A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Hello there potential and current Leiden University students. As the academic year draws to an end, I got to thinking about how involved I was with student associated events and organizations this past year. I wonder whether I should have pushed myself to leave the safety of the library and venture out into the great unknown – a.k.a join one of the student organizations scattered all around Leiden town. Yet I think the biggest hurdle was the lack of information I had about what was out there.
As students, we quickly become familiar with the fact that Leiden is the Ibiza of frats and sororities, yet what I didn’t know was that aside from the Minerva-Quintus-Augustinus continuum lies a land of real organizations with real potential for self-development and career growth. I decided it would be a fruitful idea to interview my friend Elselyn Tan-van Reyswoud who has been at AIESEC for over six months as an account manager to get more information about AIESEC and determine how students can get involved with the organization.
Elselyn, can you tell us what AIESEC means to you
AIESEC is an organizations run by students with the goal of developing yourself and other students around the world into leaders.
And how does AIESEC accomplish that?
There are several different ways AIESEC strives to do that. I’m currently on the AIESEC Leiden board doing what’s called a board year. So there are basically three options:
1. Board year: Where you join a local committee which offers university students the opportunity to sit on the local AIESEC board and help in the day-to-day management of AIESEC.
2. The Global Community Development Program (GCDP): The second option is a volunteer program. If you decide to take this track you become involved in different NGO’s and organizations. For example we have a current program that is focused on going to eight different countries in Africa and South East Asia and working with organizations there to help create awareness about HIV and AIDS.
3. Global Internship Program (GIP): The third track is the global internship program which gives students the opportunity to do an internship globally in their field of interest.
If you are interested in GCDP or GIP you pay a fee and AIESEC takes care of everything for you.
What is your role?
I work with the incoming exchange team. That means that I handle students coming from abroad to do internships in Leiden and the Hague area. I find companies that are interested in international trainees and we set up meetings with them and see if they are interested in what we are doing and if so we find someone who matches the profile they are looking for. Once they take on students as an intern I start administrative processes, including setting up students visa, housing, bank account, insurance etc.
How have you personally benefited from being on the AIESEC board?
First of all it looks great on my CV. I have also learn a lot of skills that I wouldn’t normally learn at school. I believe that the skills you pick up will make you stand out among other students. Basically I’ve built up skills that average students don’t learn in school. And as a bonus I’ve also made some great friends!
And what’s AIESEC Leiden like?
If you decide to become part of the board you will be required to be in the office a few hours a week. We have 16 people in our Leiden committee for the 2014-2015 year. We operate completely in English and have international staff so international students will definitely feel welcome if they decide to join. Also every Tuesday night we have a local committee meeting where we talk about stuff that needs to be done. We also do a lot of workshops on things like leadership, skills building in sales cold calling and other hands-on practices.
How to get involved
If you want to join the board, its a year long commitment so we do recruitment every summer and winter. If you want to do a global internship or development you can come by the office and make an appointment. We also do in house training days with companies that you can sign up on our Facebook page without being an AIESEC member.
Where is the AIESEC office in Leiden?
The Plexus Building!
And what are the requirements to join?
The only requirement for all three tracks (Board Year, GCDP or GIP) is that you are a university student.
If you want to be involved or find out more check out AEISAC’s Facebook page:
Give them a call
Or go visit them at the Plexus building!