Global Volunteer program with AIESEC – opinions and hints

Global Volunteer (previously Global Citizen) volunteering program is the best experience I’ve ever had. Imagine this scene.

You are in a new country with people you met last week. You drink local alcohol, you talk. Someone grabs a guitar and plays some hits. You sing. Suddenly someone starts to sing a silly song about a dick. Oups, it’s about addictions… You know, “a dick”, “addicted”, it’s easy to mix. You laugh like crazy, tears run down your face, your cheeks burn and your belly hurts. Till the end of the party.

You wake up the next day. You go to work with the same people. The silly song about a dick still plays in your head. You have a cheeky grin on your face.

After work with the same people you go exploring. You find undiscovered places, try new tastes.

You feel you are in the right place. That your life is changing right now.

That’s how I felt during Global Volunteer program with AIESEC. If you are thinking about taking part in a voluntary work abroad but you are not sure how to do it, I’ll help you. And if you’ve never thought about it – start now… 🙂

This post is based on my experience with Polish department of AIESEC, there might be differences in other countries.
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Global Volunteer program with AIESEC – how does it work?

1. What is Global Volunteer (Global Citizen)?

It is a program of voluntary works for students. It gives an opportunity to go abroad for at least 6 weeks. The organizer is an international student organization AIESEC.

2. What can I do during the voluntary project?

Everything 🙂 The database of voluntary work offers is really huge and you will be able to find something suitable. In general, voluntary works are divided in three areas: Culture, Management and World Issues.

It means that you can find a job in numerous fields – you can teach at school, kindergarden, organize events, work in IT, in marketing… you will find something interesting for yourself.

What was I doing during my Global Volunteer program? I had a course at school about basics of finance. My friend Klaudia was working in a non-profit organization and helped to organize events.

3. Where can I go as a  participant of Global Volunteer (Global Citizen)?

Everywhere 🙂 AIESEC is present in many countries and you also have a big choice of destinations. When I was looking for a voluntary work offer there were a lot of them in Asia (China, Taiwan, India), South America and Europe. Some African countries were available as well. I wouldn’t expect to find USA or Australia – but I may be mistaken! My choice was Russia.

4. How does Global Volunteer with AIESEC work?

It’s a straightforward procedure. You apply at AIESEC and you’ll have a preliminary interview. If you are accepted, you need to fill in some documents and then you’ll get access to voluntary works database.

It’s time to look for The One. When you find it, you need to apply and have another interview with an AIESECer from your destination. If everything goes well, you will be matched in the system to this offer.

You need to fill in tons of documents and send it back and forth to your local AIESEC committee and to the one in your destination (terrible stage, brrr 😉 ). If you need it, you should apply for visa. Buy insurance. And off you go 🙂

It took me two months and a half from the first application till getting on a plane.

5. How much does Global Volunteer with AIESEC cost?

 Costs which a participant needs to bear are:
1. Donation for AIESEC for helping you organize your participation in the volunteering program. In Poland at the beginning of 2014 it was around 50 Euros, but I’m sure it differs depending on a country. Let me know what it is in yours. 🙂
2. Transportation to your destination and back
3. Visa. If you need a visa in your chosen coutry, you need to pay for it. However, as a volunteer I got a humanitarian visa to Russia, whcih was free of charge. I paid only around 25 Euros for services of visa centre.
4. Attractions and fun! After all, you’re not going there only for work 🙂
5. Food – it depends, you may find a volunteering program where food is provided. I had to buy food on my own most of the time.
One cost which you will not have to bare for sure is accommodation. AIESEC will find you a host.

Is it worth participating in Global Volunteer with AIESEC?

YES!! And why is that?

1. You will meet awesome people from all around the world. You will exchange your experiences, opinions, views of the world. You may gain true, life-long friendships.

global volunteer aiesec
My Global Citizen family – explanatory diagram. Four volunteers – Dorota, Davide, Chiara and Paulo, in the middle there is our team-leader Kseniya (mama penguin) and the main organizer of all this – President Sergey. Why penguins? That’s a long story…
2. You will be able to travel cheaper than on a self-organized trip. Except for Saint Petersburg and its neighborhood I visited Moscow and Tallinn.
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Acrobatics on the Red Square

3. You will get to know life in the country from the inside. You will live with someone from there, you’ll see how is their everyday life different from yours.

global volunteer aiesec
Borsch soup ingredients. Warning – don’t put vodka in the soup!

 

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What’s your guess – borsch in progress or an impulsive murder?

4. You will gain a very valuable experience and a precious line in your CV. It will make you stand out of the crowd of young candidates. It draws attention of your potential employers. They asked me about Global Volunteer in Russia on each and every job interview I attended.

This experience shows that you try to do something good for yourself, that you develop, make your dreams come true, that you’re not afraid to leave your comfort zone. You will get a return on this investment!

For me, joining Global Citizen program was a fantastic experience. I keep recalling it, I could talk about it for ages, I still keep in touch with people I met there. I haven’t written anything about Saint Petersburg yet though. I’m ashamed how terrible pictures I took back then… 🙂

If it hadn’t been for the program, probably Born Globals wouldn’t come into existence and probably I wouldn’t have such idea for life as I do now. So who knows, maybe a decision to volunteer will help you understand what would you like to do with your life as well? 🙂

Global Volunteer program on AIESEC website. If you’re looking for other volunteering opportunities check my experiences with looking for a WWOOF in the USA and what was my day like on WWOOF volunteering program in the USA.

If you still aren’t fully convinced, check this post in which I asked Polish travel bloggers if it’s worth volunteering abroad 🙂

Start planning your volunteering program. You will have the time of your life, you’ll laugh your head off singing a song about adick-tions (Royal Republic – Addictive, check the acoustic version 🙂 ). Cheeky grin won’t leave your face and you will feel that this trip is changing you life.

Do you have any more questions or doubts? any related experience? Let me know! 🙂

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