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.
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.
Around 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.
I 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.