AIESEC is a youth run organization through which I traveled the world and lived across different continents for several years doing foreign internships. Originally a French acronym, it stands for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales, which in English is, International Association of Students in Economics and Commercial Sciences. However, the full name is no longer officially used as members can now be graduates and undergraduates from any university background. For more information, please visit aiesec.org.
From Asia to Africa to South America to North & Central America via Europe
I like to introduce myself as a compulsive AIESECer. Originally from AIESEC Singapore, I gave my interview at AIESEC Malaysia, I did my first two exchange programs in AIESEC Nigeria spanning 1.5 years, I did my next two internships in AIESEC Venezuela spanning 2 years, I did my final two internships in AIESEC Costa Rica spanning 3 years, after which I published my first book and became a permanent resident of Costa Rica. I actively participated at AIESEC events, regional and national conferences in all the countries I lived, throughout my exchange years and afterwards, not just as a member or delegate, but also as a performer, speaker, author and motivator, encouraging students from local committees to go on exchanges.
April 2007 to September 2008, I lived In Africa, Nigeria and worked as a Marketing Executive at the Nigeria Model United Nations Society – NigMUNS in Abuja, and then at Goge Africa in Lagos, which is an African TV show, when I had a chance to co-organize a career counseling & guidance session for high school students from schools all across Lagos on behalf of Goge Africa Foundation – GAF.
April 2009 to March 2011, I lived in South America, Venezuela and worked as an English Teacher at Wall Street Institute – WSI and Centro Venezolano Americano del Zulia – CEVAZ in Maracaibo.
March 2011 to September 2013, I did my final internships in Central America, Costa Rica where I was selected for a global exchange via Germany at Deutsche Post – DHL teaching Business Communication & Corporate English to supervisors and managers, as well as taught English at Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano – CCCN. During my DHL tenure, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local home, Hogar Siembra in San Rafael de Alajuela, teaching English & communication skills to sexually abused and orphaned teenage girls.
Below are a few pictures from my AIESEC internships, conferences, local tours, hosts or just hanging out with AIESECers.
After publishing my first book, magicNine – a true account of the inner adventures of a young girl to consciousness in Costa Rica, I became a motivational speaker often lecturing at local universities, institutions, schools, hotels, AIESEC events, and other distinguished platforms, on evolutionary topics as a guest speaker and performer, where I combined book events with dance shows. I still live in Costa Rica, and right now I am publishing my second book titled, Life is Abracadabra – 21 magical stories from my travels across the globe that will make you look at life with new eyes, and a third book titled, Nrit – the dream of finding the self inspired by true events, which I intend to turn into a feature film post publication. During this time, I also published an Inspirational Calendar and an Inspirational Journal – the world of dreams is right here in three variations internationally. You can find all my publications for online purchase at my Store or on Amazon.
And recently, I was invited to deliver six TEDx talks internationally, across India, Costa Rica, USA, all of which can be found on the TEDx channel or shared through my website at TED Talks. My TEDx talk titled “How to travel the world at the drop of a hat” mentions AIESEC at 9:09 minutes, and yet another book following this title is in the making.
Not only has AIESEC changed my life shaping the person I am today as an author, speaker, performer, from a confused IT student at university in Singapore, trying to make sense of reality, but it has also helped me discover my passion and purpose in life. During my journeys across the globe, I had the opportunity to perceive life through myriad mirrors of reality, trying to understand human suffering, dysfunctional belief systems of diverse societies, the root cause of all diseases, what happens after death, light and shadow aspects of our consciousness, and so on. From Asia to Europe to Africa to South America to North & Central America, I have lived with local families, eating their food, adopting their lifestyles, contributing to their economy, inhabiting their culture, navigating extreme realities and belief systems, observing varied traditions and religions whence beliefs are formed, scanning the energy of each country I resided for several years to answer life’s most pertinent questions. Coming from a conservative family background in India, I had to overcome all limitations to fly in the direction of my dreams!
From a Computing graduate to a marketing executive to a German interpreter, English teacher, Spanish translator, to now a writer, orator, dancer, actor, mysterious coincidences have led me from one continent to another, contriving me to live my destiny, my true legacy! I had the opportunity to positively impact thousands of lives across the world during my exchanges with AIESEC, and my upcoming book ‘Life is Abracadabra’ is a collection of magical stories and marvelous encounters from these adventures, recounting true anecdotes of hope and faith, of magic and miracles. To see the book from an AIESEC perspective, here are some questions to ponder:
- Have you heard of any AIESEC intern who has written a book about their experiences?
- How do you think most AIESEC interns would handle a crisis situation, like getting mugged at gunpoint, your landlord dying in front of you at a house robbery, or losing all your money so you can’t even leave the country?
- Do you believe all AIESEC interns could transform themselves from being really shy to a motivational speaker?
- Do you know someone who has encountered her life purpose & passion while walking the AIESEC path?
To recap, here are the salient features of my AIESEC journey:
- 9 years, 5 continents, 6 exchanges
- 1 global internship at Deutsche Post – DHL
- Brought value to thousands of lives
- Published first book on AIESEC exchange
- Extraordinary insights to impart
- Second and third books on the roll
- Impacting current AIESECers with my work
Here is a video of my surprise farewell party thrown by Goge Africa in Nigeria demonstrating some foot-tapping salsa dancing I learned there, and below that my bollywood dance performances at AIESEC UNA Global Village and AIESEC TEC Social Heroes in Costa Rica to draw students to our booths, encouraging them to go on exchanges along with more excerpts from the events:
On a recent trip to Los Angeles where I went to do a TEDx event and speak with filmmakers about my books, I had a chance to meet and interact with the local AIESEC team and some alumni members from USC and UCLA. I met Maggie Gisel, President of AIESEC Life LA of which I also became a member, who helped me on the trip and invited me at an AIESEC Alumni gathering near USC, which was fantastic. Below is my performance at TEDxResedaBlvd, which is a metaphoric description of my journeys through the globe, like the River of Life flowing across the earth in search of her true destiny.
I salute AIESEC and acknowledge the immense value it has rendered in my life, by enabling the foreign internships through which I could see the world, specifically local chapters in Singapore, Malaysia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Germany, Costa Rica and USA. Once an AIESECer, always an AIESECer, whether I am an exchange participant, a mere LC member, or an alumna.
- AIESEC was started in 1948 post World War II in Europe by a group of student rebels who wanted to see a different world. They hoped to change the world, one person at a time, one internship at a time. Today it is the world’s largest non-profit, non-governmental, student run organization established in over 127 countries.
- AIESEC provides young people with leadership development, cross-cultural global internships, and volunteer exchange experiences across the globe. The organization focuses on empowering youths to make a positive impact on society. Run by students, for students, the AIESEC network includes more than 27,000 members and burgeoning across universities worldwide.
- AIESEC is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN DPI) and UN’s Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, member of ICMYO and recognized by UNESCO. Its international headquarters is in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
- AIESEC internships duration could vary from 8 weeks to 78 weeks and there are four types of exchanges: Management, Developmental, Technical, and Educational. I ended up doing management, developmental and educational work during my foreign internships.
- Below are some famous AIESECers who created history; click to enlarge each image and learn more about them: