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How We All Ended Up Joining the Largest Youth Run Organisation in the World

When I first found out that AIESEC in Melbourne was recruiting, it was 3 hours before the application was due. Realising that my first semester of University practically only consisted of eating, sleeping, and classes, I decided to apply with the mentality of enriching my university experience. 

Fast forward 3 days, after going through an assessment centre and an interview, I was officially a member of AIESEC. I remember feeling slightly confused and overwhelmed at the scope of AIESEC. At that time, I had no idea I was joining something that would end up defining my university life. I had no idea that 2 years later, I would still be a part of AIESEC writing this particular article…

You probably hear this kind of story a lot - the type where someone joins something on a whim, realises they connect to the purpose/vision and then they stay for an extended period of time.

That was just my story. But with AIESEC present in 13 universities around Australia, here are a few more stories we would like to share about how we all ended up joining AIESEC.

Ellika Cabreros - Managing Director of AIESEC in QUT

When I got to Uni, I was one of those keen bean freshies that signed up to like 8 clubs on the first day of 'O' Week. The last club I joined was actually AIESEC and I remember being so drawn to this organisation because of how genuine and passionate the AIESEC Member at the stall was when he pitched AIESEC.

The person at the Stall was actually Tristan Vue, who has become one of my greatest friends today. I could not be more grateful for that single conversation on the first day of 'O' Week.

Sarah Lin - Director of Finance & Governance of AIESEC in UNSW

I first heard about AIESEC through one of my friends - she had posted a Facebook post about her experience with AIESEC. It was 3 hours until applications were due and I absolutely knew I had to go for it.

For my first 3 years in university I had a few friends, was working towards a degree, going to uni and coming home. I tried my hardest to maximise my time at uni but nothing seemed to stick.

During my darkest times, I stumbled upon AIESEC, and it gave me everything I ever hoped for. It gave me a platform to challenge myself constantly, friends with whom I could share everything with (good times and bad), and a real purpose.

AIESEC is unlike anything I've ever done, and it's easily the best thing I've done at university. It taught me that if you're scared about doing something, it means you're finally challenging yourself to do something great.

Tom Williams - Director of Talent Management, AIESEC in Macquarie

I first heard of AIESEC at an O week stall in 2015, having seen AIESEC as an exchange organisation. I was originally attracted to AIESEC because of my desire to go on an exchange and gain greater cross cultural understanding.

It wasn't until I found out more about AIESEC's business model and wanted to put skills learnt through my studies to the test.

While I did end up going on exchange, AIESEC is far more than just an exchange organisation.

It is a community that binds like minded people together and I have learnt many professional and personal lessons from the members around me and through my positions in the organisation.

Sharleen Lay - Managing Director of AIESEC in Melbourne

It's a bit embarrassing when I tell this story. But when I first joined AIESEC, I thought it was volunteering in Australia... I literally did not even realise my mistake until my first induction day when they started talking about overseas exchange and omg I was so confused - I thought it was just another student club that did volunteering.

But when AIESEC started talking about how and why they did what they do; when they started talking about peace and fulfilment, about striving for a better world and what that meant to different people, my confusion and uncertainty melted away.

I knew I was in the right organisation because my values aligned completely to AIESEC - and I haven't looked back since.

None of us joined AIESEC with absolute clarity on what we were getting ourselves into… and that’s completely fine. We all gave AIESEC a chance by overcoming the initial confusion and uncertainty and through this process, found an organisation that resonates so deeply within all of us. Fast forward again and we have all ended up in different places/roles and created many more wonderful stories along the way.

These are only a few of the many stories from AIESEC in Australia. Start your AIESEC story today at aiesecaustralia.org/movement

Isabelle Gao

You could call Isabelle a bit of an “adrenaline junkie”... crazy about epic roller coasters and insane bungee jumps. While that is true, she is a current University of Melbourne student, toughing out a 4 year course in Commerce and Japanese. There is nothing Isabelle would enjoy more than simply reading a good book while drinking a nice matcha latte.