Reasons Why I Joined AIESEC by Lisa Vu

photo 2 (2)Exuberant laughter filled the air. The once-empty hallways outside our classroom resonated with the sound of enthusiastic voices as AIESEC members exchanged new conversations. It was a Saturday afternoon, and despite the grey clouds hovering over the school campus, I could not contain my excitement.

photo 1 (3)Last Saturday, I was invited to attend the Local Committee Conference, which was held by the current AIESEC members. I came into the conference with a notepad, a pencil in hand, and most importantly, I carried a positive outlook. I listened attentively as the MCs engaged the new AIESEC members with their stories on leadership, and development. They displayed a very strong passion for their journey with AIESEC. Stories of current AIESEC members were shared throughout the evening. Jessica Ngan’s words were deeply embedded in me. She spoke about her initial intentions in joining AIESEC. While she joined through her friend’s invitation, Jessica took her role with AIESEC a step further by taking advantage of the opportunities that AIESEC presented to her. I inquired about her experiences on exchange to Poland, as she spoke enthusiastically about how she gained leadership experience. She also shared with me how her experiences abroad was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. For Jessica, AIESEC is a platform for her to develop leadership and interpersonal skills. Working overseas, and learning about a new culture while developing her skills through a volunteer opportunity enriched her life experiences.

One of the MCs shared a story about personal development, and how he was able to overcome his lack of communicative competency, and poor presentation skills. He said that the AIESEC family really seeks to help one another build on one another’s weaknesses. The best advice he offered that afternoon was that the opportunities with AIESEC is endless, but it is up to each of us to strive for our highest potential. Upon hearing this, I felt reassured, and I breathed out a sigh of relief. Initially, I was afraid of handling my tasks alone, but hearing that I will have people helping me along the way was very reassuring.

2013- Holiday17Around me, I recognized the faces of young individuals who felt deeply connected by the words of the AIESEC MCs. Likewise, I was also eager about the opportunity to demonstrate my skills, and to expand my horizons. Between listening to the informative sessions regarding AIESEC’s values and goals, and  participating in the AIESEC dance and activities, I met many amazing AIESEC members. Core values were shared amongst my AIESEC families.

One of my most memorable experience was creating paper cranes. That’s right, I made my first paper crane ever. Each member took an origami paper, and wrote down  their reasons for joining AIESEC. Afterwards, we folded the paper into beautiful cranes. The folding required a lot of patience, and teamwork. Before making the cranes, only a handful of people in the room knew how to fold the paper correctly. During the activity, I noticed a ripple effect. One person learned how to make the crane, and they proceeded to help their neighbours. By the end of the session, we had all made paper cranes, from just a plain piece of paper.

TEAM1I  learned that AIESEC UBC is working hard this year to ‘break the threshold.’ Every individual can contribute to AIESEC’s future success by bringing their own sets of skills and ideas to the table. Everyone has the potential to become great, but it only happens when a team of people contribute to each other’s success.  The AIESEC members made it easy for me to be really excited about being part of AIESEC. I didn’t know what to expect, and by the end of the conference, I came home with more than I left the house with. I now have a pencil, notepad, a positive attitude, and my AIESEC family.

AIESEC Internship: Budapest, Hungary

My name is Klaryssa Pangilinan and this summer I had the opportunity to travel to Hungary and live in the beautiful city of Budapest on a Global Community Development Programme internship for 6 whole weeks through AIESEC UBC. I chose to do an internship through AIESEC UBC because my boyfriend was Team Leader of Africa and Europe at his university last semester and introduced me to AIESEC. After seeing how much he loved the program I was inspired to go on an internship. With the combined help both from him and UBC, it was an easy and enjoyable process.

klaryssa1

I had been to Europe before and had already experienced and fallen in love with the beauty of European lifestyle and culture, yet somehow, I didn’t expect Budapest to be such an interesting and beautiful city. Upon arriving in Budapest in the middle of July on a Friday night, I was left alone by my trainee buddy for the whole weekend, not knowing where exactly I was, or knowing anyone else in the city. Budapest, as a less visited and touristy city did not have many English translations around the city (including in their public trams, metro and buses) and few people were able to speak or even understand English; it proved to be a very difficult and lonely weekend. As I had arrived just at the start of the new internships, not many interns had arrived yet and therefore there was a lack of communication from the local committee who had yet to prepare for this new wave of students. I wasn’t going to let this get in my way and ended up messaging my buddy to ask for access to the list of interns and their arrival days, found some on Facebook and invited them to meet up at Starbucks on Monday. I spent my first weekend wandering and exploring this beautiful city by myself and familiarizing myself with my neighbourhood. Luckily I was able to meet up with my boyfriend’s friend from school who was also doing an AIESEC internship in Budapest and even better…was of Hungarian nationality and was fluent in the language! He assisted me in getting Hungarian forints (currency) and getting a phone plan. Monday morning, my buddy was supposed to meet me to bring me to the kindergarten, but late Sunday night, she messaged me to inform me that she was sick and asked if I could find the school alone. So, come Monday morning, I set out to find the kindergarten alone.klaryssa3

The place I had my internship at was called Zϋm-Zϋm International Kindergarten and I worked as an assistant teacher. The address that I had been given was not the correct address. Confused and not sure what to do, I used my new phone plan’s data to look up the kindergarten to get the phone number. I was told that the address had been changed 2 years ago. I then got directions to the new place, which was thankfully just down the street. I made my way to the kindergarten and was introduced to the three teachers and a few of the kids. This would be my workplace for the next 6 weeks.

klaryssa5

Over the course of the 6 weeks, I grew close with the three teachers. These three ladies were kind and welcoming, and the children simply adored them. The number of kids varied from day to day and ranged from 11 to 18. At first, it was difficult to communicate with the children without being able to speak or understand their language. I was expecting the children to be around the age of 5 or 6, (which is the age Americans enter kindergarten) but I learned that Europeans refer to kindergarten as daycare and therefore the kids were between 15 months and 4 years old. I love playing and working with children so I did my best to communicate with them through the games or activities that they were doing. By the end of the 2nd week, the kids were able to pronounce my name and I was able to understand common phrases. Throughout those 6 weeks, I learned to get to know those kids, know their reactions to certain situations and learned to love them. They would come up to me, yelling my name just to show me a worm they found while playing outside, or they would randomly sit on my lap. One girl, named Janka who only arrived the 3rd week I was there, immediately took me as her best friend and would walk around the kindergarten just singing my name or saying it non-stop. (Much to the annoyance of the teachers who thought she was a crazy, loud kid!) At first she said “Klarista” and then she learned to say “Kla-ree-sa”. Each kid was different and some took longer to get close to, but by the end of those 6 weeks, each of the kids were comfortable with me and got used to having me around every day.

klaryssa6

After meeting my friends at Starbucks that Monday of the first work week, AIESEC Budapest had an “International Integration” Day where all the interns met up and were able to get to know another. My closest friends during my stay there were the ones I had independently met at Starbucks. Two were from New York, one from Portugal and one from Brazil, who I had actually been in contact with through Facebook since April. We met up almost every day and they were the ones who I turned to in times of trouble. We remain in contact through our group message on Facebook and I know that, should I ever find myself in Portugal, Brazil or New York, I will have forever have friends to visit.

I love Budapest. It is now one of my favourite cities in Europe and I will definitely go back there to visit. When you hear about Europe, you mainly hear about cities such as Rome, London or Paris but never Budapest. I think Budapest truly is a hidden gem within Europe and that more people should experience this beautiful city. Before leaving for my internship, I took a self-taught introductory course to learn the Hungarian Language. This was extremely helpful during my first few days and even weeks in Budapest as simple words such as “Szia!” (hello/goodbye) or “köszönöm szépen” (thank you very much) were not strange to me and didn’t leave me dumbfounded when hearing those words on the streets. Introducing myself to the language prior to starting my internship was also a good idea as many of the Hungarians I met appreciated my effort to get to know their culture and language. Throughout my internship, I visited all the tourist places as well as the local neighbourhood in which I lived. Fortunately, I was only about a 20 minute tram ride to the city centre but near the end of my internship, when my metro pass expired, I walked to the city centre from my dorm in about 45 minutes. Despite the unattractive and tasteless food that was provided to me, the lonely first weekend, and the unexpected cold and rainy weather at the end of August, my time in Budapest was one I truly enjoyed and will always remember. I will never forget those little kids and will smile every time I look through my pictures or videos of them and hear their voices and see their cute faces. It wasn’t a perfect internship and it wasn’t even what I had expected the internship to be, but it was an experience I will never forget and gave me memories I will always cherish. I learned so much about Hungarian culture, lifestyle and people and fell in love with a city that I had barely thought twice about before. Thank you AIESEC UBC for providing me with this opportunity to learn more about the world around me!

 klaryssa4

 

 

“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 on

into battle without building some sort of camaraderie with our fellow delegates building 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 did not only teach us 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 become 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.

Colleen Xie’s AIESEC Exchange Story

The world seemed to completely open up for me during the months of May and June, when I embarked on my first six week Global Community Development Programme with AIESEC. My reasons for going were pretty simple—I wanted to do something new and challenge myself right after my first year of undergraduate science, during a summer which was relatively free from commitments (summer school can wait). Some members of AIESEC came into my Econ 101 class and gave a mini spiel… I didn’t want to overthink it, so I just said to myself ‘why not’, and went through the application and interview process.

It would be my first time travelling on my own, and so even after I got matched to a program with AIESEC Poznan, the notion of actually going there and teaching Polish students about my culture—it was so far out there to me I still couldn’t believe it.

All my worries melted away during the first few days during the PrepCo, orientation workshops put on by the local committee. The AIESECers in Poznan were warm, caring, and amazingly helpful. Each intern was assigned a “buddy”, who went with us everywhere during the first few days to make sure we understood the transportation system, the language, the culture, etc. And pretty soon, we were each paired off and sent to our respective schools. It was different for every pair, but most schools were out of Poznan, and in nearby towns with smaller populations.

Mostly, my days at school were about giving presentations about our culture and engaging with the students through games and other activities. But after school, there were lots of opportunities to get to know each other. Some schools planned trips, sometimes my host families planned trips as well—they showed me so much more hospitality than I could have ever imagined. It was so rewarding to hear that some students, after having met us, were more motivated to learn English, or to be involved in similar projects themselves in the future. For some, it was the first time that the students have seen people outside their country—an idea that I was not used to. Being born in Canada, I thought very little about its multiculturalism. For that reason, many of the teachers and host families expressed their gratitude for us coming to their schools. I think that reason alone should be enough motivation for anyone to embark on a GCDP. But there’s the other side—if you give a lot of yourself, you will receive a lot in return. I was immersed in Polish language, food, and traditions. At many schools, students had eagerly and proudly given us presentations about their country. This exchange, this cultural sharing, was another “gift” I received from my GCDP.

A lot of us came to think of Poznan as our second home. Us interns had plenty of chances to travel during the weekends (which we had free), so I also travelled to Warsaw, Wrocław, Krakow, Prague, Dresden and Berlin during my internship, not to mention the smaller cities surrounding Poznan that the schools were located in. While all of the travelling was incredible, I remember distinctly how my heart filled with gladness after I heard “dzień dobry” (good morning) for the first time in a week. It was like music to my ears.

And with all that experience, comes change. I became more flexible (you had to be, honestly), more confident, more eager to experience new challenges, and less scared of the unknown. I learned to appreciate all the small moments, because next week, I wouldn’t be with the same host family anymore. I became so close to some of the interns, it felt like we’ve known each other for our whole lives. When it came to the end, it felt surreal. I was in absolute denial about leaving Poland, and only when the wheels of the plane lifted off Polish ground, did the tears come.

Some advice I have for people going on an internship—just go with the flow! That’s all I can really say. Not everything will be what you expect, but that’s all part of the experience, so savour all the moments, both happy and unfortunate.

(Scroll down for photos!)

colleen1

colleen2

colleen3

colleen4

colleen5

colleen6

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.

wordpress1

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.

wordpress2

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!
1011767_657588980949080_1284024180_n
   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!”