U of G AIESEC chapter gives students international work experience
The University of Guelph is hosting the provincial conference for AIESEC, the world’s largest international student organization, Oct. 1 to 3. More than 100 students and recent graduates from Ontario’s 10 AIESEC chapters will come to Guelph to participate in training sessions.
“We are a global organization in 89 countries run totally by university students and recent graduates,” said local committee president Stephanie Hajer, a fourth-year bachelor of commerce student. “Since AIESEC offers more than 350 conferences, 3,500 international internships and 5,000 leadership positions each year, it’s great to meet with other Ontario members to keep on top of new opportunities.”
The U of G chapter of AIESEC is helping more students work abroad this year than any other Canadian AIESEC chapter. In 2004 alone, eight Guelph students will gain international work experience and AIESEC will bring four students to Guelph from other countries.
“The goal of the AIESEC exchange program is to give students international work experience,” said Darcy Belisle, a recent U of G master of arts graduate who will be teaching English at Silesian University in Karvina, Czech Republic, from October to June. “Upon return to Canada, students have a competitive edge to get a job or to get into a graduate program.”
To apply for an AIESEC opportunity, students must submit an application, then go through an interview process. Once a student is admitted to the program, he or she has access to a huge international job database. If a candidate is selected for a job, AIESEC arranges all of the travel documentation, said Hajer.
Belisle admits that he’s making only enough money to get by in the Czech Republic. “The quality of the work experience is a bigger incentive than the money.”
Obtaining that kind of quality work experience doesn’t come easily to young people, said Hajer. In summer 2004, the Guelph AIESEC chapter sent B.Sc. Student Jaana Kasitkainen to New Delhi, India, to work for a rural health-care clinic. Dan McCartney, a 2003 B.Sc. graduate, went to Bombay, India, to work with abused children in a hospital for UNICEF. Laura Little, a 2004 international development graduate, went to Bonn, Germany, to work in the finance department of Deutsche Post.
Because AIESEC has branches all over the world, Guelph companies have the opportunity to obtain employees who will bring a broad international perspective, says Hajer. Yip Seow Teng of Malaysia recently arrived in Guelph to work for Crompton and Co., Jens Heger of Germany began working in the Hospitality and Tourism Management office this month and Farrukh Gaffarov of Cyprus is a new web developer with the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.
For more information about the U of G AIESEC chapter or the conference, visit www.uoguelph.ca/~aiesec.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.