AIESEC is a global platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential. We are the world’s largest non-political, independent, not-for-profit organization run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. Our members are interested in world issues, leadership and management. AIESEC does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national/social origin.
Since we were founded, we have engaged and developed over 1,000,000 young people who have been through an AIESEC experience. The impact of our organization can be seen through our alumni who represent business, NGO and world leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Martti Atisaari of Finland.
We are a global network of young leaders under the age of 30 who strive to better themselves and the communities around them. We are passionate about world issues, leadership development, cultural understanding and experiential learning.
Global Citizen is an intensive international volunteer abroad experience that enables you to work on projects that impact social issues. Through this we empower communities by developing the people and enabling them to develop a more sustainable and healthy future.
Through this programme, AIESEC provides young students an opportunity to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills through international internships mainly on social issues which will help them enrich their education, challenge their world view and help them gain a unique combination of multi-cultural, social and entrepreneurial experience during the formative years of their lives.
I spoke to Ronisha Sanjana, a 20-year-old B.A. student studying at K.C. College in Mumbai, about pursuing an internship in Cairo, Egypt via AIESEC.
Tell us about your student exchange internship. What was your experience like?
I have always wanted to visit Egypt (Cairo) since I was a kid. And I got the right opportunity at the right time. Hearing about a crazy opportunity like this, I couldn’t wait to experience it. I knew it was sudden and it sounded crazy to leave everything and vanish from all the studying but trust me, I did not regret it one bit.
Having never been overseas, I went to a completely strange land, met new faces, experienced a new language and a different culture; that strange land turned into my second home and the new faces became family. After I returned I was the same person with a completely different perspective on life. I was back to the same routine with tons of new friends from all around the globe and memories to cherish forever.
What were some of the major challenges you faced while working abroad?
The language was a bit of a problem. Our internship was based on photography and graphic designing so we had to travel all around Egypt. The truth being that 85% of the locals speak only Arabic, it was a bit difficult to communicate. But we had our fellow AIESECers who taught us basic Arabic and we were good to go.
Why should students go for this kind of exchange? What makes it different from a normal trip?
One cannot compare an AIESEC exchange with just another random trip. This organization provides a platform for students where it gives us ultimate freedom. In that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself, you learn and explore. “Living Diversity” is an AIESEC value and it completely lives up to it. And hence, when you go for an exchange you will not be completely alone out there; you will meet students from all around the world. For those two months you will be living and travelling with them. They will be like family to you. I thank AIESEC for giving me such a great opportunity.
What advice would you give to somebody who is planning on pursuing an internship abroad via AIESEC?
Go for it. Don’t even think twice. An experience like this should not be missed. You will learn, explore and discover in just a span of two months. You will come back a responsible person. There are 126 countries. Choose your own destination; pack your bags and leave!