For my second blog post I decided to write about how I came to Canada and the specific organization that enabled this experience – AIESEC.
What is AIESEC?
In my first year of university I got to know many student clubs and other organizations. I wanted to do more things than just attending classes, I was decided to participate in something else. I remember hearing about this organization called AIESEC, the largest student-run NGO in the world, and it immediately caught my attention. I got to know a bit more about it and I loved the fact that it could provide me a practical management experience while studying (I was studying marketing management).
AIESEC is an amazing organization that aims to provide leadership experiences to young people through (1) international internships (professional and volunteer) and (2) team experiences (working as a member in your country providing those exchange opportunities).
AIESEC, a NGO with 66 years of experience, is present in 125 countries, 2,400 Universities and has more than 750 local offices worldwide. Providing around 30,000 international experiences a year with 100,000 members across the globe.-AIESEC in Numbers.
My AIESEC experience
I joined AIESEC in ISCTE (a local office in my university) almost 4 years ago. I started my path in AIESEC as a corporate sales team member, my main responsibility was to allocate international recent graduates in Portuguese companies. As I moved forward in my AIESEC path I started realizing how powerful and meaningful it was for young people and how powerful it was as a whole, not just for my own experience and my own growth. I decided to take on a leadership opportunity after only some months of experience, I was then managing a small team of corporate sales.
I decided to give the first of my two big steps in AIESEC. I applied to be part of the executive board of the local office of AIESEC in Portugal and I was selected after going through the second hardest selection process I’ve experienced. I was handling an entire portfolio responsible to bring internationals to work in Portugal. Together with the rest of the executive board we were managing, in our early 20s, an office of more than 100 people, delivering almost 80 exchanges in one year. In the end of my term my team was able to grow 300% comparing to the previous year sales. After this year, I was done university but I didn’t feel like I was done with AIESEC, I wanted to continue to contribute to this great organization that I consider so important for the future of my country and to my own future.
Finally I applied for the national executive team of AIESEC in Portugal. I was applying for a full time job, full time commitment and one year of my life. Together with 13 other people I decided to submit my candidacy to the position of Vice-President of AIESEC in Portugal. I was, with other 5 great individuals, elected to be VP of AIESEC in Portugal. We were 7 people managing 10 local offices and more than 700 members and 400 exchanges. I can say this was the most amazing, challenging, intense and tiring experience of my life. I grew more than in any other year of my life, both personally and professionally.
In the end it is hard to actually explain how much you grow and how many things you experience in AIESEC for someone that has never lived it. I can say for sure that AIESECers have a different attitude towards life and work, we have a proactive “go get it” attitude, we are globally aware, self-aware and great communicators.
How I choose Calgary, Canada
After my year as national VP I decided that to finish my AIESEC experience I’d need to actually try what I’ve been selling for these past years. I decided I wanted to have an international experience. Starting a corporate career AIESEC was definitely my best shot!
How did I chose Canada? Well I didn’t. I was looking for the right company with the right job description. I found that after lots of hours seeking in the database, Nureva was the one I selected. After that I just needed to make sure I’d get the job! I spent a fair amount of hours preparing for my interview, looking for the possible people who would interview me, learning about the company, the country and the city as well as reflecting on my learnings and past experiences.
This is the story of how AIESEC changed my path and gave me so many opportunities. With everything I learned AIESEC is still contributing so much for my current professional development and success.