Is AIESEC volunteering really that useful
AIESEC is an international organization run by students. It is a 67 year old organization that is represented in 120 countries. The purpose of this organization is the personal development of young people. The members are involved in international projects where they can gain experience. You also have the opportunity to improve academically. AIESEC has several programs through which students can obtain a scholarship or do an internship.
I had the pleasure of speaking to two AIESEC members because I wanted to understand what this organization means to them. These members are Teodor Pătraşcu and Mădălina Tătaru. Both are freshmen at the University of Jassy.
How did you find out about AIESEC and why did you decide to join?
Mădălina: I heard about AIESEC from a student at my high school. Then I heard great things about it in college. I thought it was an experience that I would like to try.
Teodor: At the beginning of the faculty year, I had a great desire not to be an ordinary student. A student who goes to faculty and then goes home and sleeps and does this routine for three years. I was looking for something, I didn't know what, something that would help me develop further. So I asked a lot of people and someone told me about AIESEC. I filled out a registration form and and I became a volunteer from one of the largest organizations in the world. To be honest, I volunteered for selfish reasons. I wanted to improve, learn to communicate and interact with the people around me in order to lose my fears and become the best version of myself. Of course, the vision of the organization was also a strong motive, but at the time I couldn't understand it.
How many projects have you been involved in and which projects did you particularly like?
Mădălina: I've been involved in a lot of events, but the most active time for it has only just begun. So far I have focused on developing and educating myself in order to better experience AIESEC.
Teodor: There are numerous projects in our organization, from programs like Global Volunteer or Global Entrepreneur to programs that encourage volunteering abroad, work to solve global problems, or projects that can help you start a business. The project in which I am involved as Vice President Enabler & Customer Care is called Discover. This project focuses on non-formal education for the education of children. We bring volunteers from abroad. These activities help children improve their English and themselves, and they are open to multiculturalism.
Can you describe your AIESEC experience? How has it changed you? What skills have you acquired?
Mădălina: AIESEC enables you to test your limits, fail and rise by learning more from this experience. It made me realize that I was ready to start my career in real life, and I met people I learned from. AIESEC shapes daily life; I have a rather non-conformist way of thinking and am more open to more challenges than before. The organization taught me to take life as such and enjoy every experience. At AIESEC, together with my team, we send people for internships on the most unforgettable journey of their lives. I love to see the expressions on the faces of everyone who can fly on such an opportunity and how they can test their skills with AIESEC. AIESEC also gave me the chance to become a trainer. I have the opportunity to prepare for such opportunities in real life and I am fulfilling a dream at the same time. I talk to people and convey useful information that can change perspectives and form opinions.
Teodor: In eight months my experience at AIESEC developed from one level to the next. At first I was introverted, scared, and especially confused. I didn't understand why people are so nice, so sensitive to strangers as we are. I was embarrassed going to headquarters and making friends with people because I thought there was some hierarchy so people with "positions" wouldn't want to talk to me or treat me with superiority. Nothing would be wrong anymore. From the beginning I was encouraged to talk, say what I think, get feedback and give. There is no inequality in AIESEC: We support each other, we grow together. I could talk a lot about the skills I have acquired within the organization. In addition to soft skills, I acquired marketing skills, learned about programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, created contracts such as a meeting with a potential partner, made Facebook ads and much more. AIESEC, these eight months have changed me enormously. I am much more aware of what I want, I have escaped many fears, I know people from whom I learn something every day. Thanks to AIESEC, I became less superficial and learned what is really important.
How is the atmosphere in AIESEC and how much time do you spend there?
Mădălina: The people are extraordinary, open and have no prejudices. To be honest, I feel like I am in my family because I don't have to hide behind a mask. We have weekly meetings, but each department has plenty of time to do their job.
Teodor: The atmosphere is one of the reasons why I love what I do. In addition, a mission that I consider noble is what the organization means to me. Here I have found people whom you can trust and rely on. People to hang out with. In AIESEC we learned that there is nothing wrong with showing your love for people, that there is nothing wrong with showing that you are vulnerable, that you are weak, and that there is nothing wrong with complaining about frustrations of any kind , etc. We go to conferences, go to town with them, work with them, solve problems together, these things unite people like nothing else. Since I love being part of AIESEC, I don't mind devoting most of my time to them, so I would appreciate 6-8 hours a day that I spend in the organization.
What hobbies do you have and how does it affect your life? Would you like to stay in contact with the association in the future and take your professional and personal plans into account?
Mădălina: I absolutely like any activity that doesn't limit me, because I'm always looking for new skills and passions. AIESEC allowed me to do that. I am passionate about people because I am interested in both cultures and foreign languages, these are usually things that bring us together. I want to be part of AIESEC as much as possible and even contribute to the development of future members who are at the beginning of the journey.
Teodor: My hobbies are mainly activities within the organization. Most of my friends are from AIESEC, so the line that separates my personal life from my volunteering is pretty blurry. From a professional perspective, I still haven't found my calling, so I can't answer this question. But I can safely say that I will keep in touch with the club. We have a special department for relations with alumni, former members of the organization who help us. I would very much like to share with the organization what it has given me. Whenever I can, I will always support AIESEC.
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