One of the few organizations making a buzz inside my campus is AIESEC. For much of my stay in Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), I puzzled about what AIESEC does or what it stood for until friends of mine joined and shared their stories with me.
For people who don’t know what AIESEC is, they would perceive it as an organization wherein connections are made to ensure easy employment. While much of it seems true, the people I interviewed seem to say it’s much more than that.
AIESEC is a global organization that caters to young people, providing them with the means to explore and develop leadership skills in a global platform. AIESEC can be found in over 126 countries and has over 100,000 members globally.
Given the huge networks, AIESEC is decentralised through local help member committees throughout the globe. The help member committees are further divided to local committees, either situated in cities or universities.
Here in the Philippines, universities, like AdMU, function as local committees. Nikki Bito-on, the Vice President for Expansion of AIESEC-AdMU says the Ateneo community has 100 members, with more expecting to join this August as the new school year sets in.
AIESEC-AdMU alumna Mita Veloso, who used to be an Organising Committee President of AIESEC-AdMU says it’s the leadership exposure they offer that give them a strategic advantage over the other organizations inside the campus.
Veloso says that she was given better opportunities to find leadership training in AIESEC-AdMU compared to other organizations. The opportunities are limitless since members can join internships abroad and experience the diversity of other cultures.
After attending the International Youth Leadership Conference (IYLC) held last March, I met another person with the AIESEC experience, Joaquin Malolos. He went to Italy to intern through AIESEC Bari. Joaquin described the experience as “solid.”
Although there were challenges such as language barriers and the need to make new friends,
the internship made him more resilient and helped him learn to live on his own. When asked about the advantages it brought to him, he says it was great personal growth.
If you need more convincing as to why you should try AIESEC out, Bito-on says AIESEC Ateneo’s alumni have been very successful in their careers. Bito-on mentioned that some of the alumni have become CEOs and attained key positions in society.
The reason behind that is the organization itself is built upon their core values of Activating Leadership, Demonstrating Integrity, Living Diversity, Enjoying Participation, Striving for Excellence, and Acting Sustainably.
Veloso also says the support they get from the alumni of AIESEC is overwhelming, even for her as an alumni since there are monthly sessions for alumni that provide you with an avenue to grow further. At the end of the day, Veloso says “It is the leadership that matters most rather than the connections you get from AIESEC.”
Experience, growth, travel, connections, leadership – if you want all of these in one go, try out an internship abroad with AIESEC.
*Photo from IYLC 2015