What position do you hold at AIESEC Australia? What has been your career path so far?
Mei: I am currently the President of AIESEC Australia where I manage all the strategies and activities that are going on in Australia, ensuring alignment to our global direction.
I started out back in 2011 in Business Development where I was liaising and forming partnerships for our organisation. I then became in charge of this department in my local office back in the University of Western Australia, Perth.
Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in Singapore as the Vice-President of Incoming Operations. I then came back to Australia to manage Business Development on a national level as the Vice-President of Business Development.
Did you volunteer or intern abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Mei: Yes, I did a volunteer exchange abroad. I chose to go to Egypt through an AIESEC exchange. I went in the midst of the revolution in Egypt, in December 2011.
The reason I chose Egypt was because I really wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and experience working in a culture that was really foreign to me. I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could stretch.
Besides, being part of AIESEC, I had heard many good experiences of people who had returned from their exchanges and I really wanted to experience it for myself.
What makes AIESEC Australia's programs special?
Mei: There are a few things that makes the AIESEC program unique. Firstly, AIESEC's global learning environment. The AIESEC exchange allows you to go to a foreign country where you will be received by the local AIESEC members also known as "AIESECers". In addition, you will usually be teamed up with AIESEC volunteers/interns from other parts of the world, who are also going through the same experience.
Secondly, AIESEC fully immerses you in the culture and environment you are going to. You live like the locals and the local AIESECers take you where they usually go.
Finally, and this is the best part, AIESEC allows you to shape your own experience. It is up to you to see how far you want to take the program, how much you want to commit. The principle is simple: The more you give, the more you get out. That is also the principle I live by in everything that I do.
What is your favorite story of an AIESECer's experience via AIESEC Australia?
Mei: My favorite story of an AIESECer's experience in Australia is that of David Pirozzi's. He was from the University of Sydney and was the President of the Local Committee there.
After his experience, he decided that he wanted to start up AIESEC in Laos as he believed that young people in Laos should have the same opportunity to enjoy these experiences through AIESEC and be more connected to the world. Since then, he applied to be the Expansions manager of Laos and has been there since 2013.
This is my favorite story because it showed me the wide-ranging opportunities AIESEC provides and where you can take your own AIESEC experience. So long as you decide to do it, and commit to the opportunity, anything can happen. Also, it shows AIESEC Australia's contribution to our global network. Now, young people in Laos can also have the opportunity to enjoy the experience of our programs.
Any tips for someone considering an AIESEC Australia program?
Mei: I would give this same tip that I received back in 2011, which helped me decide about going on an AIESEC exchange. If you are thinking about joining the AIESEC Australia program, just sign up and commit yourself to it.
We always make excuses for ourselves such as "but I haven't decided what to do over summer" or "I might be visiting my friends in...".
The best thing I did for myself was to go home that night, sit myself down and sign up for an AIESEC exchange program. Not only did it help me decide what to do for my summer, it really allowed me to see the world from a different perspective and through the experience, gain so much more confidence in everything that I do.