I’m sure many of you have experienced it; here is a great space to read and share your own experiences of culture shock!
AIESEC’s Secret to Longevity
AIESEC was not like other student organizations that I became involved with as a business student at McGill university in the 1970’s. I belonged to a few associations concerned with investment and entrepreneurship, but their focus was local. Having lived in a foreign country for the first twelve years of my life, I was drawn to AIESEC’s global operations and outlook. My family and I had immigrated to Canada from Lebanon, so I was comfortable with diversity and the idea that the world was a big place. What I didn’t realize is that AIESEC and its powerful reach is much larger than I first thought.
It was in AIESEC that I discovered for the first time my leadership style and it hasn’t changed since. After gaining some solid experience in the business community by soliciting and raising internships for the McGill local committee, I became Eastern Regional Director for AIESEC Canada. I was responsible for reviving and growing the local committees of Quebec and the Maritimes. This role pushed me to be decisive and make executive decisions while coaching, motivating and guiding members to strengthen their local teams. I was making a contribution by helping others reach their goals, and today as a seasoned member of an intentional consulting firm, I am happy to be doing the same.
On a personal front, AIESEC has made me realize how precious human relationships are. I made some wonderful life-long friends such as Bob Crockett and Jim Miller who asked me to join AIESEC Canada’s Board of Advisors. I was fortunate to have gone on two summer internships; one to Neuchatel, Switzerland and the other to Stockholm, Sweden where I met like-minded people from halfway across the world. There were about 25 foreign interns in Stockholm with me that summer and not only did we feel connected but welcomed in a place other than our own home. To this day, Stockholm feels like a familiar place to me and one that is close to my heart.
I have lived in Paris now for over 25 years and continue to meet people all over Europe who, at one point in their life, have been involved with AIESEC. I find it extraordinary that the organization has survived for five decades and has such far reaching exposure around the world. I know that personally, AIESEC has provided me with a personal richness that will stay with me forever-maybe that’s the secret to its longevity!
Director, McKinsey & Company
For more articles on AIESEC alumni, click here.