Samy: My “Intensive Life Course” in Germany

“A project manager? This has to be a joke.
And so started probably the best 6 months 
of my life.”

-Samy, an international student from India
and an exchange participant  from AIESEC UBC 
who went for a six-month internship in 
Bamberg, Germany


The process leading up to my internship was both long-winded and rocky. I had little idea of what to expect when I got to the tiny town of Bamberg, Germany for a six-month internship. With rich international travelling experiences, I was used to the life of finding new families and friends in many remote foreign lands. However, Germany was the one captivating place that I haven’t set foot on yet-not until the AIESEC internship opportunity surfaced, and after accepted by the program, I luckily and eventually had a home in Germany to go for a Sunday morning brunch. To be honest, the fact that I am not a German-speaker should have had me petrified about this 6-month internship. Yet, I guess it was the risk taker in me that, for the same reason, found it thoroughly exciting. When I arrived there I was told to be on a project with another fellow exchange participant from India who would too be my roommate. “Another huge challenge!” I thought so because I wasn’t the type of person that made new friends easily. I was soon proved to be wrong. We became good friends and she was a great stabilizing factor for me during the experience. I felt much more confident and less homesick being with someone who had a similar cultural background with me, since there were barely any foreigners in the little town, not to mention the friendly yet overwhelming stops and stares we receivedwhile walking on streets. We went into work the second day after arrival, and, surprisingly, were greeted by people from 15 different countries! That reception was absolutely eye opening and was, without question, an amazing start of my journey.


Before taking the exchange, my impressions about an internship were mainly about errand running, something like coffee buying and printing jobs. However, my first meeting with my boss began with “So you are now the project manager and are responsible for contacting senior executives from our branches in India.” The prospect was daunting and I had no idea if I was even capable of a coffee run without causing massive spillage on my way back. A project manager? This has to be a joke.

And so started probably the best 6 months of my life. I gained the professional skills needed for an international project and often managed to tackle unexpected issues. Most importantly, I now realize that I have more to offer than I could ever imagine, and even with those failures on the way there was always something to learn. The exchange was a wonderful experience in terms of travelling too. I made time for travels almost every weekend and, at the last month of my internship, I was able to explore Portugal, Spain and Italy. What’s more, I met some truly fantastic people along the way. They constantly inspired me to keep pushing my limits and almost every encounter would bring me a new life lesson. This internship was a concentration of what I would have learnt typically in 3 years–all condensed into 6 months. It was an “intensive life course”—that is probably the best way I can put it.


I do hope that I will be able to have another exchange experience like this soon, and, if not, I am completely satisfied with the chance of having had even one. It truly was the time of my life so far and I recommend anyone who wants a life-changing experience to step on it and to push their own limits. For me, there’s little out there that works better than an experience like this in an unknown foreign land.


"There are many different ways to live life, 
and one is not neces-sarily better than the 
other. It just depends on what you want
for yourself."

-Ryan Leung, a recently graduated 
Sociology major who was also a member of 
AIESEC UBC and an exchange participant in 
AIESEC Global Citizen program.



I was a recent Sociology graduate from UBC in May of 2014 and I was part of AIESEC for about a year. Although already been on a 6-month Go Global exchange before in Sweden, I still decided to go on an AIESEC exchange myself after graduation, so I ended up having a 6-week internship in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Since I worked in AIESEC as a member, I had a general idea of how it worked and of all the possible positives and negatives throughout the exchange, and one thing I definitely recognize during the process is the importance of keeping an open mind. Things may not work as you wish but you need to learned to take them as they go, because they are all part of the experience.



I worked with two other AIESEC trainees from Colombia and China/Australia in a NGO located in a poor and dangerous area. The program was called “Smarketing” and we were basically doing various marketing duties from fundraising to event organization. To accomplish these activities was logistically difficult because of the limited resources and time we had, so we almost did work from the ground up. We made an overview of what we could improve in the NGO; we changed and translated part of their website/Facebook page into English in order to attract potential foreign audience and possibly receive international donations; we also planned an event for the staff/kids during our last week there. This exchange was a good learning experience but in terms of language barrier, resource limitation and the 6-week time constraint, I found it challenging and improvable as well.



One of the great things about AIESEC exchange, no matter what city and local AIESEC chapter one picks up, is the possibility of meeting people from countries all around the world. Mine in particular had brought me incredible opportunities to meet other trainees from different backgrounds. Also thanks to the regularly scheduled social events such as dinners and weekend trips, I had such an amazing time in Porto Alegre and made great long-lasting friendships which couldn’t have been achieved without these events. It just makes all the difference when you work and live with other like-minded people and bond with them over the new experience.


Brazilian Culture

I was definitely experiencing a major culture shock when first I arrived. Brazilian life was different. The differences ranged from the threat of danger in everyday life (not that much, but more than Canada) to openness of one’s sexuality and to the relaxed mindset that people have. One thing that impressed me the most was the way they expressed their passion for life. They value relationships, dancing, music and socializing much more than I am used to. They often live in the moment rather than having things planned out to the exact minute, or even hour. This experience made me realize that there are many different ways to live life, and one is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on what you want for yourself. After living in Brazil, I hope to take back with me parts of their culture and incorporate it into my own personality and the way I treat others.



I highly suggest anyone reading this article go on an AIESEC exchange. It may not be that organized at times or may not be precisely what you expect, but the experience is undoubtedly worthwhile and possibly life-changing. I made life-long friends and memories from just from a short time abroad. It is what you make of it.

Try and try again: Coastal Conference 2015 – Jaime Ysmael

"Failure is just a phase. You must exhaust all 
possibilities, try out all the different ways 
and accept all responsibilities."

-Jaime Ysmael, a third-year student in Sauder 
school of business and also team leader in 
AIESEC UBC Incoming Exchange portfolio.
Coastal 2015
Coastal 2015

Coastal Conference was an amazing conference. Not only did it run with few hiccups, it also had very memorable experiences that I will remember for a long time. As great as the conference was, I can’t rank it as my #1 because of my WRC (Western Regional Conference)-I equally enjoyed my experiences in both conferences but for different reasons.

I enjoyed WRC because it was my first conference. Everyone remembers his or her firsts really well and same for me. I had the chance to meet so many wonderful people and was inspired to put more efforts into AIESEC. I wouldn’t be a TL (team leader) today if I hadn’t gone to the conference. I might not even choose to stay in this amazing organization if I hadn’t had the strong connection developed through that conference. WRC is also the conference that exposed me to the true AIESEC culture, which is so unique that it is almost impossible to find in any other student organizations.

Coastal was a different experience. I wish it could last longer so that I would have been able to meet more people and write more sugarcubes (special notes that delegates can send to others during the conference). If there were one thing that I regret at Coastal, it would be that I wasn’t able to stay up late and bond more with delegates from my LC and other LCs. However, I love Coastal just as much as WRC because Coastal invoked something important in me.


Coming into Coastal, I was going through some tough times. As a Team Leader for ICX (Incoming Exchange portfolio), I had gone through team reorganization as members from my team left. Not only that, I was also disappointed in myself for my lack of activity in the past weeks. That was basically a rough start of my term to say the least. When I heard that all the members from my new team were attending the conference, I was pumped up. I kept on looking back on my first conference, and I wanted them to have similar experiences. As for my own personal development, I wanted to learn to improve as a more experienced member as opposed to a new one. I wanted to reflect on what I had done so far and on what I can do to move forward.

Jaime discussion
Case-based group discussion

I immediately had that rush when the conference began, but I took a more active role this time during all the events. Comparing to WRC, I felt that I enjoyed the culture more as I felt a closer bond with the organization. Seeing all the people I had met before brought back good memories from the past. As the first day ended, I felt at home already. AIESEC really helps you feel like you’re part of a family and that is what is so amazing about it. Also, unwilling to see a repetition of what happened to my previous team, I spent the first night bonding with my new team and tried to develop a closer relationship with them. That was an important point for me-I wanted to have them feel at home and become more engaged in AIESEC.

As the second day came, I felt rejuvenated. The day focuses a lot more on learning and I indeed learned a lot about myself and about how to contribute to AIESEC. I just want to emphasize how amazing the Facis (Facilitators), the agenda team and the chair of the conference were as they made this day a great experience for both the new members and the old ones. In my specific track, my favorite moment was the discussion we had with Sam (the Chair), Cam (former Local Committee President of Victoria) and Exchange Participants from abroad. Their experiences enlightened me and pushed me to improve myself. As the day passed by, I became happier as I saw how my team had been growing since the conference started. I could see how they were stepping out of their comfort zones and I could see the potential that they had for the future. I felt like a parent seeing my children growing in front of my very eyes. As night rolled along, my connection with my team grew even more-the photo booth and the karaoke sessions made me feel extremely lucky to have them as my members. I saw the passion they had and felt confident that I was able to reach out to them, and that was the moment in this conference that my goals of knowing and improving myself as well as empowering my members were accomplished.

My thoughts were confirmed the following day during the simulation session. My team outperformed me and they really pushed the envelope in trying to get as far as they could. I was really proud. After the simulation, I reflect again during the meditation session. It was here that I was able to truly think back to what Coastal had taught me personally in terms of my goals. It was here that I realized how important persistence is in achieving the goals. In fact, it was so important that a few days later, I decided to write a poem about it. I would like to share it all with you:

I’ve fallen, I’ve lost, and I’ve failed

I’ve disappointed the people around me

Those close to me have bailed

There’s nothing in me for others to see


But I’m never going to give up

I’ll keep trying again and again

I won’t ever even think to stop

I know that it’s just a matter of when


I know failure is just a phase

You must exhaust all possibilities

And try out all the different ways

And accept all responsibilities


I’ve risen up, I’ve won, and I’ve succeeded

I was crazy enough to try

All my fears in life are now shed

I’m no longer living a lie

Jaime and his team members

At the end of the conference, as we were saying our goodbyes, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I feel like I was a renewed person and I was able to reach out to my team. I also felt that I had experienced a change in myself for the better. There was so much that I wish I could have said. I remember in WRC, I tried to write a sugarcube for everyone. Unfortunately, I could not do that this time. However, I want all of you to know that I joined AIESEC because of you, the people. For those who haven’t been able to go to a conference yet, I implore you to go to the next one. My favorite part of AIESEC is seeing others grow, so I want to see you all grow alongside with me in our journey through AIESEC. Let’s all together make 2015 a great year for AIESEC!

Don’t let fear make us afraid: National Congress 2015 – Rainbow Xu

"Being a responsible and passionate AIESEC member, 
I am determined to take actions, take initiatives, 
and take ownership of the   opportunities I am 
given, and devote whole-heartedly to AIESEC."

-Rainbow Xu,a first-year Commerce student and a 
member in AIESEC UBC Incoming Exchange portfolio.
National Congress 2015
National Congress 2015

Attending AIESEC National Congress (NC) was absolutely a great way to begin the new year of 2015. I have learned various lessons, met so many different people across Canada and internationally, and had a lot of fun working and dancing with them.

I would like to share my experiences about the NC 2015, not only what I had been through, but also what I gained from it and what impacted me the most from this congress, and how it changed the way I think about AIESEC conferences and AIESEC as a whole.

As a new member, I initially chose to attend the NC because I wanted to learn more AIESEC specific skills and knowledge, so that I could perform better and contribute more to my portfolio and LC (Local Commitee) upon my return.

In the beginning, I thought the NC was only a place where I could improve myself, however, as the NC proceeded, my perception of the NC started to change gradually.

First of all, I was fascinated by the roll call time where everyone would dance spontaneously despite the lack of sleep. In addition, I really appreciated the AIESEC organizational culture, team spirit, passion and the “work hard and play hard” attitude which I have never experienced before.

one of AIESEC's fun traditions
Roll Call-AIESEC’s dancing tradition

This is the selfie I took right before I left the venue to the airport, and I felt lost when I realized that I had to say goodbye to everyone at the NC.

Even the corporates, which also participated in the NC, had to admit that they were amazed by our AIESEC spirit, and told us that we were probably the only organization that they know of that has such an amazing dancing culture and enthusiastic team spirit!

I also gained more understanding about our AIESEC organizational culture through participating in different activities-for examples, workshops (team building, leadership development), sessions (AIESEC Globally, AIESEC for Canada), functional tracks (specifically ICX, which means Incoming Exchange), and simulations, which I will not go into too much details because words can not simply describe the excitement.

I finally realized how little myself was comparing to the whole LC; how little our LC was comparing to the AIESEC Canada, and how little AIESEC Canada was comparing to the AIESEC International. Yet I also realized that the entire AIESEC International would not be successful without any one of us. As AIESEC team members, no matter what role we play, our contribution and spirit are the fundamental components of AIESEC. We are the pillars of AIESEC.

I realized my responsibilities as a member of AIESEC are not simply for myself, my portfolio, my LC, but also for AIESEC as a whole. Everything that I do in AIESEC is not only for benefiting my personal development but also for developing AIESEC, from which I also found out my ambition to make AIESEC culture/spirit well-known, and be appreciated by the rest of the world. Being a responsible and passionate AIESEC member, I am determined to take actions, take initiatives, and take ownership of the opportunities I am given, and devote whole-heartedly to AIESEC.

I have shared my AIESEC ambition, and my first step to achieve that is to take ownership, now I would like to ask you the same question that we were asked at the NC:

What are your AIESEC goals/ambitions for 2015, and what are the bottlenecks that may prevent us from accomplishing those goals/ambitions?

Finally, I would love to share with all of you a quote that I was most impressed by from the NC:

“Don’t let fear make us afraid!”

Don't let fear make us afraid!

Thank you for all the EB (Executive Board) members and Madeline, who have been so supportive and inclusive to me during the NC! Also, thank you so much my AIESEC family, and may I wish us all make the most out of our 2015!

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.


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.


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.


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!




“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


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


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.