I often write about topics I am personally involved, but this program is especially close to my heart. When I first met the name of AIESEC on the posters at the university, the word „foreign” grabbed my attention. So I decided to visit the info evening where I learned that AIESEC is an international student-run organization operating in about 110 countries. It offers volunteer and internship opportunities all around the world. I liked the idea so much that I decided to be part of it, so first as a volunteer, later on as a member of the organization, I gained a wealth of experience.
But let's start at the beginning! What is this organization really about? AIESEC is run by students, and the biggest benefits of the membership are the experience in different fields and the networking, both on professional and personal level, inside and outside your country as well. It offers an opportunity for students to explore and develop their potential abilities and skills. Candidates are expected to internships mostly in the field of marketing, management and English teaching, from a half year period up to two years. Brazil, India, Turkey, China and Germany offer the most opportunities. In the frame of volunteer work there are also professional programs like marketing tasks or web developing. It is possible to apply for intercultural volunteer programs, which means mainly the presentation of your own culture in a foreign country. The third form of volunteering is seeking solutions for the problems of society, so here the applicants can choose to work e.g. in an orphans house or in a retirement home. Volunteers are welcome anywhere in the world and they can actually choose from programs of 110 counties.
Orsi Fülöp, a core member of AIESEC Pécs, took part in a 7 weeks volunteer program in Vilnius, Lithuania. She worked with four other volunteers together, beside the country presentations they taught about the importance of extracurricular activities, leadership and effective learning methods. Orsi thinks that her English skills have never been improved so much before. She suggests everyone, that „...instead of a language course, this program is more worth to pay for it, it is much more intensive. In addition, you can meet many foreign students.” Orsi made friends among others from China, Georgia, Indonesia, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands and Brazil, and she got to know plenty of interesting cultures. Furthermore, she will never forget the love she received from her students. She feels that she „...could have an effect on the children and left traces in the schools”.
Who would like to gain a little experience abroad, it is worth to get in touch with a local AIESEC committee 2-3 months before the planned travel. They provide a helping hand to the application, and follow the youth's way through the whole internship. Besides a fluency in English and the program fee, all you need is open-mindedness and motivation. Furthermore, it is possible to get information from former interns, volunteers about the chosen country and about the traditions.
If you desire not only to go abroad, but also to spend your free time useful and in an inspiring environment during the university years, you can also join the work of a local committee. Currently, AIESEC is operating at 12 Hungarian Universities. Plenty of trainings, workshops help the professional development of the members, and the common programs, camps and conferences support their social life. The “language” of AIESEC is English, so some local, but all national and international conferences take place in English.
It is interesting to note that the organization celebrated its 65th anniversary last year, and among the members were Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger as well. Nevertheless, neither presidential nor rock star ambitions are necessary to join the organization. It is enough to be open-minded and want to be seen and marked out from the thousands of others having the same diploma.
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