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