6 Things No One Tells You About Travelling

5am in Mui Ne after having travelled for 5 hours on a night bus, completely exhausted and amazed by the view.

1.Travelling is tiring
As exciting as travelling is, there will days where you just feel overwhelmed or exhausted. There will be days where you just don’t feel like doing anything or going anywhere. There will be days where you feel extremely frustrated (maybe due to language barrier, and not being able to communicate with the taxi driver and constantly ending up being lost in the city or 20 minutes late to everywhere). And it is totally normal, it does not mean that you are being ungrateful.

2.You don’t always have company.
It’s not all Instagrammable moments. Yes, it is true that you will meet lot of cool people during travelling but at the same time there are going to be many moments when you will be on your own. That is the perfect way to become more independent, and do exactly what you want and when you want.

3.Food will be an Issue
Even if you are someone like me, who likes to try out new things and experiment with new tastes, you are not always going to love the food. The struggle is bigger when you are allergic to or despise certain foods. One of my friends can’t stand the taste of coriander but 90% of dishes here in Vietnam are seasoned with coriander. Or if you’re vegetarian and you end up in a country where ‘vegetarian’ might just mean picking the ham off a pizza.

4.You will run out of money
I felt such a comfort and relief and I read that others struggle with money too. Even having planned out my budget back in Estonia and not going on crazy shopping splurges here in Vietnam, I seem to spend more than planned. For long-term travelling it is wise get a back-up credit card, sweet talk your parents and be prepared to work

5.You look at home differently
You will start to appreciate things you took for granted but at the same time develop more critical view on certain matters. Travelling gives you a new perspective and broadens your thinking.

6.Untold stories
The best stories and most memorable adventures will happen during travelling. And there will be stories and moments that you will not capture with your camera or will not be able to wholly re-tell to someone. But this is exactly why we travel and what we look for.

How To Buy Cheap Plane Tickets?

Getting the best priced plane tickets is something I am very passionate about. I can spend hours searching online just to make sure I would get the cheapest ticket. Here are my top 4 hacks that I use when buying plane tickets.

1.This is actually something I discovered quite recently, and I have to admit this did save me some euros.
Go incognito on your web browser.
This allows a person to browse the Web without storing local data that could be retrieved at a later date. Meaning that if you have previously searched for certain plane tickets, with incognito mode you can make sure that you are being presented with the lowest prices, and not being tricked into buying the expensive ones.

2.If you are a fan of web sites like momondo.com or skyskanner.net, then sometimes you can get even cheaper prices if you buy tickets straight from the airlines official site. For example few days ago I bought a ticket from Stockholm to Tallinn and checked momondo.com for it. When I started to pay for the ticket, the webpage charged me extra for the type of credit card I am using. So just in case I checked the airlines official page, the price was the same but without the extra payment cost.

3.Usually you get the best price if you buy few months in advance, and especially this applies if you are planning to fly during a busy season (e.g. holidays) or you are planning an intercontinental trip. For example last year I visited Barcelona during New Years, and checked the tickets in August (they were under 200 Euros) but I expected the price to drop. Finally bought my ticket in November for 300 something euros. So if you spot a good deal, act on it, don’t wait.

4.If possible, be flexible with the dates. This guarantees you the best price. Usually when buying tickets they show you also the prices if you were to fly up to 3 days earlier or later than the date you have inserted to the search engine. This way you can choose the best time and ticket price combination.

How to Travel Light

Summer is here, which for many of us means adventures, travelling around and discovering new places whether that be aboard or road tripping across your home country. To make the experience more comfortable we have put together a list of tips how to travel light and how to decide what you should pack with you and what items you can leave behind.

 

1. Before we even get to packing, we need something where to store our things- meaning a comfortable carry on. Do invest into a good carry-on. It is a mistake I make all the time: thinking that my current suitcase is good enough and I always forget what is feels to literally carry it around instead of strolling around with it. If you prefer a suitcase, the easiest to carry around are with 4 wheels, and even some backpacks do come with wheels. Often times carry-ons themselves weigh differently, so do get the lightest one.

2. Before moving to the list of items to take with you, let’s talk more about bags to travel with. One quite popular advice is to get a bit smaller bag than what you are normally used to traveling with to insure that only the necessary things come with you to the trip.

3. One of the things that always takes too much room in the bag are different toiletries (e.g hair products, deodorant, and toothpaste). Unless you’re traveling to a remote village with no electricity or running water, purchase all of your toiletries at your destination, and leave these bulky items behind and save room in your bag.

4. Netanya Trimboli, Communications Manager at Hostelling International USA has recommended to go through a list of qualities a clothing item needs to have in order to travel light

Your ideal travel clothing is durable, takes up minimal space and weight, is wrinkle-free and opaque, and matches with the rest of your clothing in style and fit.

Versatile, low-maintenance clothing is key to packing light. Consider these 5 factors that make an article of clothing desirable when traveling and aim to have each piece you bring satisfy at least 3 of them:

  • Comfortable for touring around, but can be dressed up for the evening
  • Is appropriate for cool or warm weather
  • Doesn’t show stains
  • Folds up small
  • Coordinates well with almost everything else you’re bringing

 5. Only pack enough clothes for 7 days, no matter how long you’re traveling for. It is easier to find a laundromat once a week than it is to carry all of the extra weight around with you the entire trip.

 

7 Airport Hacks

As I am writing this, I have been in Vietnam for almost 2 hours, I am sitting at a café, I just ate something delicious (but way too spicy for someone who is used to eating boiled potatoes aka your typical Estonian). Within the past almost 48 hours I have either waited for a plane at an airport or been on a plane. And here are some thoughts and a mini survival guide to airport life.

  1. Something that I realized while waiting for a plane at London’s airport: Cheap fares do not necessarily mean saving money. I got my tickets to Ho Chi Minh City relevantly cheap compared to other offers online (saved around 200 euros compared to the average ticket price). But the alternative cost included long layovers, buying airport food, and not having a good sleep. So by the time I made it to Vietnam, my saved euros from the ticket fare were almost cut to half. I guess cheap fares are beneficial only without multiple long layovers.
  2. If your checked-in luggage is underweight, re-arrange your things from your hand luggage to make it lighter because you’ll be carrying that one around. The lighter the better
  3. Pack an empty water bottle in your carry-on. Something I did not do this time and EVERYtime I needed to go through security again I thought of it (but did not act on it). To avoid paying huge mark-ups for bottled water at the airport, bring your own empty bottle (which will go through security just fine) and fill up at a water fountain after the checkpoint.
  4. Bring a portable phone charger: For example at Doha airport I could not find a place where to charge my phone. It’s not always guaranteed you’ll be able to charge your phone (or laptop) at airport.
  5. If you have a longer layover think about the opportunity to visit the city. I’ve done that couple of times when the distance between the city and the airport has not been too time consuming and when it’s not crazy expensive to actually get to the city.
  6. This one is very important when it comes to flights with long layovers: check every now and then your flight info from the screens. Often times the departure time or gate is changed.
  7. If possible move your most valuable things into your hand-luggage. For example I had my laptop the whole time with me, my perfume, and sometimes even some clothing items just in case the something were to happen to the check-in luggage

Millennials, Are We a Tech Savvy Generation?

The millennials. There are gazillion titles and ways to categorize us and define us. One of the numerous characteristics of Millennials is that we are the tech generation or at least this is how we are constantly referred to and how we like to see ourselves. You know, when your mom can’t figure out why wifi is not connecting on her phone and you’re the one who has to solve the problem, or how we have an app for every life situation, and let’s not forget the crazy amount of social media we consume.

On average teenagers spend 6-9 hours per day on their social media platforms, digital marketing is the new way to reach the younger generation and the Millennials are changing the way we interact with others.

As reported by www.independent.co.uk Millennials choose their holiday destination based on the “Instragrammabilityt” of the location.

Gary Vaynerchuk predicts during the next few years online dating (app based dating) will become a new norm.

And according to BusinessInsider.com :“Millennials tend to opt out of cable-television services. A study found 26% of millennials have never had pay-TV services, but more than 70% take advantage of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu“

We are the generation who has never lived without technology. And it’s easy to agree with the statement that Millennials’ love for social media usage is changing the way of business making and ways of communication, but is this enough to claim that the Millennials are also a tech savvy generation?

I was surprised when I read an article published by CBNC.com, which stated that

report by the nonprofit Change the Equation, which focuses on science, tech, engineering and math literacy, shows that some 58 percent of millennials have failed to master tech skills that help increase workplace productivity. The number is more surprising given that they spend 35 hours per week using digital media, the report states. A full 19 percent of millennials fall into the “Below Level 1” category, indicating that they “would have trouble sorting email responses to a party invitation into pre-existing folders to keep track of who can and cannot attend,” the report said. The person at the lowest skill level earns 40 percent less than the person at the highest skill level when you hold other characteristic constant,” said Rosen. About 80 percent of middle-skilled jobs required technology skills, and this number is expected to grow

Although gartner.com claims that 44% of Millennials say they have the latest and greatest personal devices, and embrace more easily new IT strategies, it does not mean that on average Millennials are tech savvy. In the near future as stated by cbnc.com we will be able to see the clear distinction between the tech savvy one’s and most likely the clearest indication will be the differences in salaries.

To Someone who Has Never Traveled Outside of their Comfort Zone

When I was 11 I was obsessed with British culture. Mainly it was due to the fact that all of my English teachers up to that point were somehow connected to the UK, either they were British or their spouses were British. And it most certainly did not help that I was very into Harry Potter (yes, posters up on my wall and going to HP movie premiers in costumes). So one can imagine how desperately I wanted to visit London. It was the dream destination, I knew everything there was to know about London (or at least I thought so). But when you are 11, solo traveling is not an option and my mom was not keen on the idea of taking me on her own to London. You ask why (I most certainly did at every possible occasion). She said that she did not know the language and was unfamiliar with the city. You see, my mom only traveled because of work or went on these super touristy group trips. And the thought of being alone in a city where she has never been before was just too much for her, so I had to postpone that dream for 5 years and visited London for the first time when I was 16.

But there are so many benefits of traveling outside of your comfort zone.

S O M E T H I N G new

You will most likely experience something you have never experienced before: The most obvious one is you can add a new city or a new country to your list, you might get a glimpse of a new culture. Traveling outside of your comfort zone could mean to someone perhaps trying out solo travelling, or actually getting the chance to plan the trip on your own from start to finish. Or instead of staying in a hotel as per usual, why not stay with a local and try out couch surfing or Airbnb? Or switch the plane for a train, or travel multiple cities instead of one city at a time, or instead of visiting the capital, go to a smaller city or to a country side? There is so much room to experience with something new.

D I F F E R E N T perspective

I recently read a story of a girl who had never traveled outside of the States. She had never even traveled outside of her home State or even outside of her city. So imagine her reaction and all of her emotions when she landed in Prague for the first time for her school trip and stayed there for almost a month? What changed? Her perspective of the world. Suddenly the world was a bigger than just her southern culture. She gained crazy amount of inspiration, the yearning to explore and travel and realizing there is so much more out there than just what we go through on daily basis.

D I S T U R B the boring

What are the stories you want to tell one day? The adventures you want to have? To have something you never had before, you guessed it, you have to do something you have never done before. And why not share stories of volunteering abroad with a purpose, meeting locals, working in a new environment, and making this Summer the best Summer you have had so far? Do it. Do not hesitate. Check out the opportunities AIESEC has for you!
aiesec.youth.org

7 Inspirational Quotes from Great Leaders

Let’s be honest, there are moments where we feel like we are stuck on a second gear or when it has not been our day, our month or even our year. And we just need that extra push, that insight to alter our thinking to see things, situations and opportunities from a different perspective. And sometimes one is not just good enough, so here are s e v e n brilliant quotes from great leaders.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; Nothing on Earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude“–Thomas Jefferson

Often times the right opportunities are staring us in the face but our attitude is the main thing that keeps us from chasing the opportunities and leaves us wondering

„Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don’t let their feelings stop them. “- T.Harv Eker

It is more than okay to be scared, and to be doubtful. You see, everyone experiences it but do the thing anyway. Do it d e s p i t e  the fear, and the discouragement.

„Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy. “– Dale Carneige

No one has ever excelled at something by just thinking about it. Achieving your goals is about patience, realising that it is okay to fail, then try again, and make it happen.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.”- Mark Twain

If you only have this one precious life, what do you want to do with it? What do you want to experience during this journey? What is the legacy you want to leave behind? What are the stories you want to tell?

“You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

It takes hard work to make your dreams and goals happen. Just because you are starting right now and the gap between your current state and the end goal is massive, does not mean you will not make it to the end. Take a deep breath, make the first steps happen, work hard and you will figure out the way to your goals.

“There is no royal road; you’ve got to work a good deal harder that most people want to work.”
– Charles Wilson

Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard enough. There is no room for excuses, excuses will only slow down your journey. Be patient and work.

“Someone told me growth and comfort do not coexists. And I think that’s a really good thing to remember.” –Ginny Rometty

When was the last time you took a step out of your comfort zone? Instead of wishing actually making things happen? Experienced personal growth, pushed your limits, stared fear right into the eyes?

How about doing something bit scary, something out of your comfort zone this summer? Taking a big step towards reaching your goals? How about spending time abroad, developing your skills, networking, and enjoying the best time while creating a killer CV?
Check out the opportunities that AIESEC has for you! aiesec.youth.org

Youth Speak Contest

The Youth 4 Global Goals campaign was created to mobilise young people to take action towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. It has a set of initiatives aimed to make people aware about the Global Goals, understand them and take action. One part of the campaign is Youth Speak Survey: the survey got 162,292 answers in 2016, engaging people across more than 120 countries.

But here is the main reason why YOU should care about the survey:

Based on the results of the previous YouthSpeak report, Universities and Businesses seem to be disconnected from young people’s desires and interests. And YouthSpeak Survey is one of the ways to eliminate that disconnection.

Youth speak survey gives an important and valuable insight on what youth value and believe in today, and what are their personal goals are for the future. For example last year 68% of the survey participants believed that society will be better by 2030. Their biggest scares concerning the future were corruption, lack of resources, war, global warming, and lack of humanity. The survey takes a closer look on how youth stays informed on daily bases, collects information on how the young generation defines great leadership, and what their 5 year plans are after graduation.

You are one of the 1.8 billion young people that live in the world today. The way our world will be shaped by 2030 fully depends on us. Therefore, youth cannot be left out of the global agenda today – YOU cannot be left out. This survey gives you the space to voice your opinions on key challenges, hopes and ambitions. It lets you share your passion with the whole world and lets you learn how you can get engaged with the issues that matter to you the most, in order to generate positive impact in your life and life of people around you.

Based on the last year’s survey the most important thing in the first 5 years after graduation are global opportunities. In order to make sure that YOU get the job you want, AIESEC provides global volunteering and internship opportunities all over the world in all fields. In order to promote Youth Speak Survey, AIESEC in Estonia has created a Youth Speak Contest. AIESEC in Estonia charges a price from people who want to go on any of AIESEC’s exchange programmes – fill in the survey and follow the steps below, and get a chance to get your fee exempted.

STEP 1
Fill in the survey yss.questionpro.com
STEP 2
take a screenshot of the ‘thank you for filling this survey page’ that appears at the end of the survey

STEP 3
Like our Facebook page “AIESEC in Estonia” and post publicly on your Facebook timeline with the screenshot and caption, ‘I stand with SDG# …. , I’ve made my voice heard through AIESEC survey. I’ve done my bit, have you? #AIESECinEstonia #SDG #Letsgetreal #Y4GG’.

(Note: the post needs to be public on the timeline)

STEP 4             

Check out the most amazing global opportunities AIESEC has for you youth.aiesec.org

4 Reasons For Solo Traveling

I was 16 when I visited Vienna for first time. It was love at first sight, and I knew I wanted to explore the city more then what I saw in that week of doing everything that was even slightly categorized as touristy. The first time I travelled on my own was 4 years ago. I was 18 and I spent 3 weeks in Vienna. And I never thought that I would enjoy travelling on my own as much as I did. Here are the top 4 reason why you should try travelling alone.

  1. You Can Do Anything Y O U want.

Wake up whenever you want to wake up. Visit the museums that you want to or visit exactly 0 museums, if that is what you wish for. Spend the day outside of the city or stay in your room the whole day: planning the timetable is entirely up to you. No need to convince someone else to do the thing you want to do during the trip.

  1. Meeting New People.

Meeting new people is definitely one the biggest highlight of solo travelling. If you are travelling on your own, and especially for a longer period of time, you will meet new people because solo traveling pushes you outside of your comfort zone and make it easier to interact with strangers. For example during my trip to Vienna I met ton of new people from all over the world, who were like me and just visiting the city  for couple of weeks.

  1. Staying in the Budget

If you are travelling on your own, it is easier to stick to the budget. Last Summer I spent 10 days travelling through Germany and ended my trip in Amsterdam. Even though it was July (aka the high season of tourism when everything is super expensive) it was one of my cheapest trips so far just because when travelling with friends, everyone has different spending habits and it’s easy to spend money on things you would not normally spend money on.

  1. It Is Empowering

It is empowering to spend time on your own and feeling comfortable being alone. It makes you more independent, and more solution oriented. It becomes easier to socialize with new people. And it is a skillset you can put into use in your everyday life and it is an experience that no other experience is similar to. Definitely a point the on bucket list.

And believe me, there are more than just 4 reasons for solo travelling, but the rest of them,you have to figure out on your own. A good place where to start is an international experience AIESEC. Check out the amazing opportunities that AIESEC has for you!
youth.aiesec.com

What is Youth Speak and Go Abroad with AIESEC Without Exchange Fee


About a year and a half ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. During this time the initiative Youth4GlobalGoals become one of most powerful movements towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The reach has crossed more than 120 countries and territories around the world.

Youth 4 Global Goals campaign was created to mobilise young people to take action towards the SDGs. It has a set of initiatives aimed to make people aware about the Global Goals, understand them and take action. This campaign has three parts to it:

  • Youth Speak Survey: the survey got 162,292 answers until today, engaging people across more than 120 countries. The result is the voice of Millennials giving an opinion about what SDGs they would act upon, what kind of motives and fears they have.
  • Youth Speak Forum: an event realized around the world that brings together young and senior leaders to form a space for inspiring conversations and creation of actionable ideas around global issues. In various countries governments and UN agencies have supported the event.
  • Youth Speak Projects: considering the insights got in the Survey, AIESEC is running the social projects around SDGs and Millennials needs. This is how a young person gets an opportunity to directly contribute to an issue he or she relates the most to, while developing the leadership potential.

Organizations like Asian Development Bank, PVBLIC Foundation and UN Habitat were the founding partners of the campaign and many more are joining the movement now.

Ours is the first generation with the potential to end poverty (SDG number 1) – and the last to avoid worst effects of climate change.

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General

Fill in the survey and enter the youth speak contest, out of those who fill in the survey and post the snapshot of the thank you page  to AIESEC in Estonia Facebook page under the blogpost post as a  comment with the hashtags #AIESEinEstonia #Y4GG,  2 people will be selected for free exchange program by AIESEC in ESTONIA.

Survey: yss.questionpro.com

To learn more about the Youth4GlobalGoals campaign, visit youth4globalgoals.org

First Time Going Abroad with AIESEC

Aleksander is 21 years old, taller than most of us, and is currently a second year Food Technology student at Tallinn Technical University. After joining AIESEC in TUT this February his summer plans changed from doing internship in Tallinn to volunteering abroad.


So what are exactly you doing this summer, Aleksander?

I am going abroad with AIESEC. I am participating in volunteering project in South-Malaysia in a small city called Johor Bahur for 6 weeks. During the project I will help to raise awareness, especially amongst the youth, on food waist. We’ll talk about how to consume more responsibly, what to do with food left overs, how to cook something delicious of yesterday’s left overs. Because there are many who lack of food and at the same time there are many who live in abundance.

But why at all should one go abroad for the summer?

But why not? Is there anything better? We have already been at home, and we have plenty of time to be here more. But to go abroad and see how things are done there, and how people live- this is something that challenges the way we think.

Malaysia is pretty far away from Estonia, didn’t you want to go somewhere closer to home?

But that was the whole point: to go as far as possible. That also means that the cultural differences are much more noticeable compared to the experience I would have somewhere close to home, let’s say somewhere in Europe. Close to my cultural comfort zone, I already can assume how people are and think and work, but to somewhere far, I imagine I will experience and learn so much more than if I were to stay somewhere closer.

How much time did it take you to find the right program?

It took me around a week to figure out what I even expect from the program and the SDG I want to volunteer for. Because I study Food Technology I wanted the project to connect somehow to my major as well. And then it took me a week and a half to apply for different programs and do the interviews.

What is the scariest part about going abroad?

Hm, I am not scared of much. Maybe the fact that everything will be so different, which is good but it also means that I might not know how to act accordingly in every situation. That I might insult someone by accident because I am not familiar with some cultural or religious aspects. But at the same time it is a learning point. I will learn from my mistakes when I young, and avoid such incidences in the future.

Why should one go abroad?

If you are thinking about volunteering abroad, if it interest you, do it now! Don’t say that you are going to do it, or don’t say that one day or next year I am going to do it because you might miss out on your chance and end up not going abroad. So pull yourself together, take the first scary step, and just do it!
Find the best program for you on youth.aiesec.org

3 Steps to Kick-Start Your International Career

Laura Liisa is 22 years old  foxy read head with a bubbling personality and with a go-getter attitude. As we wait for our breakfast to be served she turns to me with a big smile and asks :“ So, should we start now?“

So, Laura Liisa, spill the beans, how does a young person kick- start their International career?

I think there are 3 really easy steps for that

Firstly, take interest in the global world.

You have to take an interest in the global world and think bigger and further than just the reality of your home country and constantly develop that type of a mind-set.

One might ask how to develop that interest or why one should even be interested in global issues. I think that the whole world is moving towards being united and connected. Take for examples the EU, we do not have these kind of boundaries that we used to have in the region decades ago. It is smart to think through even before you start your career how are you going to fit into that society and working culture we are moving towards to.

Secondly, join and international organization.

I joined an international organization in the beginning of my university because I realized this is the best option where to get that international experience from early on.

Joining an international organization puts you into a position where you are facing different cultures and where you have an opportunity to learn from someone and build that foundation of cultural understanding. For example I am currently working in a company with 6 Latvians and 1 Brit (and then there’s the one Estonian, me).’ In order to be efficient in an international company you need to be able to communicate well with other nationalities. I think one of the reason why I was hired to work at that company is that I don’t mind stepping out of my comport zone, and it is relatively easy for me to connect with different people. And this is a skill set that I possess right now because I was part of an international organisation.

If you are actively participating and doing different things in an international organization, you are actually developing yourself because an organization is a legal body as any other company with the exception that people are more personally motivated to do things. They are motivated by self-development, and they joy of giving versus just being motivated by money. In an organization you see the structure, you understand your role and see how your contribution affects the overall results. And this is the same when working in a small or medium sized company.

Thirdly, apply for that job.

I consider this to be the trickiest part. Maybe others experience this differently but it took me 2 years to gain that courage to apply. When I started to think about applying it took me another 2 months to actually send out those applications. By that time I had been a board member in AIESEC, I had taken care of the over-all finance and lead teams, which is one of the biggest challenges. And the responsibility that came with these positions was huge. Another good thing about AIESEC is that it is okay to try and fail, which is not always the mind-set in companies. And my AIESEC experience gave me the necessary confidence and skill set to apply.

Are you interested in an international career? Check out the opportunities AIESEC has for you! youth.aiesec.org

From Civil Engineering to IT Start-Up

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Kaspar, I’m 25 years old. I started my career as a civil engineer while also studying it in Tallinn University of Technology. My first three years were intense and interesting but over the years I started getting more into IT. Learning it on my own while also moving away from constructional engineering into more IT related jobs I quickly realized that I also have to change my studies. It all culminated in switching my major to Informatics. Today I help to run an IT and Innovation Management company called Rubik’s Solutions as a Software Architect. 

How has your AIESEC experience contributed to your current career?

Before I joined AIESEC my goal was to finish college and start working as an engineer. During my AIESEC career I understood what it means to be entrepreneurial and also taught me how to be a better team player. Being entrepreneurial doesn’t specifically mean to start a company. For me it means to work on something that creates value for other people instead of just doing your job. This value can be converted into business or used to create social benefits. For me AIESEC also helped to form a large network of people and meet my future business partners and clients.

So what is Rubik’s Solutions all about?

Rubik’s Solutions is a Digital Innovation Agency creating value from emerging technologies. It was founded in 2013 as an app development company which in 2015 did a pivot to focus on project and innovation management.

In Rubik’s we are focused on helping companies facilitate innovation by running internal projects or spin-offs. This can culminate in a more innovative product, a new business model or both. My main responsibility in Rubik’s is to run technical teams and work on software and cloud architecture solutions. We have been involved in multiple different industries. We focus on projects that we can help to create the most value out of.

When it comes to hiring, what are start-ups in general, and more specifically, your start up looking for in prospective employees?

With start-ups it really depends on the nature of the company, the position and at what stage the person is joining. Founding partners or the very first employees are expected to help run the company as a whole and not focus only on the job description. This  of course is the most unstable time to join a company and thus your belief in the future of the endeavor plays an important role. Nobody wants to invest in a new person only to see him leave after half a year.

AIESEC is a great example where you see different types of people. Those who join and leave as soon as it gets difficult or those who are willing to go the extra mile to bring results. Results take time and if you have the patience, belief, and willpower to support the journey of any company, I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t be the next founder or an integral part of a successful start-up team.

With Rubik’s and the spin-offs we build, we look at the character of a person, self-motivation, and a team player. I guess people who have been in AIESEC for more than a year or two prove to have these qualities. From the technical side education is important but you cannot beat the willingness and ability to learn.

In your opinion, what are Estonian start-ups lacking today ?

Moving fast. Compared to the pace of the scene abroad we are somehow still stuck in a fear of discovering that we are wrong. Trying to prove yourself wrong should be the first thing you do with an idea. Your focus should be to understand whether your ingenious new idea will work as a business or not. I feel that a lot of people get attached to their ideas, even if it is obvious that there is no real business value behind it. Start-ups are companies like any other and when starting up you will not survive long without investments. Financing will only come if you are able to prove that your business idea has the potential to convert investment into future revenue. Moving fast means to feedback your product or service on the market quickly. That is the place you get the real feedback, don’t expect it from your friends.

I feel that in the Estonian start-up scene the mutual support between founders of different companies is relatively low. It’s a very Estonian thing where people seem to see each other as competitors rather than collaborators. Building a start-up is hard and the only support you get is from your team, if you are lucky enough to have it. Fortunately, I see that changing especially in the new collaborative working spaces like Spring Hub where the community is selected to form  supportive environment. I hope to see these environments to grow even further and through that have a bigger  impact on all stakeholders involved.

Why should a young person take interest in start-ups?

If you are looking for a sexy work culture, becoming rich fast (or at all),  you shouldn’t not take interest in start-ups. If you are an engineer focused on learning from the best and becoming a talented specialist you are better off joining a company that has proven its business model and survived. For me  “taking interest in start-ups” means to start something from ground zero.

Start-up is  about not following someone else’s footsteps. There is nothing more unfulfilling than following instructions of someone else and never really discover what it is to realize your dreams yourself.

Top 5 Things Keeping Youth Complacent

Hi, I’m Jessie, and I’m part of the North American millennial generation. And as someone who identifies as part of this generation, I have no problem telling you that I believe complacency runs rampant among North American youth. This is not a particularly new idea; we’ve heard before that millennials are notorious for being narcissistic and lazy, and while studies on millennials in society report mixed results, there is no doubt that we, as a generation, are struggling to find our place in the world.

What is often overlooked here though, is how destructive complacency can be to the individual. To become complacent is to stop growing, and when there is stagnation, there is no progress, and thereby no success. Here are the top 5 things stopping millennials from engaging, and essentially keeping us from reaching our full potential.

Entitlement

Often, entitlement shapes our thinking in way that we don’t even realize. We have grown up as the most privileged youth in the world, and it’s very easy to get stuck thinking we have everything, this is all there is, and that we “deserve” this and that. (Indeed, one of the nicknames for the millennial generation is the “Most Coddled Generation”.)

As North Americans youth who have all been recipients to education, and so on, we all fall prey sometimes to the Western point of view—a worldview that has historically disregards all other cultural thought. This thinking dictates—and dare I say, can cripple—our reactions to other cultures, and limits us from cultural understanding.

Disillusionment

Sometimes, youth can’t be bothered about active participation because they do not believe that they can make a difference. They don’t see the value of their individual active engagement. “I’m just one of many”, “Who really cares?” — these thoughts perpetuate a cycle of indifference and inaction.

What’s more, in today’s society, it’s almost cool not to care—or rather, it’s only ‘cool’ to care about certain things. Regardless, this feeling of disillusionment is reflected in the number of youth voters in elections in recent years, which are disappointingly low. Youth need to understand that their age cannot keep them down. They need to be shown, and not just told, their value to society, and be motivated to become worthy of it.

Ignorance

The lack of understanding — true understanding, which requires time and effort on the part of the individual — is perhaps the reason for many problems today. In an era of information, it is just as likely to receive false information as it is true. What’s more, with everyone’s biases, it’s very easy to let someone else make the judgement for you. In doing this, we relinquish the responsibility and thereby the consequences of potentially being wrong.

This ignorance extends itself to all the many ways we interact with society itself. It affects the way we view the world, our willingness to experience it, and also the way we view ourselves. We become less effective as contributors to society when we are unaware of society and our own role within.

Individualism

The millennial generation grew up hearing about how each of are special and unique, and will go on one day to change the world and whatnot because no one is exactly like us. It’s not a far stretch to see this is not true—at least, not innately. We make ourselves special, and whatever impact we make on the world is a result of us actually consciously demonstrating effort and passion, and working hard at it.

Having been constantly told how unique we are has led us to become more self-centred. We play more value on our own careers than on society, failing to make the realization that both are interconnected. While individuality is by no means inconsequential, millennials need to realize that our individuality both enhances and is enhanced by the society and context we are placed. in.

Technology 

Millennials have grown up with a society that has become increasingly saturated with technology in all its various forms. What we have not been prepared for, however, is the adverse effect that technology has had on the interactions between people in real life. When online communication takes precedent, it is at the expense of affecting people’s ability to truly connect with someone in person, offline. We lack intention by letting technology do all the talking for us.

Stop and think, who are we, outside of our social media profiles and what we share online? How would people view us, had we not Facebook, or Twitter, or the numerous other social platforms? It is the lack of questioning that leads to things like slacktivism, where we share things not only because we care, but because we want others to know it.

The world has a lot of say about the millennial generation. Our expectations in life are different are those of our parents. We are lazy, passionate, impatient, ambitious, open-minded, and disengaged all at once. Having been told to “follow your dream” has led us to become more lost than ever. Youth engagement in society has been steadily decreasing; North American youth are complacent.

What, then, is the solution?

There is a quote that states: “We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong.” Never has that statement been more true than today. In exploring the world, one gains more knowledge of different cultures, and understanding of where they fit in the world. A wider perspective will also let one see the importance and value of things.

What’s more, this “world” doesn’t necessarily mean jumping on a plane and flying all around the globe. It can be a simple as stepping outside of your comfort zone to shake up your own worldview a little bit. It’s important to ask questions, but equally important to go and find out the answers yourself. Being aware is only the first step.

How Going Abroad Taught Me About Life – Everyday Leadership

Contributed by Janet Ong

Here are the stories from my exchange experience that surprised me in the end. This is my experience with AIESEC NCTU in Hsinchu City, Taiwan as part of the the project Connect the World from September to December 2013.

This cultural exchange program was designed for us exchange participants to make an impact on high school students by sharing things about and from our countries.

Surprisingly, this exchange program taught me a lot about life. I was approached by one of the teachers in one of the high schools I was teaching at. The teacher knew I intended to go to law school because of how I had introduced myself in her class. She wanted to ask me for more details on law school because she was very worried about her daughter, who was on the verge of giving up law school.

I told her that I wanted to specialize in criminal law and in the field of human rights because I wanted to be a court lawyer and be of service to people. She asked me how I already knew which specific field in law I wanted to pursue this early on. I simply told her that I always remind myself of why I wanted to be in this field to begin with. I remind myself that I am doing this not only for the sake of my career but also for the sake of the people who are in need of help and that I think being a court lawyer best fits this interest.

The exchange program is more than the learning you get from the four corners of the classroom, it is the learning from an experience in life.

She asked me this question so that she could help her daughter who was about to graduate but was attempting to give up. Surprisingly, she really wanted advice from me. I told her to tell her daughter to remind herself why she chose law and to remind herself of the positive things that happened in law school despite the difficulty she was currently having. The teacher said that her daughter was worried about the bar exam. In response, I told her that everyone was scared of the bar exam and even I was afraid of it. I told her that working hard for a dream would achieve good results.

What was the surprise here? After saying those things to the teacher, I  saw myself as the daughter who was worried about law school. Then I reflected on those words I said to the teacher. It made me realize that I can manage as long as I believe in myself. Friends and even former professors have been telling me that I can manage, that I have good academic standing and a keen interest in the classes in my undergraduate course in psychology. I get positive feedback from my classes. What is there to be afraid of? I am afraid of failing, but who isn’t? I am afraid of falling, but who isn’t? Everyone is. It is a matter of facing your fears.

Everyone thinks, I lack the courage to face them; I do not believe in myself; I do not trust myself. If I believed in myself, I would have the capacity to say I can do it. Then I realized, am I not like her daughter too? Afraid? I gave advice that the teacher appreciated and believed that it would be of help to her daughter. I realized, I can do it. I can pursue my dreams despite the struggles; believe despite the hardships.

I got letters and messages from my students, teachers and friends telling me I am a funny and jolly person. They said I have this motivation and energy that influences other people. It has always been a surprise for me to see in the letters or even hear this feedback because I do not see myself like that. I believe that I gained more confidence and courage from this project than anyone could ever imagine. I remember the poster/ad of AIESEC DLSU saying, “Get lost and find yourself”. I am indeed discovering a lot about myself from feedback from other people.

I realized now that we need other people who are courageous enough to tell us about ourselves. Feedback from other people no matter how minor can help us realize what is really happening in our lives. This is why I have to say that I am very glad that I met the people I did, experienced the things I experienced. If not for those, I would not have found myself. I would not have discovered something more about myself. I would not have been the way I am right now. I may have had a tough rocky road along the way but everyone does, right?

I believe that things happen for a reason. Now, I believe that these things had to happen to open my eyes and see the reality. I am grateful for the good and bad. If not for the bad, how could I have appreciated the good so much? Right now, I just do not know the right words to express how much AIESEC, my fellow trainees, teachers, students and friends have helped shape my life for the better. It is quite sad for me to leave because this is the place where I learned a lot, not about academics, but about life itself. It is a place where I found good friends. However, I have to say goodbye, face the things that I have to face back home and continue on with my life. People come and go in our lives but it does not mean that they will be gone from our lives. The people I met will always be treasured dearly. Everyone may be far away from one another but distance is not a barrier to maintain the friendships that we have created.

The world has still a lot to offer. The world still has a lot of surprises. There is still a lot more to learn from. Just smile at the world, and it will surely smile back at you. But this experience is one of the best I have ever had. This is my second home—Taiwan. This has been my Wonderland.

I am happy that I was here. I am happy that I was able to convince students who did not participate to participate. I was able to convince students who did not smile, to smile. I was able to see how keen and eager the students were whenever I was presenting. I am happy that I was able to see how the students’ eyes brightened. I am happy that I was able to see and hear the students laugh, joke and even be loud for a good cause. These were the actual experiences I had with my last class: the most difficult but the best class I ever had.

My last class was supposed to be the most unresponsive and I was told that the class does not really answer questions. However, it was different when I was there. They were welcoming and happy. My last class is where I can say I was really able to Connect the World and fulfill the goals of the project. This was the class where I can say that I really was able to make a difference. These are irreplaceable moments in my life that can make me say and realize that, “Hey! I did make a change”. It may have just lasted for a day, an hour, a minute or even just a second, but the little things showed me that one person could really make a big difference.

This is the teaching experience.
This is the experience of life.
This is the AIESEC experience.
Thank you very much.

After the exchange experience, where am I now? I had the courage to take up law school and continue my AIESEC journey. I am currently a first year student of law and a member of the Finance and Legal Affairs Department of AIESEC DLSU. What am I grateful for? I am grateful that AIESEC shaped my life and happy that I was able to contribute to AIESEC’s vision of “Peace and Fulfillment of Humankind’s potential”

Here’s a tribute for my AIESEC experience:

“The exchange program is more than the learning you get from the four corners of the classroom, it is a life experience. It is about finding who you are and learning more about yourself throughout the journey. I began to open up locked chests that I didn’t know existed within me. Moreover, I’ve realized how life is so wonderful and it never fails to give you those little things that make you smile.
It’s also about never giving up and never losing hope.

It was also in this exchange program that I found what I am passionate and dedicated about — and AIESEC is one of those things. AIESEC taught me how to stand up for myself and be a leader — a leader who will be able to make a wonderful and positive impact in my country and also in the world.

Lastly, it is indeed an honor and a privilege to be part of AIESEC. I will forever and always be thankful for AIESEC.”

“This story was written in contribution to the AIESEC Everyday Leader Series, that showcases stories of everyday leaders who are changing the world. Share your story with the world.

Are You Multitasking Your Brilliance Away?

Projects, meetings, emails, notifications, social media, a million tabs on your internet browser, the disruptions go on.

Is multitasking  harming your ability to work effectively?

If often takes a reminder on why it is so important to focus.

Our desires for accessibility lead to an inability to access anything.

Why does our brain feel overloaded as we drown ourselves in multiple tasks? This is a result of chronic multitasking, and it isn’t healthy for your productivity, health or quality of work.

An article on Time quoted a 2010 study by neuroscientists at the French medical research agency Inserm that showed that when people focus on two tasks simultaneously, each side of the brain tackles a different task.

If our limits are two-tasks at once, anymore we will most likely make errors.

What’s the solution?

Nass recommends a 20-minute rule. Instead of switching tasks minute to minute, allocate yourself to 20-minute chunks to a singular task, focus, and then move on.

Here’s a little humour, but also practical solution to multitasking, monotasking.

The picture below shows what happened to Paolo Cardini’s barbeque on his 3 minute TED talk when he was multitasking while barbequeing.

Similar to what happens to us when we “multitask” while trying to do something, we burn away our quality of work.


Re-think how you approach your work by focusing one singular task and providing high-quality attention to your work, as opposed to spreading yourself thin, and get nothing done.

Time is our most precious resource. Don’t multi-task your brilliance away, because imagine how much time, effort and productivity you lose simply because of a lack of focus.

Sit down, open one tab, and get it done.

What are your best-case practices for focusing? I’d love to hear them and share it. Tweet me at @gdondon and comment below.