excited and pleasured to be working with people from all over the world.

My mind:

Why did I choose this specific internship?

One of my passions is equipping youth with tools to succeed. I originally come from Manila where the public education is not particularly up to standard. In my home not everyone is given the opportunity to learn and succeed. I believe that each and every person given the education and the right mindset can be a leader, can innovate and can be a winner.

My Expectation:

Fast forward 6 months and I’m here, typing this pre-landing reflection to see how I actually got here. I haven’t felt the complete excitement or the fear of going away yet, but I know it will hit me soon enough. I’m excited to learn and bring back a life changing story.

Cross-posted with permission from Christian Chan, Talent Management

Marina’s CEED Experience

    AIESEC surprises me every day. It’s impossible to describe the feeling that this organization provides for every member! Every experience that I had at AIESEC was better than I expected. My experience as CEED (Cultural Envoy for Exchange and Development) in Vancouver was one of these AIESEC experiences – it was better than I expected!
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   I met members that have the same motivation as me – we love the same organization, we have the same sparkle in our eyes and our members are impacting and changing lives all around the world. I learned a lot in Vancouver, and developed myself. I worked with Talent Management team, and I was given the chance to learn about recruitment. That was the area I had the most difficulty with in AIESEC Limeira, but now I could see the differences. I’m trying to change all the things that I want to improve in AIESEC Limeira. Because of what I could apply the knowledge I learned in Vancouver to make changes to my own Local Committee, and the result turned out to be fantastic!
   I think that the programs that AIESEC provides – membership and exchange, are the “key” to impact the society and develop leadership. However, I also want to emphasize the importance of CEEDership! I’ve never thought that a CEEDership could provide this much knowledge and development like what I’ve experienced in Vancouver! I just want to thank AIESEC UBC for giving me this opportunity and I’ll contribute to this Local Committee forever with everything that I can!”

The Value of Knowledge

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.52.08 AM“It is difficult to teach when you have never been taught.” -Anonymous

Stripped down to its core, Train the Trainers (TtT) lays out the fundamentals of how to be an effective teacher. Being a teacher is wrought with many hardships from dealing with that know-it-all wanting to showcase his intelligence at the most inappropriate times or knowing how to properly administer feedback to an unreceptive student. But, of course, one cannot simply forge into battle without building some sort of camaraderie with our fellow delegates upon the unspoken agreement that, for the weekend, we are all there to appreciate the value of passing on knowledge.

By exploring the intricacies of how to deliver that knowledge to an audience, we became proficient at cultivating a room filled with learners who are attentive, present and willing to learn. With AIESEC repeatedly proving that a yearly turnover rate can lead to success, it is imperative that each generation, well-versed in the processes and ideals of AIESEC, are consistently produced.  Train the Trainers shows us the value of applying different methods of teaching to reach different learning styles and teaches us how to manage an audience regardless of size or composition ensuring that our scope includes everybody in the room. Train the Trainers teaches us to command not only the audience, but the space itself, using the dynamics of a room to our advantage.

TtT taught us not only how to train but it also taught us about ourselves as well. With time and space provided for self-reflection, it became easier to acknowledge my own shortcomings and focus on how to improve them. We were given a chance to teach a specific topic at our discretion. I had intended to beguile the minds of the delegation with a story about priorities (i.e. The Jar of Life). Instead it led to my own unearthing of where my priorities stood at this point in time, something that was a long time coming. TtT provides the space for self-awareness which was immensely gratifying.

Knowledge is the driving force of this organization and by becoming certified trainers, the delegates and I became part of a group that helps drive the organization forward. One of the main benefits of going into this mini-conference is being surrounded by people who share the same passion for AEISEC and, as a delegate, one can feed off of that passion. With students from Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and University of British Columbia striving to learn how to better equip their own Local Committees by becoming a better trainers, it becomes easier to remember that we were all there to help bring AIESEC forward.

In this mini-conference we were given to the opportunity to put all that we have theorized into practice and see whether or not our current methods prove effective. We are forced to work with people whom we have just met and be expected to produce a project usually planned for months. It is certainly a testament to the standards that AIESEC holds its members to that we are all able to pass on our knowledge to the next generation of leaders.

By Andrea Banzon, Finance and Governance 

My AIESEC Experience! – Melissa Siy

I had always been interested in what AIESEC stood for – an international non-profit organization that provides students with leadership training and internship opportunities. Specifically, the opportunities it offers students that extend beyond the school body – personal and professional growth. As my last year in UBC, it was getting closer for me to explore and discover more of my career path and what I really wanted to pursue after I leave the academic world. With that, I found AIESEC.
I joined AIESEC during the September 2013 recruitment. At first, I did not realize how in depth and structured the application process was. I had to attend at least one info session, submit a written application and lastly attend a group and one-on-one interview. Despite the process seemingly intimidating, it was nothing close to that. In fact, I found myself more passionate and determined to be part of the AIESEC family. I loved the group and one-on-one interview the most. I highly commend the Talent Management team for successfully producing a professional yet fun event! Even from the beginning of the membership assessment center, I already found myself comfortable around the AIESEC community. It was then, that I was certain that I had to be part of the community. I initially applied for Incoming Exchange (ICX) as I was convinced that it was the perfect portfolio for professional and personal development through their sales meeting, cold and warm calls etc. I thought ICX would give me the perfect training and self-discovery that I needed for after I graduate UBC. However, we were given the opportunity to learn about different portfolios during the assessment center. I am really grateful for this opportunity because it is when I realized that Talent Management was a better fit for me! Despite the change in mind, I still pursued ICX as my first choice. However, when I received my acceptance email, I was positioned in Talent Management. Until today, I am so happy for it!
I started out as a Members Engagement Coordinator in Talent Management during my first term in AIESEC. I was under the leadership of Amanda Hung as the Vice President of Talent Management during that time but my team leader was Jessica Ngan, who is the current Vice President of Talent Management! The first event that we wanted to plan was Engagement with AIESEC. I was really determined to find a speaker for the event. I reached out to Scotiabank by conducting my very first cold call. I remember being so nervous about it but I was thankful that Jessica was there to help me out throughout the call. Unfortunately, the event never pushed through but despite that, it pushed me to extend beyond my comfort zone. Not that I needed it but it just re-confirmed me that AIESEC is the perfect organization that would yield me to develop myself not only professionally but personally! The first AIESEC event that I organized with my other team member, Tony, was the Year End Social. This was important for me because it was the first event that we had to organize as newbies without being dependent on Jessica. Through this event, I further learned how to negotiate with people (specifically, the venue holder) and practice my presentation skills. It was a successful event! My first term in AIESEC was a great experience for me but I realized I wanted to gain more. My goal was to be a Team leader for next semester. This term, I was given the opportunity to be the Director of Member’s Training and Development in Talent Management. I was so excited for this new challenge and opportunity and was determined to be a great leader. This really shows how great AIESEC is. The community really sees through your hard work and determination and with that, it drives you even more to push and challenge yourself. So far, I was able to be a facilitator and interviewer for this year’s membership assessment center. Being on the other side of the fence, I was able to learn so much professionally. As an observer and interviewer for the potential new members, I was able to position myself in the mindset of an evaluator that paralleled the position of an interviewer for my future job opportunities. With that experience, I believe that it will serve as a significant aid for my future job interviews. I now have a better and a comprehensive understanding of what an interviewer observes and examines during a job interview. The most recent event that I organized with my team is  Induction Day. Induction day is an event where the new members will learn more about AIESEC, the local chapter and the team they will be part of. I experienced how to successfully delegate tasks to my team members and lead a team in organizing a successful event! Furthermore, I am also able to conduct weekly team meetings that continuously encourage me to be a great team leader and consequently teach me how to be one as well. Everyday, I develop my professional and personal self with AIESEC. For this term, our team’s goal is develop a new project that will impact our local chapter and hopefully, AIESEC as a whole organization!

By Melissa Siy, Talent Management 

We Do. We Share. We Inspire: Coastal Conference 2014

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The AIESEC UBC Marketing & Communications team at Coastal 2014!

Being a newbie in AIESEC having joined in January this year, Coastal Conference 2014 hosted by Kwantlan Polytechnic University was my first big AIESEC experience. As it was a conference geared towards introducing newbies like myself to AIESEC, I was expecting to learn all about the basics of AIESEC: its structure, the many, many acronyms, its programs, and the exchange process. However, what I ended up taking away from the conference was much, much more.
When I entered the conference room, the atmosphere was full of spirit and excitement. Each local committee (LC) from SFU, Kwantlan, Victoria, and Seattle was being introduced and I was immediately infected with the enthusiasm of my peers. Amazingly, this energy lasted through the entire weekend and was continuously pumped up by roll calls, famous AIESEC dances at every break, and the Fun Team who dealt out punishments and gossip. Throughout every activity, whether it be sessions, discussions in ‘home’ groups, portfolio-focused exercises, or even the intense simulation, the energy never disappeared and instead contributed immensely to my experience at Coastal.

As the energy persisted, it transformed throughout the weekend from one of pure excitement, to one of purpose as well. Though we were unaware of the impact this weekend would have on us as AIESECers, this would be the beginning of our AIESEC story. For both experienced members and newbies like me, this was where we all began to think of our time in AIESEC as a journey. One of the most impactful realizations made at Coastal was the importance of an AIESEC Why. Though a seemingly simple concept, many of us shockingly realized that we lacked a Why. We lacked a reason for being in AIESEC and for why we were doing what we were doing. As the Chair of the conference explained, having a Why was essential as it is the driving force behind everything we do in AIESEC, both personally and collectively. Encouraged to reflect on our own personal Whys and what we wanted to accomplish in AIESEC, we collaborated our ideas in our individual ‘home’ groups. The Local Committee Presidents (LCPs) later combined all these ideas to create one unified Coastal Why: We Do. We Share. We Inspire. This Why reflects what we, as a whole, learned from the conference and will act as the Why for ‘right now’ for those who have yet to find their own, like myself.
We Do. We Share. We Inspire. This is a Why that I believe in as I saw it in action at the conference. Experienced members who had already actively participated in AIESEC programs (Do) opened up to others about their stories and experiences (Share) and as a result, sparked motivation and purpose in other AIESECers (Inspire). What I will always remember about Coastal Conference 2014 is the energy and passion that was shared among the delegates, and the motivation and purpose I left the weekend with. This is where my story began and by sharing it here I hope to encourage others to start thinking about their story.

By Alison Suen, Marketing and Communications

The AIESEC Story

Once upon a time, there lived a nation present in 124 different countries, with 100,000 citizens; where everything was possible and nothing was unachievable.

The AIESEC Story is a yearly campaign aimed at showcasing the story of an AIESECer. Whether you are someone who is thinking about joining the organization or a current member who wants to document their time in AIESEC, The AIESEC Story utilizes the method of storytelling to promote the connection between people to people. Throughout the year, we will be posting a variety of updates illustrating the transitional stages of an AIESEC year. Of course, no year is the same, but this year will be our year to tell you our story through our experiences. From introduction to conclusion, we invite you to embark on this journey with us, one chapter at a time.

Have you ever thought about what being an AIESECer is all about? Or whether the idea of exchange and a cultural mindset is as remarkable as it all seems? Starting this month, we will be providing The AIESEC Story for you to be a part of. Join us on this adventure as we unravel it through a range of personal and professional development and exchange stories, much like an actual storybook. And in the end, we hope you will say “Can we go back to page one and do it all over again?”