AIESEC Australia


AIESEC is the global youth network impacting the world through leadership development experiences. Present in 124 countries and territories, AIESEC is the world's largest youth-run organisation. Run by youth and for youth (18-30 yrs), we envision the 'peace and fulfilment of humankind's potential'.

In a world, which faces many different global challenges, we believe that the present-day solution is to develop responsible and entrepreneurial youth leaders today.

More particularly, AIESEC Australia has been present in Australia for 50 years, with chapters in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Our main two exchange programs, the Global Citizen (Volunteer Abroad) and Global Talent (Work Abroad) programs have enabled thousands of students to go overseas over the years.

Our exchange participants have had the opportunity to experience a different culture, to work with other international interns and develop their leadership.


United States


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I've always been that one spontaneous friend in the group; that one friend who consistently and conscientiously brings up ideas that we could do. I always change my mind and half the time I change them over. AIESEC in Hungary was something I never even thought of. At the beginning of 2013, I had no plans to travel alone. Little did I know, a random 'what-if' had sprung up and I applied. In my head, it was all just something I would apply for to see what would happen or if I could even get in. I did. And so, this little 'Jess-Plan' as my best friends name it became a 'Jess-ends-up-in-Hungary-for-Summer-Vacation'.

I never really thought I'd be into teaching. My program with the Bolyai Janos School in Szombathely, a city near the border of Hungary and Austria, was as far off my entire life direction had ever been. By the end of 2013, I had finished my second year of a Bachelor of Engineering and Arts degree. I had no experience in teaching (especially English as a second language), save for a few tutoring students.

I chose Hungary because it was a country I had never known anything about. I did not know the language (which happens to be by far one of the most interesting and intricate languages in my experience), or the customs. So I decided to take a leap. Even the city I was staying in (a whopping 3 hour train trip from Budapest), I did not know until I decided to Google it in a hotel room in Hong Kong two nights before my arrival.

I was assigned to two host families to stay. With their help, I settled in. Hungarian customs are interesting. The Hungarian word for Hello AND Goodbye is 'Szia!' (see-ya). They also said 'Hello' as a farewell. You can imagine the confusion for about the first week or so.

I was assigned to aid teachers in the Language Department. A majority of my days were in the office reading and taking walks around the school where I could meet the students, many of which were too timid to approach a native English speaker. Although I was bored quite often, my positive experiences had overtaken the negative. My host family took me skiing in the Austrian Alps, they took me to see the neighbouring castles and they made delicious food every night!

The children I talked to were really enthusiastic. Regardless of the language barrier, we all cried together at the end of my stay. I have never thought that I would be so attached to strangers and students in this environment.

I had a wonderful white-summer. This experience had opened my eyes to the world around me.

How can this program be improved?
A more diverse range of opportunities and a higher inclusion rate.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I went to Philippines with AIESEC Australia for 6 weeks. Compared to other volunteering programs this is entirely student run and comparatively low price. The price sometimes is not inclusive of accommodation but that is what you expect from a student-run organisation. To ensure safety it is up to your own will to make sure you have all the travel insurance, and other safety procedures required, which is understandable. The adminstration fee was $700 only to find a project and get into the system. However, for my airfares it was $1000. My accommodation was $220. I spent around $30 on all my travelling and food was around $250 (because I also wanted to try more expensive meals.) I also spent more on other expenses that were not compulsory. So overall, it was relatively cheap.
For a student-run organisation it brings in such a business viewpoint that has successfully shown its success for 50 years in Australia. And over 50 worldwide.

How can this program be improved?
The organisation is definitely changing in they way that needed improving when I was doing their Global Citizen program. Their website was out to date and people had to pay to get access into the types of programs available.
I believe the best thing they should do is get the projects ready and prepare for at least 6 months to ensure the quality.
A lot of the students who volunteer in these committees often get demotivated if they haven't been on these programs themselves. This needs to be addressed somehow to ensure quality.
Yes, I recommend this program
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When in doubt, ask questions. Do not assume that things will get solved, you have to be proactive and speak up! If you feel that your questions are not being attended to then escalate the issue. Do not worry about beating the bush - nothing will get done if you do.

How can this program be improved?
The program was overall a little disorganised. People did not know what was required, when they had to be where or how to fulfil expectations. (For example, the first day that I was supposed to be teaching at the school I arrived there at 7AM and the school was closed for that day)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Going on an exchange program with AIESEC was an incredibly life-changing experience. It was completely different from what I expected - it was much more than just a 'volunteer program' just to make its participants feel good about giving back. Rather than 'voluntourism', AIESEC's Global Citizen Program is all about developing its participants into responsible young leaders. It challenges young people in a foreign environment, expanding their global awareness through deep cultural emersion and working closely with communities. The projects themselves deal with a social issues prevalent in the country, allowing exchange participants from across the world to understand and begin their journey towards becoming a global citizen and taking responsibility for world issues beyond their local sphere. And further, each project is worked on by a group of interns from across the world, meaning each exchange participant is also able to develop cross-cultural teamwork and communication skills, while understanding cultures beyond just the country the exchange takes place. In AIESEC, the NGOs, schools etc. partner with AIESEC so that interns across the world can provide value to them. In this way, this emphasises the impact the AIESEC can make on the individual as well as the country, by actually being a valuable asset to the NGOs/schools etc. with their knowledge from abroad.

As a result, the experience you get is one that teaches you about responsible leadership, and really challenges you to find yourself and your goals in life. I really encourage all young people to have this experience, as the things we learn today will change how we move the world tomorrow.

How can this program be improved?
Better expectations about day-to-day teachings beforehand as to what I could bring from my home country to help with the learning of the children.
Yes, I recommend this program


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