Does going abroad with AIESEC really change you?

Does going abroad with AIESEC really change you?

That’s a question which is hard to answer because not only every exchange but also every person is different. Depending on why you want to go abroad (volunteering, internships…), and your expectations, you will have your very own AIESEC experience.

What to expect?

A lot of people go abroad, among other reasons, to experience a different culture. This, you will definitely do during an AIESEC project, since you will have a lot of contact with the local community. I also had the chance to go abroad for quite some time, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I studied abroad for a semester at the university in Milan,
Italy, which was very exciting and scary at first, but an incredible learning opportunity. I had to get used to a different culture, met so many people and I had to communicate in a different language.

Expectation and stereotypes

Before I got to Milan, I had some expectations about the city, the people and the country itself. Some of these expectations were true, but others weren’t. I got these expectations because other people told me things about the Italian culture. Also i’ve read some things up front, and then there are the romantic Italian movies that gave me an image. Overall, I had created a big stereotype. Almost everyone has a certain image about other cultures, whether these are negative or positive. Typical examples are: Italian and French people are the best lovers, Dutch people only transport themselves by bike, and all Asians are good at math.

Having stereotypes doesn’t have to be a bad thing: one advantage can be that it enables us to respond rapidly to a situation because we already have a vision in our mind of that situation. However, most of the time, stereotypes are negatively phrased. A huge disadvantage is that it makes us ignore differences between individuals, so we make generalizations.

Get to know your own culture

Exploring a different culture can help you get rid of these stereotypes or find some truth in them. But, most of all, going abroad will help you to acknowledge and appreciate your own culture better. And maybe even find some truth in your own countries-stereotype. During my time in Italy, I definitely found out how Dutch I am, I started missing my bike after one week, and complained about efficiency (yes, it’s a Dutch thing). You could say that I found pride in my own culture, even though I know that it’s not perfect.
So, to answer the question if going abroad will really change you: I personally don’t believe that you will really change, but it can definitely help you change your view on certain things.

if you want to know some experience stories : https://www.aiesec.nl/blog/experience-stories/

This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth.  Read more about our experience stories here.

Read more
A platform for YOUth

A platform for YOUth

This year AIESEC in The Netherlands is organizing its second Youth Speak Forum on the 29th of April in the Lighthouse in The Hague. Want to find out more about the event? Keep reading about Benjamins experience of attending last year's Youth Speak Forum! What is Youth...

The essence of feminism

The essence of feminism

How can we transmit the essence of feminism? -by Iasmina Caramidariu A lot of people are reluctant when it comes to feminism and gender equality. It still seems like a TABOO for people to talk about. Why is it so? Why is feminism seen in a bad name even if it's just a...

Climate Action in Italy

I will take you on a journey of climate action, joy, tears, and development through Italy. It was the 1st of June 2021 when I decided that I will go on a volunteering project with AIESEC  in Torino. I decided that I want to be part of the change. Bringing my...

How to make your marketing internship a success?

How to make your marketing internship a success?

When you look through the AIESEC opportunity portal and search for Global Talent projects, you come across loads of business and marketing internship. Lucky for you if you are interested in doing one of those! But you might wonder why there are so many? Well, that is...

Your exchange packing list

Your exchange packing list

As the summer vacation is approaching, so are many volunteering projects and internships. But what to pack on such a new exciting experience? Even if you have been abroad many times and are an expert in packing, there are sure to be moments when you miss a thing or two. To help you have the best preparation for your project, or any other vacation, we made a special AIESEC exchange packing list!

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

Inspired, empowered and ready for change: The story of four young leaders in the contemporary world

When we talk about young leaders, people quickly think of Greta Thunberg or Mark Zuckerberg, due to their media attention or Greta’s well-known, activist speeches on climate change. But more quietly, the world is packed with young, inspirational leaders, trying to create a more stable, sustainable and inclusive world for future generations, minority groups or the society they are part of.

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

Discovering culture in Morocco: An exchange to Marrakech

When I decided to participate in the Nour project of AIESEC, I felt like I did something impulsive yet brave. I never went abroad on my own before. I always had people I could depend on like friends and family. This time I wanted to challenge myself by doing this project on my own, and I wanted to discover and embrace another culture.

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

3 Inspiring TED talks on inequality

We’ve pulled together some inspiring TED talks for you to watch about inequality. The speakers in these videos describe their view on inequality and what the world needs in order to change this. Let these people inspire you, to create new ways of thinking about inequality and the road to changing this.

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

4 Tips to make your CV stand out

On average, recruiters spend 5 to 7 seconds screening a CV before deciding whether to continue with the applicant or not. It equals the average time that we spend looking at an Instagram post on our feed. So, here are some tips that can help your CV stand out in a large pool of applicants.

Interested?

Take the first step.

Book a free consultation call in one of our cities to explore your opportunities!