Yiyun Wang: My Volunteer Experience in Chile – We Speak Program AIESEC CONCEPCION

I am so lucky to get this valuable opportunity to visit this amazing country, Chile. Since the first day arriving at the airport, I received warm welcome from everyone here I met: the AIESEC IGCDP team, my host family, other volunteers, English teachers I worked with and the lovely students. The AIESEC CONCEPCION gave me huge support in Chile. They helped me settle down in a quite different cultural environment, introduced the culture to me and kept track of my volunteer work. I’m glad to meet them and build strong network in this country. My family also supported me a lot. Although we may not communicate with each other fluently because of the language difference, they tried their best to talk with me and provide anything they could help with me. They brought me to explore the city Concepción and travel to another city during one weekend. My work here is teaching English in a local school. I was so nervous when I was going to meet the classes (I taught 8 classes in total). But the students’ warm welcome relieved me much. They are curious about myself and my hometown China. So they asked questions in English, using the most they have learned. On the last day of school, they showed their gratitude that I helped a lot for their English study, which made me sad to leave them. I met other volunteers too, who are from other parts of the world. We often got together and share every week’s happiness staying in Chile. This experience is such an unbelievable one, for I explore different possibilities of myself to survive in a new environment. In addition, I develop my communication skills and abilities to meet and solve challenges. I cherish the friendships with every friend there. Thank you AIESEC for linking the world together and letting me go far away to see a bigger world.

with my dear family


Hiking with other volunteers, we also met Spanish girls who were working here.

with my cute students!


global village (introduction to own countries) with English teachers and some students!

Yiyun Wang

Jeaneas Fan: “Just Thought I Would “Czech” it Out.”

If you asked me six years ago what I was going to do once I graduated, I would never have answered, “Go to Prague and teach English to other university students”. Well, I just came back a week ago from Prague having taught intermediate level English to about 600 uni kids over two semesters through AIESEC. I’m still in a state of wonderment (and reverse culture shock) as I write this. 

I heard about AIESEC from a friend who went on two internships teaching and doing graphic design in South Korea and Taiwan, respectively. His enthusiasm and passion for the different cultural experience in Taiwan was evident when I went to visit him in Taiwan last winter. He was our well versed guide, talking in the local dialect, Mandarin, and leading the way on the public city bikes throughout the city. He also befriended other AIESEC interns from abroad, so he never had a shortage of people to travel around with. Having seen firsthand what AIESEC helped him accomplish I decided to join and see where it would take me; three months later, I got accepted to teach English in Prague with other fellow UBC AIESECers, who I didn’t know prior to my journey, but eventually became my confidants.  

Aside from the gruelling journey to get my long stay visa – I regret nothing from my AIESEC experience in Prague. In Vancouver, I lived my life more or less like a hermit, going out once in a blue moon to attend classes meetings, or parties. My humour was always a little bit off beat and dark, too dark for the sensibilities of North Americans, and so I felt alienated from most groups. However, in Prague, I found my social life flourishing and my humour resonating with the Czechs, including my students. In fact, I used my strange brand of humour to make my lessons memorable and easy to digest. Needless to say, I was gradually shedding my hermit tendencies and that hard shell I’d built up over the years.  

I still remember my first day…I was a nervous wreck since I had a phobia of public speaking, but my students were so surprisingly earnest and attentive that I eased into my teaching style within two weeks. Basically, I taught thirteen 1.5 hour classes to about 600 students over two semesters; we were given a textbook to follow but we had free reign over our teaching methods – my idea of heaven. My lessons consisted of PowerPoint slides with grammar rules illustrated through funny memes followed by a speaking activity. Sometimes, I would even have a spare class to show a movie (i.e. Mean Girls) or teach them about North American culture/holidays (i.e. Halloween).  

The weeks went by so fast and before I knew it we were reviewing in preparation for the exam. But before the review lesson, I opened the class with a Czech speech. In it, I joked (in Czech) that I had wanted to run over to the sink and puke my nervous guts out on the first day of class; at this, my students burst out laughing. I’d like to think that their laughter stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t that nervous wreck of a girl who wanted to hurl in the sink anymore. In short, this experience has helped me boost my confidence level and taught me to trust in my instincts.  

Like my friend, I also met and befriended some locals from attending various AIESEC socials and a conference that took place at an old castle, yes you heard that last bit right. Naturally, I became very close with my AIESEC host, Jana, who not only picked me up from the airport, but travelled all the way to Vienna to get my visa for me! Whenever something didn’t go right, namely with the visa, we would make light of our situation; I still remember waiting in line at the immigration office and cracking jokes while gloomy onlookers gaped at us. Honestly, I don’t know how awry my experience would have went without her reliable and optimistic nature.

During exam period, I only held exams and office hours twice a week, so I got to travel to different European countries over the long weekend. In total, I visited nine countries, some independently, but mostly to meet up with fellow AIESECers. It was an ideal set up, since my friends got acquainted with the culture there before my arrival, I got a cheap/free stay coupled with a more local experience than if I had backpacked Europe as a tourist. Through this Euro trip, I learned a lot about different dialects/accents, and most interestingly, I got a tangible experience of different national characteristics, for example: the passionate Italians; the grounded Germans; and of course, the outwardly reserved but wickedly humourous and open (once you get to know them) Czechs.  

Sure, you might be thinking I can probably get a similar experience through expat communities or meet ups, but in my experience, what sets the AIESEC experience apart is not only the unique professional opportunities, but more importantly, it’s what one AIESECer told me: it’s interacting and learning from people you assume are on the same page as you, people who want to branch out, broaden their perspective of the world; see through stereotypes; and ultimately lead through positive example, as cliché as that may sound.

Karen Wong: “I have a second home in Italy.”


During my first year of university, I have decided to explore my options and to try something new! 
  The reason why I applied for the volunteer program within AIESEC was because I wanted to experience a completely different culture and step outside of my comfort zone doing something I’ve never done before. 

After searching for a program that was suitable for me, I ended up spending six weeks in Turin, Italy living the experience of a lifetime! 
  I have never been to Europe before and it was definitely a new experience for me! My volunteer internship was at an NGO called Mirafiori, which they provided affordable housing for international students. 

 My responsibilities included making promotional material and fundraising for them.
 The entire internship provided me opportunities to learn and grow and when I was able to see my final product, it was extremely rewarding. My exchange to Italy has been one of the most life-changing moments in AIESEC. A specific moment that stood out to me was when I first met my host family. The family greeted me with such warmth and comfort that even though I was away from home, I immediately felt a sense of belonging.


Through all the hardships in my internship my host family has always been there for me. With the love and care that they provided me, I can genuinely say that I have a second home in Italy


Vicky Huang: “Best Decision I’ve Ever Made.”

“Best decision I’ve ever made,” she said.

Kimberly looked ahead with a sparkle in her eyes. I was not sure if she was talking to me or herself. The weight of her words lingered in the air. This was the moment when I decided that I, too, would join AIESEC.

Four months ago in September 2015, I crossed this wish off my bucket list. So far, my AIESEC journey has been exhilarating, fruitful and eye-opening.


AIESEC was my first encounter with B2B sales. I used to work in a tea house and had experience selling tea bags. At AIESEC, we are selling talents, experiences and values, and they are much larger, riskier investments than tea bags. Therefore, I treat AIESEC work almost with a sense of reverence. Do not get me wrong, I do think that selling tea bags is exciting and that contributing to the happy start of someone else’s day with a cup of caffeinated beverage is worthwhile. However, communicating values of youth empowerment and international perspective with companies, knowing that I am playing a part in creating overseas internship opportunities for human beings from the other end of the globe, appeals to me more at this stage. It thrills me to think that I may be able to inspire interest and action in decision makers whose yea or nay can have direct influence over an organization and potentially a future leader’s life.


AIESEC gave me the privilege and courage to reach out to industry professionals. It gave me a legitimate excuse to ask them out for coffee without having to worry that I have little to offer – because I can always talk about the values that AIESEC can provide their companies. I once met up with a journalist to ask for advice on entering the news industry – and, of course, to analyze the benefits that AIESEC can add to her newspaper agency. It turned out that her agency was unable to partner up with AIESEC, but the kind lady graciously offered to cover a story for us on their news feature. The moral of this story is that sometimes you think that you are setting out for one gain, but in the end, two wins find their way to you if you establish a good rapport with your clients. And I should also mention that the number of wins does not stop there if you turn the relationship long-term: The lady forwarded me two internal job postings later on.


AIESEC helped me bridge connection with strangers in the street, literally. On Boxing Day, my AIESEC team went on a social outing to Metrotown. While waiting in line for the fitting room, we started chatting about AIESEC business, using AIESEC jargons. The lady in front of us turned around and revealed to us that she was an AIESEC alumna. Just as we were awestruck by the coincidence, she dropped the second bomb and said that her husband was also an AIESECer. We followed her gaze and saw a man standing next to a pile of sweaters smiling at us. This chance encounter blossomed into two subsequent meetings, during which the couple generously shared with us their insights and stories about AIESEC, work, and life. I would never have got to know them nor listened to their intriguing stories had I not been a part of AIESEC.

“Best decision I’ve ever made,” I said to myself.


Thank you, Kimby, for introducing me to this dazzling world full of magic and opportunities.

(Continued) Rose Aunaetitrakul: “Who lives sees, but who travels sees more.”

As an international student myself studying at UBC, I believe that a huge part of traveling/going on an exchange is learning more about yourself and the world. This is because you are putting yourself in a completely new environment with new people. Everyone’s experience of the internship will be different, and so my experience is only one of the experiences that you may also discover for yourself if you do plan on going to an exchange with AIESEC.

The number one thing that I’ve learned in the AIESEC exchange is to always be hungry for adventure. There is always something new to learn and see. I’ll be honest that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like change too much (even though I have moved a lot throughout my life). But after this exchange, I am becoming more adventurous and willing to try new things than before. You know that saying of “when one door closes, another door will always open”? Any new doors that open for me now, I’m no longer afraid to go through it anymore because who knows what will happen? That new door will most likely lead me to better things, and I don’t want to keep on letting opportunities to pass by me. Even if things don’t turn out right, I know that I will learn something from it and that most importantly, I’ve tried. No more “what ifs”.


While I was volunteering in the city in the Philippines, I and other EP interns took the opportunity of the weekends to go on trips to explore other places in the Philippines. Since we went on a trip almost every single weekend, I felt myself being able to adapt more to the lifestyle in the Philippines. I also felt more comfortable going to new places and trying new things. If I don’t do it now, when will I ever do it? The new things that I’ve tried and places that I went to were: swimming under the waterfalls, snorkeling/island hoping in El Nido, Palawan, exploring a cave, and hiking on the rice fields in Banaue. I had a lot of fun going on all of the trips with other EPs whom I was able to quickly form relationships with. I learned a lot about where they come from and we all created as many memories as we can since we all don’t know when we would see each other again.


Of course, I would not be able to see much if I didn’t have some sort of stable finance first before I went. Since we’re on the topic of traveling, most of you are probably concerned with the finance side of going on exchange. Keep in mind that this is a student-run organization and all of the expenses (accommodation, food, traveling, etc) will be coming out of your pocket. So I strongly advise you to do research on your own first or ask how much the living expenses are wherever you plan to go. If your finances are a bit of a problem (as it was for me) I have two solutions for you! Either one, talk to your parents about it or two, you can work at a part-time job and save up before you go. For me, I worked a lot at my part-time job during the school year and the first two months of summer to help cover my expenses in the Philippines. I didn’t spend a huge amount in the Philippines of course. I learned to budget and took the time to research with other EPs on the expenses of the trips. Trust me, other EPs are also trying to save money as well so you are definitely not alone on that.


I will also advise you to really be as open minded as you can and really get to know other EPs! You will be living with most of them and will also be hanging out with them going to touristy places or just even hanging out during work days. I guarantee you will learn a lot from them as you guys are from different parts of the world. The time frame is really short so make the most of spending time getting to know the AIESECers, the locals there, and also the EPs. They all are in my opinion, the ones who will make your exchange experience more worthwhile and also make it easy for you to weave into the new culture/country you are in.


Most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!


Yours Truly,

Rose Aunaetitrakul

Rose Aunaetitrakul: “Who lives sees, but who travels sees more.”

Hi there! My name is Rose, and I am currently going into my 4th year studying Psychology in UBC. This summer, I went on a 6-week exchange to the Philippines with AIESEC University of Philippines, Diliman. The reason that I decided to go on a 6-week exchange was because I wanted to do something different this summer. Personally, I know that when I travel I would learn a lot more about the world and myself. I was ready to go out again and explore something new. I chose the Philippines mainly because I found the projects that they had were interesting. I have so much to say about my exchange but I will summarize as much as I can.

The Internship

The project that I volunteered in is called Kickstart. Basically what Kickstart is about is we volunteer at different NGOs to get expose to the social issues in the Philippines and also to teach social entrepreneurship to the NGOs as well. The three NGOs that I volunteered in are

  • Jeremiah: A housing shelter for young girls who are victims of battery and sexual abuse. I had a lot of fun interacting with the girls here. We mainly played games to help them learn English and also help out with their homework if they needed it. The girls are so sweet and are so creative! They also taught me how to make these really cute sandal key chains.


  • Grace to Be Born: A maternity and nursery home for pregnant women (most who are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse) of all ages. They are cared for until they give birth. I taught the mothers about my Thai language and culture as they were interested in learning about my nationality. And the mothers in return, taught me Tagalog words.


  • Healing Servants Foundation INC: We volunteered at a school called the Divine Healer Academy of Sorsogon where they educate children who come from families of very low incomes. I had a lot of fun teaching the students and interacting with them as well. I taught grade 5 students how to cup beat and I taught grade 7 Thai language. As for grade 9 and 10. I taught them about my Psychology major and also a dance routine! The students in return taught me some words in Bicol (another Filipino dialect).



Meeting other EPs

Personally, my favorite part about the 6-week exchange was meeting all the other Exchange Participants! We were housed together and lived together. In just 6 weeks, I was able to meet a lot of new people and also made close connections with them as well. I went on a trip to the Philippines every single weekend when I did not work. I was able to see the beautiful side of the Philippines – ranging from seeing volcanoes, swimming in the beaches, to hiking on mountains and rice fields. There were many memories that were formed in just 6 weeks with all the other interns that I won’t ever forget.



In just 6 weeks, I really did adjust living in the Philippines. I knew how to get myself to places using the local transportations of Jeepneys, tricycles, the train systems of MRT and LRT. I also picked up a few words in Tagalog as well that was useful mostly in transportations. But from interacting with the locals here, I’ve learned how happy Filipinos always are even though they do experience a lot of natural disasters. People here are always helping each other and are always are so happy in every kind of situations.


Overall, I would say that I had an amazing time in the Philippines. Since it is a volunteering work experience – don’t expect too much and know that things are always changing. Always be open minded and get yourself out there to meet and get to know as many people as you can because you can learn a lot from the locals and also from all the interns that you will be meeting from that are coming from all over the world. It is one of the summers that I will forever cherish and will never forget.

Christian Chan: Stories Worth Sharing

There is power in creating lasting memories. I went to Vietnam in the summer of 2014 expecting to plan, host and facilitate conferences and workshops, but I ended up gaining an education on what life really meant. A lot of my friends right now are confused about they want to do or haven’t really thought about what they like and are good at. When i went on exchange with AIESEC I was able to take the time to get lost, be scared and STEP OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. The later was mentioned on my whole way in the process of matching to the internship but I never knew what it meant. What it means is to take a chance on people, on circumstances and on yourself. I admit there were times I was worried and confused, but those are the situations I now cherish because I was able to learn so much from that. I always thought creating an impact was a cliche for these type of volunteer positions, but I was dead wrong. A month into the position I was approached by my delegates saying things like: you inspired me, you taught me something I would never forget, you changed my life and you are my goal for the future. Honestly, that was the point where I didn’t see the need to get compensated. The chance to change someone’s life does not come very often and this internship allowed me to do just that. I was able to change 50 people lives. Although it may not have completely, as a first year I can say that my summer was used to adding value to other, but exponentially changing my life. 

The magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone. Do it.

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