To describe my experience in short will not be an easy task, so I’ll try to keep it short. Throughout my university life, AIESEC has shaped my perspective of the world with an undulating form of excitement. It all started with my first year, when I first came into UBC. Here I met LCP (Local Committee President) 2010-2011 Claudia, who was at the time an undergraduate leader, while at the same time organizing the AIESEC Alumnight event. Through her, I gathered a sense of leadership and also commitment to a goal: To lead a positive impact on society.
As my first year went by, I started gathering a network of friends in my classes, residence and through AIESEC. The way how I went about it was to try and integrate these three different networks together into one – with the recruitment of membership into AIESEC. This later led to most of my friends becoming an AIESECer. During the middle of my first year, a leadership position arose, which gave me the opportunity to kick-start my professional career in AIESEC, which was to become the Vice President of Finance. This position enabled me to strengthen not only my skills in the business world, but also create a new bond with the executive team. A year passed by pretty quickly, and soon I became well-known VP for being the youngest member around (I was 18 at the time.) Ambitious as it may seem, I was ecstatic to end my term with the goal of financial sustainability, increasing our assets by 20% and revenue stream by over 30%. However, my final goal was to move into the exchange phase of AIESEC.
This process turned out to be a gruelling but rewarding item as it took me close to 6 months of interviewing and negotiating with organizations to accept me as an intern. One thing I learnt was that perseverance pays off, and that the more you want something, the more it is you have to try. My matching process led me to clinching interviews in Germany, Japan, Shanghai, Szechuan and many more. This gave me the courage to build up not only my resume, but my confidence in perfecting my interview techniques. Finally, I was accepted into an internship that suited me within two weeks, an internship in Hong Kong!
So there I was on exchange in the city of lights in Hong Kong. During the end of my 2nd year, I passed as a management trainee under AIESEC. I was accepted by one of the local chapters in Hong Kong to be a teaching assistant for business communications. My position was to collaborate with all 5 interns to handle all logistical materials for the class, as well as create new workshops for the business students to gain confidence and get more interactive in different social situations. Each intern brought about a new perspective, as we came in from the UK, Germany, US and Canada. Our work is to establish a strong English-centric communication mindset for young Hong Kong students to gather confidence in conducting interviews and practising their presentation styles. One thing I have found out is that the job task is very flexible, and that the work I will be doing is very creative and dependent on what I believe is suitable for the students. I also applied a lot of my business knowledge through coaching a couple of business case competition teams alongside the professor I am working with. These aspects of my job will help enhance my skills not only in teaching, but also on my professional ability to work cohesively with others in an organization. The things you learnt during your internship sometimes reflect a keen understanding of not only the business subject matters, but also the application of it.
As a BCom student of Sauder, I like to recreate the atmosphere where students can interact with myself, and also establish a strong bond in order to clarify anything that they do not understand. Also, I encourage students to be aware of the corporate social responsibility factor, which underpins a lot of today’s business. The world is becoming more and more interdependent as we know it; this can be absolutely seen in the Asian society context, where people are underpinned with the notion that the dependency of both East and West are crucial to our economic successes. Learning these lessons from the Dean of the School of Business at HKBU has been my pleasure and privilege in my lifetime. Sometimes, all it takes is a single action, which will lead to the reaction!
Another adventure that I would add to the AIESEC experience list would be my trip to Vietnam, which I took off on my own personal account. During my stay in Hong Kong, I was invited by the National Vice President of AIESEC Hong Kong at the time, to join in the national Asia Pacific Leadership and eXchange Development Seminar (APXLDS), which was a conference to unite all the AIESECers in the Asia Pacific region. Over 250 delegates from over 26 countries showed up and I acted as the only representative for AIESEC Canada at the time. This was one of the most memorable achievements of my life, as not only was I the only delegate/intern coming from Canada, but also the fact that I was greeted by the consulate general of Canada, who happened to show up at the beginning of the conference and to see what AIESEC was about. From this experience, I really started to see how large this organization really was on a global scale, and made me wonder about the next steps in my path (whether in AIESEC or not).
After I came back from this trip, I returned back to Hong Kong to finish up my term as an intern, in the meantime planning on more travel plans before my return trip home. Along the way, I visited many other AIESECers from the neighboring Asia countries, who were extremely nice hosts in their respective nations and still remain my friends ever since. Being back in Asia certainly brought some sentiments on what the future holds for me, as being born in this region I had always felt a sense of belonging here. Hence, after being abroad for over 10 months, I returned home to finish up my degree in marketing and international relations, with a keen interest on development, economics and a much broader concept of the world.
I leave you now with one final advice I would like to give to those who read this, which is that despite how hard it may seem to get a job these days, don’t fret. Life is all about challenges, so take the game to it, because that’s the only way you can find your way! This has been my story in AIESEC, but it’s not the only one…make it yours too!