The Unique Benefits of Volunteering Abroad

Lately there have been countless discussions about the benefits of volunteering and about the benefits of traveling. But what happens when you put the two of them together? What happens when you don’t only travel but you dive into a new culture? When you have to work with volunteers from 10 or 20 different countries?

Well, this kind of experience doesn’t offer you just a random range of benefits but it changes you fundamentally. It challenges you and it makes you strive to be at your best.

So what exactly makes these volunteering abroad experiences so unique?

While volunteering, you will face events that will challenge your mindset

An internship abroad will give you the chance to travel to new places, make new friends, make new memories and learn newskills. But it also challenges you; it teaches you first hand what intercultural communication really is; it will challenge your mindset and it will help you become more openminded and more culturallyaware.

“I’ve worked on the project with people from Ukraine, Russia, Bahrain, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Portugal, Argentina, Germany and USA. I now feel that student exchange programs are crucial in getting to know so many different nationalities at once. It’s never too late to learn new things. The awesome experience has just taught me that life is not all about yourself, it’s about you in a society and how you adapt to it.”  – Jaya, on her internship in Ukraine

Volunteering abroad changes you because it gives you the chance to change others

The volunteering internships that AIESEC is providing are focused on solving particular issues in society, such as: cultural education, environment, cultural understanding or career development. This means that in most cases interns work with children or with students, and they have a chance to impact their life either directly in the short-term, or long-term, providing them with the skills and knowledge to be more successful.

Raluca was a volunteer in Poland. She says that: “this experience is about stepping out your comfort zone; about being crazy and letting go of what others think about you; about leaving a mark on some people’s lives. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do this. To be that person that changes lives. But one day, during the last moments we had in one of the schools, the teachers came to us and told us: “You don’t know what an impact you had on these kids. You changed their lives.”

But we must admit there is one downside of volunteering abroad: it’s addictive.

Mihaela, who volunteered this autumn in Ghana, says that “now I’m even hungrier for adrenaline and adventure so I can’t wait to see what the future will bring regarding any new internship.”

 

AIESEC provides over 26,000 young people with the chance to go abroad each year. If you are looking to go on an internship or volunteer experience abroad, please go to opportunities.aiesec.org and check out all our available opportunities. 

 

5 Reasons to Hire an International Intern

 

1. Diversity

The science of staffing mandates the need for a multicultural work environment. Such a surrounding enables employees to understand international market trends as well as new cultures. Multiculturalism brings diversity – of sex, race, gender, nationality – but most importantly of mind.

Uwe Doerken, Former CEO, DHL Worldwide Express remarks, “I am convinced that AIESEC is our most direct link to tomorrow’s business leaders. These training opportunities will become a stepping stone for bright, ‘can-do’ people to join DHL and learn, advance and one day lead.” 124 countries and territories contribute to our enormous talent pool. AIESEC is the easiest way to access a group so vast, skilled and regarded.

2. Innovation

Global interns tend to think out of the box. This can be owed to the simple fact that they are ever ready to grab new challenges given to them, since they are already out of their comfort zones.  Apart from enhancing creativity, they widen their perspectives as well those of their coworkers, leading to new ideas and a lively work spirit.

3. Growth

With a diverse workforce, different ideas and approaches can seem in opposition. Therefore, with more ideas in the room, employees undergo co-development. This is because cultures have an ever-lasting impact on how people generally think and come to decision. An open-mind to accept how others think gets to play a great role in paving way for organizational growth.

4. Flexibility

While hiring international interns, there is an advantage in the flexibility of extending the duration of work, depending on the combined interests of the company and the intern. Eligibilities can be easily negotiable and hassle-free arrangements can hence be made. Using organisations such as AIESEC allows you to reach a global talent pool that are available outside of the graduation cycle of your domestic universities.

Alicija Taraskevic who is the Branch Manager, LTC Forwarding Company, Lithuania says, “We signed a contract on Thursday, the intern from Belgium was in the office on Monday. That was very fast.”

5. Access to Gen Y

A culturally assorted as well as young work community assures good energy at work and curiosity. This curiosity can lead to a promising pursuit of learning as well as stimulate learning through new experiences. This makes them great sources of fresh ideas!

 

AIESEC provides thousands of companies with the chance to hire international talent each year for a variety of different job descriptions and flexible time periods. If you are looking to source a smart and savvy intern for your company, please visit www.aiesec.si. 

You can sign up here!

How experience in a non-profit organization can shape the way you act and work as an Entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur is not an easy journey. Many people have great ideas in mind that they would love to develop, but very often these ideas remain just ideas in their heads that don’t get off the ground. Very often, it is because they lack the skills, or they are scared to take the risk.

Even I was not ready to start my company when I did, and right now I still feel that I lack the skills and knowledge to become a successful entrepreneur. But, the past 4 years I have learned that I thrive when I take risks. I can tell you that this is not easy, but the most important thing is to take this first step and then just see what happens.

My first step was when I joined AIESEC, a Global Youth Organization, which has a mission to develop leadership in every young person in the world. AIESEC during the past 4 years changed me to become a person who is more confident, who knows exactly what to do in the future and how to influence other people. AIESEC also developed leadership skills in me, and gave me the confidence to take a risk and become an entrepreneur.

What I have learned during this experience are the most valuable life lessons I could ever have before I turned 26. And I would love to share these lessons with you and so that you may also take risks and follow what you are really passionate about!

Go outside of your comfort zone

Do you want to see magic happening in your life? Of course, everyone would love to. But, this magic that I speak of will not come to you if you will not go outside of your comfort zone! You have to take actions and start learning, practicing and doing what you really love! For example if you want to become a better public speaker, but you are afraid of speaking to the crowd, you will never become one if do not try! This was my dream, when I joined AIESEC — to become more confident, confident enough to stand on the stage and speak to people. By taking small steps I finally made it and right now I feel comfortable to deliver a speech in front of others. I am still not perfect, but I strongly believe that I will continue to improve. I wish that you also take a jump outside of your comfort zone and start doing things that you are the most afraid off. After some time you will realize that this fear just disappear and you are totally a different person and what’s more, magic will start happening around you.

Capitalize on your strengths

All of us have some strengths. One can be a perfect musician, another amazing football player and other have great math and programming abilities. The most important thing is to figure out your strengths and what you are good at. It will definitely not take you one day or even a week. This is a long process and some people are trying to figure out their strengths and passions throughout their entire life. The sooner you understand your strengths, the sooner you will be able to capitalize on them and do amazing things! Just look at famous musicians and athletes. They are good in one particular thing and become professionals in their fields. You need to also find your one skill and be the best at it, by practicing and doing it over and over! Believe me or not, when you will figure out this you will give your passion and your love to it.

Figure out your weaknesses
and work on them

What about weaknesses? Some weaknesses can stop you from achieving your dreams. Have you ever thought “I wish to be better in this field, but I’ll never be good at it”. Even, I have thought like this and still sometimes catch myself doing it! The most important lesson I got in AIESEC was to change my way of thinking. The moment when I heard about the fixed and growth mindset theory changed the way I approached my life. When you are thinking in a fixed mindset you will always perceive everything to not be achievable, even to change your weaknesses to your inner strengths. When you change your way of thinking to the growth mindset you will feel that only the sky is the limit, and you can achieve everything you are dreaming off. So, first of all figure out your weaknesses and things which are stopping you from being happy. Then, just by changing your way of thinking to growth mindset start working on them doing small steps and believe me, finally your weakness can become your real inner strength!

Accept who you are

Some time ago I have heard that you cannot be a good leader, when you are not a true leader for yourself. Everything begins with accepting who you really are and from where you come from. Try to imagine, how you can have good relations with other people, when you are not in a good relation with yourself. I was like that before I joined AIESEC. I was not able to accept the introverted side of myself and I was always looking on the negative side of myself and could only see things that I was not good at. I was even comparing myself to others and trying to be like them, and through which forgetting who I truly was. Later on, I figured out that each one of us is totally unique, beautiful and simply amazing, because of where we are coming from and how we develop through our childhood. There is nothing wrong with being different, or to do not have skills that others have. Be yourself and accept who you really are and if you want to change just work on your strengths and weaknesses to be the best version of you for you.

Believe in yourself

Once you have already started accepting who you really are, the next step is to start believing in yourself. Easy to say, right! But let’s look at this differently. Try to imagine, what if there is just you and there is no one and nothing else, which can stop you. There are also people who are eager enough to support you in what you are doing. Where would you be and what would you do? Would you travel the world and meet different people and experience new cultures along the way, while working virtually, if that was your dream? That was my dream! Firstly, I wanted to move from my country and work abroad and I made it by working with AIESEC International, the headquarters of AIESEC, based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. To be honest with you, I could not believe that I was able to achieve it! Finally, thanks to huge support from my teammates, who were believing in me, when I was not, this experience of mine was the one where I developed more and was inspired more than I have ever been in my life. This, took me to the place where I am right now! I am traveling around Southeast Asia and working virtually for my company. Sometimes is really hard to believe in ourselves, but remember that there are always people who believe in you and that are more than eager to help you when you are doubting yourself. Never forget about that and surround yourself with the people who are not stopping you, but pushing you to achieve your dreams! Later on, you will believe in yourself and nothing will stop you!

I was really lucky that I found AIESEC on my life path. This beautiful organisation changed my life in many ways and still inspires me as an AIESEC Alumnus to become the best version of myself and to strive to change the world. If you felt inspired by this article please share it with others and let them know about AIESEC and give them a chance to change their lives.

Are you an active person, looking for new experiences? apply for AIESEC experience here!