The Power of Understanding Different Cultures

AIESEC believes in developing socially conscious leaders of today who are passionate about the world and solving its issues, to leave behind a positive impact. We envision “Peace and fulfilment of humankind potential”, but how do we achieve this “peace” that we envision?

Simple. We send young people on exchange experiences.

Here is only one of the 26,000 stories we create every year!

La’ala and Tünde – A friendship forged through an exchange of cultures

La’ala is an Exchange Participant who recently went on exchange to China; she believed teaching kids in rural areas would bring about a new perspective and meaning to life. What she didn’t know was that the people she would meet while on exchange would leave behind an even greater impression on her than the kids.

Tünde is an Austrian Exchange Participant whom La’ala met and taught classes with during her internship.

La'ala and Tunde - 2 different cultures on exchange

Now, La’ala and Tünde come from completely different backgrounds – one is a Muslim; the other is a Christian. What lies in the beauty of this friendship is that these two exchange participants managed to find a connection in spite of their “differences.” La’ala said, “the topic of God came up and we just got lost in it, sharing similar perspectives and agreeing that religion is just a way of life”.

This friendship developed through exchange is just an example of how we are truly one as humankind. It’s not about anything else other than being connected – to recognize that we have differences- in culture, religion, and more – but also to find similarities through those differences.

The answers to the problems the world faces today are simple; they do not revolve around complex chemical weapons and war plans to solve issues and achieve peace. It simply lies in the love and friendship we make with another to fulfil our potential as human beings.

This experience has prompted La’ala to come back to Bahrain and take on a career of being a schoolteacher through which she aims to pass upon her learnings that she received while on exchange to her students. The exchange experience has also inspired Tünde to deliver a sermon at her local church, sharing her experience in hopes of inspiring her community to develop more awareness about other cultures.

Have you had a similar exchange of cultures? Where did you experience something like this?

 

If you are looking to go on an internship that will provide you with a different cultural experience, please go to opportunities.aiesec.org and check out all our available internships or read about other cultural experiences at culture-shock.me

AIESEC showcased for quality internships at the EU Parliament

AIESEC present at the discussion on Quality Internships at the EU Parliament

What is a good-quality internship? Should internships be unpaid? How can an intern’s contribution be valued within the company where they work?

These were some of the questions raised during the panel discussion that took place at the EU Parliament in the heart of Brussels. Hosted by the European Youth Forum and Microsoft Europe, the event aimed to share views on the topic of quality internships with European employers, European institutions and interns themselves.

With a vast amount of internships in Europe lacking learning content, payment and any quality criteria that could enable a young person to benefit professionally from their first experience in the world of work, AIESEC came as an example to follow and a strong ally of existing partners.

Sylvie Laffarge, Director at Microsoft praised the hassle saved by recruiting interns through AIESEC regarding visa issues and working permits. She coined the cooperation as “priceless”.

Also speaking at the event was an AIESEC intern, now working at JA-YE Europe and originally from AIESEC Romania: Diana Draganescu who spoke about the confidence needed as a young graduate to enter the labour market. She emphasized the need to start supporting more consistent organisations such as AIESEC to facilitate the process of young people getting internships around the world.

This was followed by several comments from the audience, mostly from youth currently interning at the EU institutions – who complained about the lack of clear rules and regulations regarding interns.

The EU is currently working on a Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships and hopes to get it signed and approved in the near future.

In the meantime, AIESEC showcased its good-case practices successfully and aims to set itself as a reliable provider of high quality interns and internships.

 

AIESEC present at round table - Jide Okusanya (MC Belgium), Dina Ismail (MC Belgium), Rachel Whitehead (AI), Laurence Dumont (global coordinator), Bettina Guirkinger (GST), Rafael Rarvalho (MC Belgium)

AIESEC present at round table – Jide Okusanya (MC Belgium), Dina Ismail (MC Belgium), Rachel Whitehead (AIESEC International), Laurence Dumont (Global Coordinator for Alcatel-Lucent), Bettina Guirkinger (Global News Team), Rafael Rarvalho (MC Belgium)