Matej, volunteer in Brazil

 

First classes in Talk project

Did you know that some Brazilian students speak English very fluently? Well, I was a little sceptic at first when I met local citizens. Rarely anybody knows basic English, from students to workers on bus stations or airport. But when our Talk project started, I began to meet very perspective people who have a good understanding of English language. In my and Mohamed’s class we have real variety of people. We have freshmen students in the beginning of their studies and careers, student that has been in more than 50 countries all over the world, than a self-employed marketer who sells T-shirts with modern graphic designs, a musician in his thirties, traveling the Brasilia, … and of course Slovenian scientist/musician/sportsman and Egyptian pilgrim/parachuting/TEDx organiser.

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At the beginning we had some problems with the organisation, but we resolved all the issues together with the great project manager Lara and our classes where great. In first meetings we got to know each other. We shared our life stories, talked about hobbies and discussed different views of the world. Some would think that it might be difficult to connect with people from such distant countries and different backgrounds, but the reality is far from this. Once everybody felt comfortable with each other, we started relating through story telling.

Traveling and hobbies are the easiest topics where we could talk through the whole class and we could have talked for hours more. After first classes we opened topics about health and education. I was really shocked about the situation. Of course everywhere the main problem is financing, but in Brazil the gap between having basic security and not having it is even bigger. One third of youth finishes high school and only 3% of people finish university, because of hard exams for entering university and bad education in high school. The privileged people can also afford to go to private schools, have better education and can easier enrol in university. You can also describe heath issues the same way. If you have money, you get treatment sooner and better, and if you don’t have it, you just don’t get basics covered. That’s why you see poor and sick people on the streets, children selling things to tourists and lower standard of living everywhere. After some classes I just had to take a minute to think about my luck in this world. Born in great country, with education, endless possibilities, traveling the world, … I truly am grateful for all that I have. 🙂

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Exploring the Island with Tampinha amigae

Did you know that morning sup peddling in sea is one of the most fun things to do? Well, if you have man’s best friend with you, it becomes a nice bonding moment. My host’s dog Snoopy and a beautiful cat Lizz are always fighting for my attention. It is so cute. Lizz is meowing, I pet her, Snoopy licks my hand, now I have my both hands full … what if another furry little friend comes along for cuddling? Love is everywhere in Brazil. 🙂

Evenings with all trainees are fun. Trying local caipirinhas with cachaça, comparing our languages, traditions, … but the funniest thing is when 3 Egyptian guys speak their language, in one corner you hear Spanish/Portuguese mix and Germans are always outnumbered with their harsh language. Cheers, nazdrovje, nazdravje, fesehetak, burraah, salute, salud, sáude, … But with all our differences and varieties of backgrounds we always create memorable moments full of laughter, ideas for new trips or we even share a tear.

Brazil 3

First week our group on Talk project hasn’t started with classes yet, so we had more time to explore and enjoy our beautiful island. Lots of other trainees had Friday free, so we went on Barra da Lagoa. Cloudy weather turned into a beautiful opportunity for new surfers to try something new. We rented all surfs in the shop and jumped on waves. Most of our tries were just a total disaster and funny for all of us. But splashing in the water for almost 2 hours gave us beautiful moments. Even just one good … rather decent stand on a surf gave me big boost of energy to keep going. When my hands couldn’t paddle any longer and propel me on the board, we call it a day. After my first experience on the waves I know I will definitely continue improving my surfing skills throughout this Brazilian journey. Lunch couldn’t get more typical than this: rice, beans, some salad and fried fish … and of course caipirinha. Afternoon was just continuation of good vibes from the morning. Playing volleyball and football (here called futchyball), building sand castles like little kids and just enjoying good energy around us almost makes you believe life couldn’t be more perfect at that moment.

Brazil 2

Saturday 15th of August was a day for hiking. With our tour guide from California (lives and loves Floripa) we met in Lagoa and headed in the forests of this beautiful island. On 2 hours long hike we saw beautiful landscape, remote beaches and made new friendships. Lunch hour was closing and we treated ourselves with variety of seafood dishes. Crabs, shrimps, fish, … fried, steamed, grilled or just raw. We tried the whole menu! After that we had a quick walk to the near waterfall where we took nice photos and got refreshing pit stop (yes, the bravest took a swim in the cold river). For a walk back to the city we were a little too tired so we took a boat. From there we observed gorgeous sunset on the lake of Lagoa.

Arrival

Did you know that when you travel from Europe to Brazil, you have to pick up the luggage in São Paulo or Rio and do the whole check-in in Brazil?

 

Well, I didn’t, so my clothes and shoes stayed in São Paulo while I was waiting for them in Florianopolis. Yes, my first adventure wasn’t really the best. But the evening sushi with Flavia and Rhaiza was the best. =)

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Then came 3 days of calls to the airports and I finally got everything back on Sunday. In between, I was sup-ing on the sea, trying to surf, eating local avocados, bananas and coconuts.

 

 

From that point on, the fun part of this adventure has officially started. I met Mustafa  in the centre and we immediately started exploring the city. The other trainees were on the other side of the town, so the only way was to go across Morro da Cruz. Beautiful view of the city awaits for us while we were hiking the “favelas” of Floripa.

 

 

Meeting so many people in one place is just amazing. Egypt, Japan, Germany, Germany, Germany (yes, we have a loooot of Germans), Spain, Italy, … all so friendly, they welcome you in their circle. Just riding the bus can be also one big experience. We emideately became friends with American girl who lives and LOVES Floripa (short for Florianopolis) and found our official hiking tourist guide for the next weekend. To end up the evening we embraced the beautiful Lagoa and ate delicious traditional Brasilian burger.

 

Eventhough the bus rides here are really long, writing this first blog wasn’t done quickly. Bumpy roads and crazy fast drivers makes typing a whole new skill that I have to master. I can’t wait for the next adventure. 🙂

5 Reasons to Hire an International Intern

With a giant talent pool that transcends borders across the globe, AIESEC is one of the leading non-profits helping several other organizations, firms and workplaces hire international talent. At a glance, it might appear as if an optimized local recruitment is just enough –  but there are more than a few convincing reasons why you should hire an international student at your workplace.

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!

 

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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 new skills. 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 open minded and more culturally aware.

“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.