If you follow my blog probably you have seen the word AIESEC popping up many times and may wonder what it is. Thus, I’m gonna spend this whole blog post just talking about AIESEC and how it has changed my life, or to be more exact, how it has changed my vision of life just like how it has altered young generations’ viewpoints during the past 60 years!
To formally introduce, AIESEC is the largest international student organization that presents in over 2,100 universities across 110 countries and territories all over the world, with over 60,000 members and hundreds thousands of former members that we call “alumni”. AIESEC provides its members with leadership experiences at a very young age, global exchange opportunities and incredible learning networks through so many national and international annual conferences.
However, to informally introduce, AIESEC simply is a great family where young people learn to take responsibilities, tolerate differences while broadening their knowledge about the world and striving to make positive impacts on their societies. Yes, thanks to AIESEC, kids grow up, fools grow wise and locals go global.
I joined AIESEC 5 years ago when I was a senior student. AIESEC Vietnam was then only 1 year old and my generation was the 2nd of AIESEC Local Committee Hanoi. At the end of that year I went to Ho Chi Minh City for the first national conference of AIESEC Vietnam and was deeply impressed. In those 3 days only, my world views were expanded much wider than in the previous 22 years of my life. I saw real people, I heard them telling about their real experiences. That was the first time I realized that the world and its issues were much more serious than what being reported soullessly on TV and newspapers. I also realized the huge impact AIESEC members had created all over the world. And most of all, I learned a new term that I knew immediately I would love to devote my life for it – “change agent”. “Change agent” is someone that acts as an influential factor to encourage positive changes in her/his surrounding environment, and that also implies that s/he will have to change her/himself first in order to change someone else. And there, right at that conference, I could see on the beaming faces of all the young students around me a desire for change, and probably they could recognize that light on my face too. That moment was magical, as if we finally had come out to sunlight and found out what we wanted to become in life.
I parted AIESEC half a year later after graduating from college, but then in 2009, I came back as an exchange participant and joined the development traineeship to Wroclaw, Poland. I made a lot of good friends with whom I’m still keeping close touch until now. And there, in Poland, I was so proud of what I achieved. I broke the stereotype people thought about Vietnam. And together with my great team of members from 6 different countries we inspired hundreds of Polish high school students whose faces were also lightened up just like mine in that first AIESEC conference.
In 2010 I took another internship with AIESEC and the destination was New Delhi, India. That was a real adventure and unfortunately I went through too much of bad luck. However, never for a second I regretted that trip. India and all the people I met there have changed my views of life forever. And from that moment on I know exactly where I want to go and what I want to do.
It’s already been 5 years since I knew AIESEC. And even though I’m now an AIESEC alumna who doesn’t keep in touch with current AIESEC boards anymore I’m still proud of my AIESEC root. And I’ll be thankful to AIESEC forever. Without it perhaps I could never have found out what I wanted to live for. But now I’m totally sure that I’ll live to be a connector among people, a bridge between cultures or simply, a change agent that desires better quality of life.
And trust me, anyone can be a change agent when they are willing to change themselves to make a difference. AIESEC wants to change the world. And YOU can change the world! Is that an unrealistic dream? Well, maybe, if you’re all alone. But what if 60,000 AIESEC members think the same like you and hundreds thousands of alumni also do, well, that is when together YOU can change the world! And a shoutout to all you young people, AIESECers or non-AIESECers: It’s time to start making an impact! Step out of your daily routine just once to look at the world around you. It’s beautiful. It’s miserable. It’s happy. It’s sad. And most of all, it needs YOU to acknowledge its existence!