In college at the Ateneo de Manila University, I was very active in the student organization AIESEC.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend much time in the university local chapter as I worked immediately and mainly for the AIESEC Philippines National Committee as the public relations officer.
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I also did a stint at AIESEC International as the Regional Development Officer (RDO) for Asia-Pacific.
This was just about the most amazing job a graduate with a travel bug could have. I traveled the entire region, visiting AIESEC chapters in each country and living out of a suitcase.
What an experience that was. So I know first-hand the transforming experience that AIESEC the world over offers its members and even non-members who participate in its traineeships.
Monnik Togle, an exchange participant from AIESEC Ateneo de Manila University (AIESEC AdMU) spent six weeks interning for an NGO in Palermo, Italy.
Get to know why she went on the AIESEC exchange program and how it made a difference for her – as it did for me.
“Strapped to my seat on the flight from Manila to Palermo, Italy with all strangers beside me, it finally struck me that I was going on this trip to Europe alone.
I was already 19 years old, but this was my first time to go outside the country.
Working in AIESEC for three years and hearing about Exchange first hand from participants who left, as well as those who arrived here from different countries, I decided I could not possibly ignore the opportunities that AIESEC had to offer.
I finally decided to take up this “challenge” last summer: to be independent in an unfamiliar place, with people I did not know, and who came from different backgrounds and cultures, working on a project created by locals who did not speak English.
The internship itself was in Palermo, Italy.
Palermo is part of the region of Sicily that’s already a mosaic of different cultures: Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Norman, Spanish, to name a few.
For six weeks, I worked on a project to raise funds for a local NGO in the city.
It was a new experience, being able to organize events successfully with the help of fellow AIESECers in a foreign place.
Although executing and organizing the project well ensured a successful internship, the fulfilment and rewards of the whole experience certainly did not end there.
It helped me with self-development and re-shaped how I perceived the world.
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I also realized how small this big world can get when you travel, and I enjoyed the moments I spent with people from diverse backgrounds.
Hostel searching and Couch Surfing helped me get around Europe on a budget. This is where I met more student travellers from different countries.
Like it or not, I realized I represented my country when I went travelling – both to locals and to other travellers. I actually wanted to know more about the Philippines because we were all sharing stories from home.
AIESEC made it possible for me to experience this adventure at a very young age, and it was priceless. I urge you to grab this same opportunity if you can.
My AIESEC internship was merely a two-month experience, but the lessons learned here will last a lifetime. It was a humbling yet overwhelming experience. I became a sponge, absorbing every detail and sensation of a new location.
AIESEC AdMU regularly hosts a series of orientation seminars on its exchange programs.