In my opinion, the best way is to become a traveler is to travel as much as possible, but on the other hand get to know as much as possible about the culture of the place where you’re going. A few days ago I heard a story about a 27 years old girl, who has been to all the countries all around the world in 18 months. It’s very interesting, and many people might be jealous, but if you take into consideration, what do you think, how many days did she spent in each countries? I guess 3 or 4 days. If I think about it, I spend 3 or 4 days only in 1 city, but seeing New York City for example doesn’t mean I saw the whole United States.
But then how people can learn a lot about a country? As a student I can’t just go abroad with a lot of money and spend as much time there, as I want. I have already written about the Erasmus program, which allows European university students to study abroad for a semester or two. This time I would like to introduce you a program, which allows you to be a volunteer or an intern in a foreign country up to 1.5 year.
The organization you should look for is AIESEC. It’s a student organization which can be found in many universities in more than 100 countries all around the world. They have 3 main parts: if you are a member of AIESEC, you can develop your business and leadership skills in teams. However, if you don’t want to be a member, you can apply for their programs to be a volunteer or an intern in a foreign country. The 3rd part is, when they receive foreign students. I have been a member for 2 years, and I can just say every students must try AIESEC, as they can gain much experience and get to know a lot of people and be friends with.
However, this time I would like to talk about their exchange program, which I participated 2 times already (in India and in Indonesia), and now I’m waiting to go to my 3rd internship to Poland.
It’s a short time program where you can spend 6 to 12 weeks in a foreign country, where you get your accommodation and food for the day, but you receive no salary. There are exceptions of course, I have already saw some opportunities where the volunteers get some pocket money, and I have already seen opportunities where the volunteers needed to pay for the accommodation.
Most volunteer opportunities are related to teaching (mostly languages), but there are some programs for business students as well.
It’s a program for longer period from 12 weeks up to 72 weeks. You receive salary, which you can use for buying your food and pay your accommodation. The salary is not for getting rich, but it’s enough for paying the living costs. It depends on the opportunities as well, for example my salary in India was just OK, but in Indonesia I could save a lot.
Most internship programs are for students majoring in Business, Information Technology, Engineering, Teaching, Human Resources.
The only requirements to participate in these programs is to be an university student or a recent graduated (not more than 2 years). There is a program fee (for the volunteer program you pay less), which includes your profile in the AIESEC portal where you can look for your future place. You get help from AIESEC, they can search positions for you, they help to apply for visa, they help to buy plane ticket in case, they help to find an accommodation, and so. They also go to pick you up when you arrive to your destination and help you to find everything you need. They sometimes organize parties, where you can get to know other AIESEC interns or you can learn more about the country and its culture.
Most opportunities can be found in Asia, especially in India and China, in Central-Europe, like Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, in Germany and South America, where Spanish is required almost everywhere. This doesn’t mean you cannot find any placement in other countries. For instance, Indonesia is not a popular destination for internship programs, and I got my job there.
All in all, the advantages:
- You won’t be scammed. The company and the position you apply for exists, you won’t be accepted by a fake company.
- AIESEC helps you in everything, you don’t need to care that much about finding an accommodation or so.
- You won’t be alone during the internship
- You can get to know a lot of new people, including other expats
- The program fee doesn’t include the visa costs and the travel costs, so you need to take into consideration where you can go.
- At internship program you need to bring additional pocket money to be able to pay everything during the 1st month.
- The process of finding a job takes longer and longer, as AIESEC program are more and more popular. There are more applicants than job opportunities.
I hope you liked my post. In case you have questions, don’t hesitate to write a comment.