Behind the Scenes of an AIESEC Exchange
There’s a lot of behind the scenes work which goes into making an AIESEC exchange happen. It’s the type of challenge which you can step in without knowing much about what’s going on to becoming well acquainted with a stack of skills along the way. Here are three things you might do as an AIESEC member facilitating exchange:
1. Meeting different people
During my first ever stall at university, I never knew how salespeople had the charisma to just start and hold a conversation before booking a deal. I ended up getting plenty of 'no's' and plenty more after that. At last, a blessing in the form of a pleasant passer-by is reeled into what AIESEC exchange is all about and the next thing leads to another and you find yourself being their exchange manager.
2. Widening your worldview
When I started to browse through the AIESEC exchange opportunities available, I could better acknowledge the scope of the issues in each country. When forming partnerships with international entities, I could actually have conversations with local university students there and learn a bit more about the reality and why it is so important for those projects to exist. You can read more about how AIESEC’s projects are working towards tackling world issues aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals here.
3. Being a mentor
Before embarking on a project, there are some important things which exchange participants need to sort out. It’s an exercise in empathy to place yourself in their shoes and connecting their needs with the knowledge that you’ve learnt from your training and experience. Being a mentor comes with a duty to serve, whether it be organising travel logistics, mitigating with international stakeholders, or customising leadership development to the exchange participant.
Other than the skills I’ve picked up as a member, one thing which makes all this hard work worth it is realising the impact that you have helped create in the lives of others. The stories you hear from exchange participants are rich with learnings from genuine feats and failures. Whether they went on a women empowerment project in Colombia, building a social enterprise in Indonesia, to providing education to children in Nepal, you have the back-stage advantage of seeing how day by day the participants develop their leadership.
Here’s a quick message from a few Australian participants who have just completed their AIESEC exchange: