So, what actually is this society whose name nobody knows how to pronounce and plasters the campus with posters about going abroad?
What is AIESEC?
Firstly, the name: AIESEC. A French acronym pronounced ‘eye-sec’, which translates to ‘International Association of Students in Social and Commercial Sciences’. Today, however, the organisation isn’t limited to just students of these disciplines and it is now the largest youth-run organisation in the world.
AIESEC was founded in 1948, just after World War II, when a group of students concluded that cross-cultural understanding was pivotal in order to prevent similar conflicts in the future. The way through which they decided to tackle this issue was to have a global system of cultural exchange between the world’s youth.
What does AIESEC do?
Now present in 126 countries, and with over 100,000 members, this not-for-profit NGO’s mission is to achieve the peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential. They plan on doing this through empowering the youth. This is done through both their members, who facilitate other students and recent graduates to go abroad, and those who participate in the programmes to volunteer or work across the globe.
Being part of AIESEC means you are part of a global youth leadership movement. You have the chance to communicate with people from all over the world in order to create opportunities for youth to develop themselves; whilst also having a positive impact in the world. It’s a truly unique and inspiring environment of like-minded people who are determined to make a change and randomly signing up to be a part of it at the Bunfight was definitely been the best decisions of my university career.
But what does AIESEC offer me, a humble student of the University of Southampton? Any student is eligible for the volunteering programme, which takes place for 6-8 weeks during summer. You can go to South America, Africa, Asia, or within Europe and take part in a range of projects depending on your preference. Alternatively, if you are in your final year, you can apply for the paid internship programme. These international internships last between 3 to 12 months and are in 4 areas: teaching, business administration, marketing and IT.
If you are interested, you can sign up and apply on the website. But there’s no need to take my word for it – the Wessex Scene Travel section will be interviewing students who have taken part in AIESEC’s programmes and making profiles of their different experiences, so make sure to stay tuned!