Nothing to do for a few weeks, or maybe months? Ambition to cross borders? AIESEC can help you find an internship abroad, and also provides support for formal issues, as well as the social aspects of doing an internship in another country. EM talked with two students who are or went abroad with AIESEC: Vikash Ramsoedh and Jochem Cuppen.
Vikash Ramsoedh is a Dutch Economics student who is currently doing his two-month internship in Ukraine for the AIESEC Act.in.UA project, where he is coaching a group of students and young professionals in setting up a project. Jochem Cuppen is a Dutch RSM student who took part in an environmental project called ‘Tree Branch’ at a university in Malaysia for seven weeks.
A lot of fun
Why did these two students decide to go abroad? For Jochem, the main reason to cross borders is quite simple: “First of all and most important is fun. Of course you learn a lot, you meet a lot of people from all over the world, but that’s not the reason why you should go. Fun is.”. Even though Vikash has already travelled a lot, he thinks experiencing yet another new culture is always an eye-opener. He found that some of his prejudices about Eastern-Europe were confirmed, whereas others were proven wrong. For instance, Vikash was surprised to see women walking around in 15cm high heels in Ukraine, when it was minus 25 degrees and snowing. He also didn’t expect the local population to be particularly friendly to strangers, and was pleasantly surprised by their warm hospitality.
Vikash (front, left) in Ukraine
Not a holiday
Both point towards the fact that going abroad for an internship is a lot different from visiting a country for leisure. Jochem: “Living the day-to-day life with local people is way different than just walking around as a tourist.”. He explains that people seem to trust you more when you spend a lot of time with them, which makes you hear and see more of their daily lives. Another benefit of going as an AIESEC intern, according to Jochem, is the relatively cheap price, as most living expenses are covered: “I only had to pay for my own food, which cost me around three to five Euros a day.”.
Want to know more?
So what else does AIESEC have to offer? Not only do they arrange formalities such as obtaining a visa, they also help students to prepare for the experience of living in an unfamiliar culture, and support them while they are doing their internship abroad. Vikash mentions the benefits of having a local AIESEC buddy, who shows him around town and knows the student-life there. For more information about AIESECs internships abroad, check out the website. IS