Does Shrek like spicy food?

By: Joakim I. Andersen

“So much to do, so much to see, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets?” There is a little Shrek in all of us, right? Sharing some of his characteristics: obviously not being the most extrovert (even a little shy) – that, onions, needs to be opened layer by layer, and kind of comfortable in my daily routines – when was the right time to take action, step out of the comfort zone and challenge myself? Rhetorical questions rarely need an answer – it’s too obvious!

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I wasn’t even planning to go to India – so the lyrics actually applies even more to my story of ending up here. My “original plan” was to try something in Europe or the US, without much luck I have to admit. I was on the brink of just giving up applying through Opportunities Portal (a website where you can find all AIESEC opportunities worldwide. But I’ve learned through experience to grab my opportunities with both hands; you never know when it’s too late, and it is an attitude I’ve tried to adopt on a daily basis. So when I was finally invited for an interview I basically just said ‘Yes”, without thinking more about what I said yes to – actually without knowing I had applied for an opportunity in India, believe it or not! And when the recruiter offered me the position, I again, a little surprised (and amazed), spontaneously pronounced the two vowels followed by the consonant. Perhaps unable to declining anything or without thinking properly through my answers in general, I am now more than halfway through my 6 months internship, working as a business development executive in a software company, in a small city (by local standards).

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I still wonder why I got the business development position, as my master degree in business administration is more specialized towards strategy and organizational leadership than to marketing. At least it’s related to business I guess… Maybe the company was a little desperate for people with Nordic language capabilities, and thinking “he’ll just have to catch up with the marketing part later”? That will remain pure speculation from my side. At least I’m gaining international experience, and I’m getting my skills and knowledge challenged regularly.

So what about a cultural exchange? I honestly believe I’ve seen more cows these three past months than all my soon 26 years accumulated – and maybe animals in general. Probably it’s not a cultural concern; I just had to get it out of my system. Anyway, there are certain differences from the culture I am used to, and there are pros and cons: for example, I have not gotten (and probably will not get) used to the traffic down here. For me, it’s a true chaos. A lack of discipline maybe, or simply not respecting traffic rules? I don’t know, not important, just different. And also that personal spheres are foreign words here. At the other side, if you get a strong enough bond to an Indian, he/she is extremely helpful. In general, Indians are very including and hospitable people, which is something I really appreciate; something we can learn from back home maybe? Also, I have even purchased a “kurta” (a regional piece of clothing)and participated in some festival activities. At least I look a little more Indian that way. Looking different is a strange experience nonetheless; it takes time getting used to people staring (even though I’m not green) and, especially at tourist spots, that people want to take selfies with you, just as another attraction. But I guess it’s a little funny too. What’s not that funny, to be honest, is the food and hence one’s digestion. Why does it have to be that spicy? And everyone single one of the other interns have experienced the same.But you get toughened by it I guess. I just hope that, when I go back, I’ll still be able to taste some food – that my tongue isn’t killed, and that going back to my regular diet will not be affected by me literally being a vegetarian for half a year.

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A little bit back to AIESEC (the reason why I am writing this) and my professional experience: what still made me confident I didn’t do anything I really didn’t want to, was my past AIESEC experiences – this is, in fact, my third one: My first experience was a volunteer project in Uganda (the summer of 2015), followed by one year as a team member in the local chapter of AIESEC at my University, and now this professional internship. And AIESEC gives youth opportunities to grow and learn, without a performance-based approach, as it can take the time to evolve and some tries to get things right. In fact, I learn things all the time. So, even though not all the things I am doing in this internship feels that relevant for my future career, there are so many unmeasurable, intangible (soft) skills, values, and knowledge that I’ll take with me wherever I end up in addition to, more importantly, new good friends.  I may be a few scorched taste buds poorer, but I am a lot of experiences richer. And all of this on the expense of stepping out of my comfort zone. Is it worth it? Right – this Shrek doesn’t answer rhetorical questions.

Do you want to Work abroad like me and grab a life changing chance? Apply here.

Joakim I. Andersen, 2016.

Mitt opphold i Indonesia

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Mitt navn er Kristin Heen Halvorsen og jeg dro på utveksling med AIESEC. Å reise til Indonesia for å jobbe frivillig er det mest fantastiske eventyret jeg har vært med på. Jeg var lenge i tvil om jeg faktisk skulle tørre å dra – alene, til en fremmed kultur på andre siden av jorden. Takk og lov for at jeg dro!

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Jeg skulle arbeide sammen med 20 utenlandske frivillige med omtrent like mange nasjonaliteter. Også lokale frivillige var involvert, så potensialet til å lære om mange kulturer var stort. Sammen skulle vi jobbe for å øke turismen til byen Semarang, en millionby i Sentral-Java. Å få arbeide med de lokale frivillige var desidert en av prosjektets viktigste styrker. Å ha noen som snakket språket og var kjent med lokal bedriftskultur og skikker gjorde at vårt bidrag i arbeidet ble av best mulig kvalitet. I 7 uker jobbet vi hardt, og vi klarte å skape noe av verdi.

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Jeg fikk leve og bo sammen med lokale, en erfaring som ga meg utrolig mye positivt og lærte meg vanvittig mye. De utfordret meg på mine vaner og tankesett, samtidig som jeg utfordret dem på sider ved deres kultur som absolutt kunne forbedres. Vi hadde mange gode samtaler som fikk dem til å reflektere over blant annet kvinnens rolle i samfunnet. Til gjengjeld lærte de meg mye verdifullt om respekt og sosialt ansvar. Indonesere er virkelig ett av verdens mest vennlige folkeslag, og jeg er nå så privilegert at jeg kan kalle dem mine venner.
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Under mitt opphold besteg jeg fjelltopper, så majestetiske soloppganger og red på hest gjennom en kjede gamle tempelruiner. Jeg har vært med på en storslagen forlovelsesfest og flere festivaler, og jeg har snorklet med djevelrokke og dykket med hai. Jeg har løpt fra komodovaraner og møtt på bøfler mens jeg var ute på tur i jungelen (alene). Dette eventyret har lært meg utrolig mye verdifullt om hvem jeg er og hva jeg er god på. Samtidig har jeg lært hva som er viktig for meg og hva jeg vil bruke livet mitt på.

Så hva venter du på? Grip sjansen og skap ditt eget eventyr.

 

Volunteering abroad and its contributions to personal growth

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By: Anteneh Tesfaye

Arriving in another country, meeting a new culture, and finding yourself as you serve others, this is all part of the volunteering abroad experience. Making a heart connection with the needs of others and being able to fill those needs is both gratifying and exhilarating. It is truly a life changing experience.
The benefits of volunteering abroad are sometimes inexpressible. Of course it feels good to be valued, and as a volunteer you can contribute using your unique skills, get new experience, and perspective. But the benefit of Volunteering is also great for your personal growth. It rewards you with more than what you have given. We separated a few benefits for your personal growth that you can get from volunteering.

1- Self-confidence
Young people can benefit from volunteering abroad in terms of enhanced confidence and self-esteem through skills development. Volunteering is very rewarding and it makes you to feel confident of what you are doing since people always appreciate it your deeds and even encourage you to do more. All this lift your mood and helps you to be more confident.

2- Gain a new perspective of the world
Going abroad for volunteering will expose you to completely different environment than what you used to. It will show you how life can be different. Seeing this other side of life will help you to be a person with well rounded perspective of the world.

3- Happiness

“The highest of distinctions is service to others.”—King George IV.
Volunteering abroad will give you a chance to help and impact others. It feels good to make a positive change in someone else’s life. The time you will be spending with fellow volunteers, AIESECers and the beneficiaries creates bonds. The social bonds created during volunteering contribute directly to feelings of belonging and makes you happier not to forget the long life friendship you will gain.


4- Social skills

Whether you are an outgoing or shy person you will get to develop your communication, and social skills by meeting and communicating with different people from the country where you are at, or from different parts of the world who are working with you.

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5- Reduces Depression
Volunteering also helps to reduce depression, improve your mental health and help you live longer too. According to  an Every day health article, volunteering is also good because makes you do an activity, build social connections, and it also makes you feel good.

6- Sense of purpose
By volunteering abroad you will help others and make a difference on something, and someone other than yourself. It gives you something meaningful to do, and it is empowering to be doing something that really matters.


7- Health

Surprisingly volunteering also has a health benefits. “There’s a growing body of research showing that volunteering is associated with better physical and mental health outcomes,” says Eric S. Kim, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A study he co-authored, published in Social Science and Medicine earlier this year, found that volunteers were more likely to use preventive health care services. For instance, people who volunteered were 47% more likely to get cholesterol checks and 30% more likely to get flu shots than those who did not volunteer. An annual flu shot appears to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by about one-third over the following year.

AIESEC provides thousands of opportunities to volunteers abroad for young people. Volunteer abroad and live the most amazing 6 weeks of your life.

Working Abroad

Each of us has a comfort zone, a zone of behavior that is familiar to us and where we feel comfortable and safe. But to achieve your goals and realize your potential, you must be willing to be uncomfortable – to do things that push your limit or afraid to do. That’s how you develop your potential!

To work abroad you need determination to go out of your comfort zone to get a valuable work, life and cultural experience. You will expose yourself to new culture, language, and thinking. You will have to make new friends, new colleagues and new environment. Well, all this might be exciting or a little scary, but it is another chance to stretch you. Confront your fears and be willing to expand your comfort zone. The courage muscle can be developed just like any other muscle – with exercise. And when you do an activity outside your comfort zone a few times, you know what happens? That same activity becomes part of your comfort zone!

There is another bonus when you’re willing to expand your comfort zone. When you push through fear and take action in some areas of your life, you’ll develop confidence in other areas as well. It is true, as you become more comfortable with meeting new people and interacting with different cultures, you will  also became a better salesman, a better businessman, a better listener… the list goes on and on. You can try to dance around it all you want. But you will not develop your abilities to the fullest unless you are willing to be uncomfortable. Life does not reward those who refuse to expose themselves to difficulties and challenges.

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The best place to put you in this challenging environment and grow as a person and professionally is AIESEC. Being part of our Global Talent opportunities abroad and working in different Multinational and Startup companies after your graduate is the best way to challenge yourself with an intense experience and start or activate your professional life with valuable carrier experience. You will discover a new way of life and make friends that you will have for a lifetime. AIESEC offices in Norway and in the country that you go to will help you in every step of the way, will and follow your development.

It is true that doing an internship in another country is of enormous value, interning abroad and living in another culture is also something that is very attractive to employers seeking to hire new people. You proved that you are willing to learn and do what it takes to educate yourself and improve your skill set. That increases your marketability and lets you stand out from the crowd.

AIESEC internship abroad will lead to personal life enrichment and fulfillment that will ultimately stay with you for the rest of your life. You will discover a new way of life and make friends that you will have for a lifetime.

It is important that you put yourself in a position to win, and that means taking action despite fear. Confront your comfort zone and you’re on the way to developing your potential and leading the exciting, fulfilling life you deserve. Working abroad is a decision you’ll never regret!

 

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Making a career out of making a difference

The best thing about volunteering abroad through AIESEC is that it is a road for career discovery, professional networking and skills development, besides the fact that you are making a difference in someone else’s life. For the individual, offering time and energy through volunteering can be one of the best ways to gain on-the-job experience, and develop a career. It also shows your character, interests and motivation. You can leverage your volunteer experience abroad as a stepping stone to work to international development work also to.  Find out more how you can make your career by volunteering abroad.

 

Leadership Development

AIESEC’s exchange products are focused on developing leadership on every single Exchange Participant. For AIESEC leadership is based on 4 qualities: Self-awareness, Empowering others, Solution Orientation, and World Citizen.

If you look for an experience that will make you become not just a better person, but a better leader, then you should consider getting to know more about AIESEC.

 

Show dedication

Volunteering through AIESEC Global Volunteer program is something you do voluntarily and it shows your dedication. Employers’ value dedication and volunteering abroad is a very good sign that you have what they want. For potential employers it also shows that you have taken the initiative to develop relevant skills.

 

Get credibility

Are you afraid that you might not be on the top when you apply for a job after you graduate? Well, when you volunteer on a project with AIESEC, you will get an official certificate for your experience which includes the project description of the project you worked, the time you spent, and you can add this experience to your CV, and make it go to the top of the pile.

 

Become a better person

Living in another country has many hurdles to overcome, from language barriers to unfamiliar social customs. There will be several occasion where you have to step outside of your comfort zone. This will significantly benefit you as a person and your career. At the end of your Volunteer experience abroad you will be a better problem solver and more resilient.  

 

Focus on particular career fields

Are you interested to volunteer abroad in a specific area that is related to your field of study in University? Do you want to add some volunteering work experience of what you are studying? Then you came to right place. In AIESEC, whether you can be working with the management of a NGO, volunteering in hospitals, teaching English, or working with whatever your specific interest is, you can find the project that fits you and impacts your life, and the life of many others.

Take a chance. Your leadership experience can be one click away! Find your project here

 

AIESECers’ Stories #1

By: Kine Torp Ellingsen

My name is Vyni Nguyen and I study Culture and Communications at the University of Oslo. From a young age I knew I wanted to help people and work with society issues to improve the world. Half a year into university I remember talking with my sister on the phone and she said that AIESEC would be a good fit for me. She told me that AIESEC was about developing ourselves both personally and professionally and that it was a good place to meet new people. It took some time before I came around, but when I saw the video “Why we do what we do“, and I was sold.
I started in the Organizational Comitte (OC) having the role of arranging the parties and dinners for the conference that my team was responsible of facilitating. After the conference I became the Vice President of incoming Global Community Development Programme (iGCDP). Our project was to make a summer camp for children from a lower socio-economic background, especially children in asylum, with the aim of developing the children’s communication skills, English skills, teamwork skills, self-esteem and pro-active attitude so that they would better be able to have cultural understanding, because developing cultural understanding was what the project was about.The summer camp was also an opportunity to give the children who could not afford it a worthy summer vacation.
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The year later we wanted to improve the quality of the camp by focusing on being more present for the Exchange Participants who ran the camp in terms of following up on their leadership and management development. When I started, I really didn’t know what it meant to be a leader, but being a leader is basically just having a goal and finding the most effective way to reach that goal. I have learned that it is crucial to build a foundation and get on the same page in terms of finding a common vision to work towards and create goals that make you able to reach the vision when you reach these goals.This empowering culture we have in AIESEC has made me see myself in a new perspective.
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Being a Vice President has been the most challenging and best experience of my life. I can definitely say that I got what I came for in terms of establishing deep friendships, developing myself both professionally and personally. I also got great insight in how the society and how the business world works.
In my perspective, AIESEC has been the best platform for me to challenge and develop myself. You get to practice theory, realize your ideas and really learn by doing. I am grateful for being able to experience all the things I have experienced and meeting all the people I have met. My journey wouldn’t be the same. Although I am doing a semester abroad right now, I will still be a part of AIESEC,that is in AIESEC in Madrid.

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Would you like to have an impactful experience like Vy? Get to know more about AIESEC, and how you can become a member in your city, or university by clicking here.

Cultural sensitivity awareness in a multicultural environment

By: Anteneh Tesfaye


Cultural awareness is making proper responses to behaviors and norms exhibited by people from outside of one’s own culture. It is foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions. Why do we do things they way we do? How do we see the world? Why do we interact this particular way?

Cultural awareness becomes essential when we have to interact with people from other cultures. People see, interpret and evaluate things in different ways. What is considered a right way of doing things in a culture is not usual in another one, and vice versa.

If we don’t have cultural sensitivity awareness we misinterpret and misunderstand other people’s different deed. A misinterpretation comes when we lack awareness of our own behavioral rules and project them on others. Becoming aware of our cultural dynamics is difficult task because culture is not conscious to us. Our experiences, our values and our culture background lead us to see and do things in certain way. We have to step up from our cultural boundaries and put ourselves in multicultural environment in order to see different cultures perspective and different ways of perceiving things. With the globalization of business, increased diversity in the workplace and multicultural emphasis, cultural awareness has become one of the most important wanted skills in almost every industry understanding the cultures around you will enhance communication, productivity and unity in work place, AIESEC opportunities abroad are best ways to expose yourself to multicultural environment and increase your cultural awareness. Our internship opportunities help you to develop the following 4 core parts of cultural awareness development.

 

Cultural knowledge

When you go abroad you through the AIESEC opportunities you will not only get to know about the culture of the country you settled, but you will also live with different people’s culture who come to volunteer or work like you from many parts of the world. Increased knowledge and better understanding of cultures is a basic thing towards development of your cultural awareness.

 

Communication

One of the challenges you will face when you go abroad to work is the communication problem. You will need to understand a local culture and perhaps learn some words to possibly communicate better with each other. Outstanding communication skills developed through multicultural work environments are valuable inputs to increase your cultural awareness.

 

Appreciating differences

There are differences in values, beliefs, interests, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, among people. The fact that accepting there are differences and valuing them is another thing you get when you are in a multicultural environment that will shape you to become someone with an advanced level of cultural awareness.

 

Self Awareness  

Even after developing all the other above core parts of Cultural Awareness it is hard to understand everything in our dynamic and vast multicultural working environment. At such times it is good to ask ourselves “Why I am feeling this way towards this situation?”, “Why I do I think this way?” And adjust responses and actions accordingly to these questions. To answer these questions, a good awareness of our own values, beliefs, and preferences is needed. Weakness and strengths can also be developed through volunteering or working abroad opportunities, provided by AIESEC.

 

Do you want to increase your cultural awareness through a 6-78 weeks internship abroad?

Click here to grab this chance. 

6 Ways Volunteering Abroad Gets You Work Experience

By: Anteneh Tesfaye

Are you looking for a way to add some experience to your CV?  Besides just adding do you want develop yourself professionally and acquire work skills in very diverse and challenging environment? Volunteering abroad in community development projects through AIESEC in a country you choose will give you the ample opportunity to build up your professional skills. Here are six ways AIESEC Global Volunteer opportunities gives you a work experience.

1- You will expand your personal and professional network

Volunteering abroad will give you friends for life which you can always ask them for help and support. You will meet different people in your journey and at the NGO or school you are working. This is a way to build up your professional network. If you perform well in your tasks when you work as a volunteer your supervisor, at a place you worked might even serve as reference to you when you apply for a job.

2- Diverse new working environment

One of the best things you can get going abroad and volunteering is exposing yourself to new working environment which most of the time is far different from the surrounding you are used to. Facing the challenges that comes from this situation, and finding a solution, or adapting yourself to the new environment will give you another worth experience. This will be definitely an asset to your carrier development and gives you an upper hand when you apply for any job opportunity. Mind the fact that you will have a better CV than any of your peer fresh recent graduates who do not have any volunteer experience.

3- New culture and language

Our volunteer opportunities give you access to new a culture considering that you will go to a different country with different ways of doing the same things you do, and distinct things as well. You will learn new language which is always an addition to your skills, and makes you more competitive in the job market.

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4- Leadership

AIESEC Volunteering opportunities are always designed to develop leaders that can impact themselves and everyone around them. Well you may ask <<how do they develop leaders in their platform and what makes them so unique?>>

First in AIESEC youth leadership is the core of our organization. We have a leadership development model consisting of three parts which helps us to develop leaders. The number one is the Leadership Qualities we want to see our customers get after going on an exchange with us. The second one is The Inner & Outer Journey. This is a personal journey that our customers go through in an AIESEC exchange in order to develop the 4 Leadership Qualities. The third part of this Leadership Model is called Standards & Satisfaction. It describes the daily activities a team of AIESECers need to execute in order to facilitate a complete experience for our Volunteering exchange participant. At the end of your volunteering experience you will be a person who is self aware, someone who can empower others, is solution oriented and, a world citizen. Having these qualities when you apply for any job will shows the managers that you are fit to their company or organization.

5- You will Acquire Huge range of Skills

You will develop skills such as the ability to work in a team, problem solving and adaptability, communicating with clients and stakeholders, ability to plan and prioritize work, sales skills, time management, report writing, and improve interpersonal skills are some of the benefits you get from Volunteering abroad.

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6- Companies and organization care about your volunteer experience

A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer experience equally valuable as paid work. LinkedIn also found that 89% of professionals surveyed had volunteer experience. After LinkedIn collected this data, they decided to include a place to put a volunteer experience for their users, because commitment and dedication of doing a volunteer work will definitely give you skills you need for paid work as well.

Just place yourself in the shoes of an employer and picture this situation for a minute. Two job candidates with the same backgrounds. However, one of the candidates has a significant volunteer experience – an experience that allowed the student to harvest relevant skills to the job they are applying. On the other hand, the other candidate has just graduated with no volunteer experience, which one would you choose?

 

So are you ready to take this chance and volunteer abroad?

Here you can find Volunteering opportunities abroad. Your life-changing experience is just one click away.

7 benefits you get from volunteering abroad

By: Anteneh Tesfaye

An AIESEC Volunteering abroad program is an experience worth living. You learn a lot, about yourself, about whichever field you work in, and how to work among people you otherwise wouldn’t even imagine interacting with.
The international experience gives you exposure beyond your wildest dreams (on a personal and professional level) and that is what holds value. You become a stronger and more independent individual. You will get a wider exposure, creative problem solving to real problems of the world in innovative ways, creative brainstorming, leadership development experience, a chance to make a positive impact on the society. Here are 7 benefits you get from volunteering abroad:

 

1- Global Mindset and Global Network

 Volunteering abroad will give you A new Perspective to the world and set of individual attributes that help you to be global leader. Your experience abroad provides you with insight into foreign work environments and custom. Volunteering will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships and it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell who you will meet or what new information you will learn and what impact this could have on your life.

 

2- Learn about a new Culture

When you are abroad you will discover a new Country, Improve your Language Skills or Learn a New Language, and meet different people from to different cultural background. Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your co-workers can be a rich source for learning new culture.

 

3- Make an Impact

 Volunteering abroad changes you because it gives you the chance to change and impact others. As AIESEC and UN are working together to achieve sustainable development goals, all our projects around the world target SDG goals. Volunteering abroad through AIESEC exchanges will give you a chance to contribute your own part in realization of sustainable development goal. Volunteering abroad is one of the best ways we know of to make a difference .Whatever your passion, however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting impact on the world.

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4- AIESEC volunteering  will give you professional work experience

 Employers want to hire people that are able to utilize the lessons from previous work experiences and apply them to their current job. As in an international intern, you will be faced with challenges relating to communication barriers, creative problem-solving and understanding various points of view from a cultural perspective. By facing these challenges abroad, you will be able to fine tune your transferable skills and sell any employer on your benefits.

 

5- Life long friendship

 Your overseas volunteer is not just about adding a new section to your resume. Living and working abroad is filled with exciting new sights, people, and experiences. You will discover a new way of life and make friends that you will have for a lifetime.

 

6- Personal growth and Soft Skills growth

 When you go for an exchange abroad, you will meet different peoples from different background ,culture and language. In all your time abroad you will need to break the barrier and need to communicate. Starting from your arrival date to all through your working time you will be facing communication barriers .at the end of the day the challenge that arise from diversity will shape you out to a person who can communicate his ideas clearly in any environment. You will Learn about Yourself and Discover Your Personal Brand.

 

7- Culture shock

 The most beautiful and meaningful moments of your life will occur when you decide to step outside of your comfort zone. Traveling to a foreign country to volunteer is one of the best ways to step outside your established comfort zone. Although the majority of people who travel abroad experience a degree of culture shock, it is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, experiencing culture shock is a very positive thing because it gives you the opportunity to learn about yourself, teaches you how to think on your feet and adapt, and presents you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in an entirely new culture, and then emerge as a global citizen.

Now that you know the benefits you get from volunteering abroad, you just have to find the right project for you, and decide when it is the best time for you to go. In case you have any doubts, you can always contact the nearest local office, and our members will help you through your journey.

Interested in going abroad this winter? Find your next adventure at www.aiesec.org