Developing a network of contacts while at university not only assists with your personal but also your professional development. Networking can help you find jobs that aren’t advertised, give you that edge when working on a group assessment and can generally give you a support group to lean on when the stress of studying is getting you down.
By far the easiest way to grow your network is by joining a student society and it’s helpful because this method of networking is undoubtedly the most fun. However, not many societies give you the opportunity to develop an international network in a lasting way. AIESEC is an international student-led organisation which gives students this opportunity to not only connect but also work with like-minded students in over 126 countries around the world.
From my experience with AIESEC in QUT I can tell you that you begin working with international and domestic students from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds from Day One. As you cooperate to complete team-building exercises and brainstorm solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems you have no choice but to learn to interact effectively with everyone around you. This is sometimes a small step or a giant leap in any one person’s social skills but I have consistently seen the majority of students jump at the chance to get involved with AIESEC and develop their social network.
Not only do you get the chance to work with people from different backgrounds but your work with AIESEC will also require you to engage with a variety of students seeking to go overseas on an AIESEC exchange. The reason I say “engage” is that this experience requires more than just interacting with another student but really getting to know them, their background, their interests, their concerns, their goals and many other factors to find the right program for them.
Through your day-to-day operations as part of AIESEC at your university you will discover that you quickly build up a formidable social network. However where AIESEC can give you that edge over other societies is through your regular meetings and conferences with other AIESECers from around the Asia-Pacific Region and to a certain extent the entire world. I was often required to communicate and coordinate students working with AIESEC overseas to ask questions about the programs they were offering and to monitor the quality of a QUT student’s experience overseas. This international connection is truly what makes AIESEC a unique organisation to work with.
I also attended conferences in person where I met with students from all around Australia to discuss the national and global strategies of AIESEC and how I could make a difference. These were often intense fun and information-filled experiences that really embodied the work hard, play hard motto of many of the friends I made during my time with AIESEC in QUT. I always came away from these conferences invigorated and motivated to continue making an impact through my work with AIESEC.
Being a part of AIESEC feels like you’re working for a international organisation….and that’s because you are! I don’t know of any other organisations that are designed to help you learn and grow while also letting you step into managerial positions that require a level of international coordination. AIESEC’s learning-by-doing culture helps you develop yourself and an international network with the knowledge that your fellow AIESECers are going through the same experience you are and are there to support you.
I can guarantee you my experience at university wouldn’t be the same without AIESEC and I can imagine what my experience would have been like without it.