The Leaders of Tomorrow

AIESEC is one of the largest student run organization in the world. It was founded in 1948 with the idea in mind to promote international exchanges. 67 years later, the organization is still alive and kicking.

The main aim of the organization today is to promote leadership experience among students, but also to promote diversity. These goals are met through a series of exchanges. Students from across the world go to different countries and work there, either with companies or with other organizations. Since AIESEC is present in 125 countries, this offers a wide range of countries from which exchange students can choose. Additionally the interns can choose from a wide range of different projects (teaching, raising awareness of different diseases are just a few of the many examples) seeing as the organization is now very diversified.

Aesec-UA-executive-board-15-16

AIESEC’s UA executive board ’15-’16’

Leadership experience

The members of AIESEC, who often refer to themselves as AIESECers, are entirely responsible for the organization of the exchanges thereby providing them with major leadership experience. While working for AIESEC, the members learn how to become excellent time managers since they have to juggle the passionate work that they do in AIESEC  with their studies. They have the opportunity to gain insight into the corporate world given that they are the one who have to deal with the different companies in which the interns will work.

AIESEC is basically divided into two main departments : incoming exchange and outgoing exchange (though they also have a finance department, a communication department, an external relations department among others, that are crucial to the good functioning of any organization). The former organizes all the projects and internship opportunities and look for interns from abroad who want to participate in these projects. The latter helps local students find internship opportunities abroad and often helps them with all the procedures that are  necessary.

AIESEC University of Antwerp

AIESEC has been present in Antwerp for  over 50 years. In fact, Belgium is one of the founding countries of the organization. In 2004 after the merger that formed the University of Antwerp, AIESEC UFSIA(University Faculties Saint Ignatius Antwerp) and AIESEC RUCA(State University Centre Antwerp) merged to form AIESEC UA.

AIESEC University of Antwerp was created in 1956
It currently has 100 members
AIESEC UA’s partners include Alcatel-Lucent, Intris, VGD STatoil and Slick among others
If you are interested in joining AIESEC or in going on internship, you can visit

 

AIESEC UA’S webpage or their Facebookpage

Belgium was one of the founding countries of AIESEC, together with Denmark, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
Two former Belgian AIESECers became President of AIESEC international. Dirk Ketele in 1982-83 and Robbe van den Wyngaert in 1983-84
Nelson Mandela wrote an endorsement letter for AIESEC where he said “I commend AIESEC’s continuing efforts to develop the future business leadership of our countries.” 

Cultural diversity

AIESEC UA is a very diversified organization, with lots of international students. According to the vice-president of their communication department, Timo Verbrugghe, this helps in bringing different insights and encourage the students into going on exchanges. The companies they work with are also, for the most part, international companies providing once again the experience of cultural diversity to all participants. Trainees come to local committee meeting to share their experience so as to promote cultural diversity among the students. They also encourage their members and interns to go to international conferences, organized by AIESEC, so as to be able to mingle  with foreigners even more.  During these international conferences, there can be as many as 100 different nationalities  and thus really gives the participants the opportunity to experience an international environment.

Though AIESEC UA now tries to focus more on exchanges, it still focuses a lot on tracking the growth of its members. AIESEC is not just about exchanges, it is most importantly about providing leadership experience to youngsters. As the AIESEC motto says, it is about “empowering young people for peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential”.

© 2015 – Verrekijkers Magazine  Laila Hamja (text), AIESEC UA (pictures)

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