Vancouver is a hub of opportunity and diversity, with so much to do, learn, and see. But how do you set yourself apart from everybody else? Here are five steps you can take to create a better path for success:
Stretch Your Comfort Zone
Many youth make the mistake of assuming their comfort zone exists as a manifestation of their strengths; thinking this, they direct their efforts towards only where they feel they would reap the greatest rewards. This is, of course, not true. Our comfort zone is only as small as we choose to make it, and in restricting ourselves we are likewise limiting the number of opportunities available to us. Tomorrow, do something you never saw yourself doing: make that cold call, go skydiving, try that foreign entrée. You’ll thank yourself after discovering more about yourself and seizing that new opportunity.
It is amazing how strangers come together and meet through a chain of events. It’s common in AIESEC to meet people near and far that you would never have thought of knowing, and then finding out how much you have in common with them. One such opportunity happened to me these past two days 10 000 km away from home.
I found myself in Hong Kong in a room full of strangers at 10:30am in the morning and thinking about the connections that brought me there. An AIESEC friend from Calgary, whom I first met at an AIESEC conference in October 2012, introduced me to the Vice President Communications of AIESEC Hong Kong. We exchanged a few messages where he invited me to AIESEC Hong Kong’s Brand XP (experience) Summit, which is where I found myself in a room full of strangers one week later.
My name is Rita and I recently came back from my internship in Buea, Cameroon. I just graduated in Global Resource Systems and I was looking for something to do after graduation. Combining my love for travelling and my desire to gain some field experience before I started looking for a ‘career’ seemed like a perfect thing to do after graduation. I first heard of AIESEC in my last semester at UBC through a presentation made in one of my classes. I learned that you could participate in international internships at a relatively low cost, so I applied right away, and before I knew it, it was April and I finished my last exam. Before my internship with AIESEC, I had another internship already lined up with another organization in India, so at the time I was more excited and busy preparing for that internship, which turned out to be amazing and life changing. It was also interesting to compare the two internships – the one in India and Cameroon.
On March 23rd, AIESEC UBC hosted Exploring Diversity, an event featuring guest speaker Alden E. Habacon, the current director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development at UBC. He addressed the topics of cultural identity, multicultural fluidity, and intercultural fluency. Big words, I know, but these topics are issues that we will likely face often, if not at least once in our lives.
“What are you? Where are you from?” are questions I am asked often. If I am overseas or in Vancouver, I respond with either “Vancouver” or “Canada”. With a puzzled face and a quick laugh, the person I am speaking with will re-phrase their question: “No, where are you really from?” Sometimes I get frustrated, but other times I understand their confusion. I do not look like a “typical” Canadian. We are in a new generation where we have “Cultural Identity 2.0”; in other words, it is more likely for people nowadays to have a diverse ethnic background. Believe it or not, “butter chicken and sushi are mainstream,” as Habacon jokingly said, referring to Vancouver’s culture. However, the issue is that not everyone is on the same page.
Atteding AIESEC conferences is an important part of being an AIESECer: it is all about connection, friendship, and inspiration. This coming May, members of AIESEC UBC will be attending the National Leadership Development Conference (NLDC), and we are excited!
I have spent a significant portion of my student life extremely involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities. In high school, I was a straight-A student, the president of the Grad Council Committee, and an active member of several other clubs. Essentially, I was the stereotypical overachiever.
Starting university was a completely different experience for me because suddenly there were so many options available from which I got to choose. The University of British Columbia can be overwhelming due to its huge campus and student body. It can be difficult to find your place on campus when you feel small and insignificant in a lecture hall of two hundred other bright students. Sometimes it is easy to become discouraged, and become disconnected from campus life altogether by simply attending class and then quickly going home.
Throughout my years at university, I’ve met many people who never made an effort to become involved in any clubs or student organizations. I always wanted to be a part of a school club that would enhance my university experience and provide me the opportunity to enhance my skills outside of the classroom.
In March, we challenged AIESEC members to post an AIESEC-related photo a day. The challenge was conducted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #AIESECphotochallenge. We’ve compiled some of our favourite submissions below! Continue reading
“Sébastien! Come dance with us,” yelled some girl I’ve never met before, but she seemed to think she knew me well enough to drag to the front of the room.
This was my first AIESEC dance experience: full of awkwardness and confusion. I didn’t know where the concept of arbitrary dancing came from. Ever since that time, it was always a forced motion that I had to perform, simply because everyone around me was doing it. It wasn’t until last year during my exchange that I realized what AIESEC dancing is all about. I had the pleasure of meeting the Local Committee in Copenhagen, as I had contacted AIESEC UNIC (Universities of Copenhagen) once I learned that I’d be in the area for a while. They took me in, introduced me to the rest of the Local Committee, and at the their meeting, we danced. This was the moment that revealed to me just how big AIESEC really is. They knew all the same dances, had the same running jokes, and had a few traditions of their own that I immediately adopted.
These dances aren’t just a celebration of how AIESEC can break through borders, but it is something we all have in common. Language barriers, cultural differences, and lack of familiarity can create an awkward stalemate between people where no one wants to make the first move and get to know the other person. AIESEC dances break that barrier; we may not all speak the same language, but we all know the same dances. Each choreographed move raises the members’ spirits. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, an engineering major or a creative writing major, from North America or from Asia—these dances are a way for us to share a moment, however brief, where we are all where we are supposed to be. When AIESECers are dancing together it feels as if all in the world is good. So look for me on the dance floor or at a meeting, because I’ll be dancing my heart out.
By Sébastien Monzón Rueda, Outgoing Exchange