Letter to AIESEC

Dear AIESEC,

It’s been a long time since it was called a time to move on for me. Since then, I have grown up a lot and I must accept that it was hard to learn to get by without you but I have done so while keeping you in my heart. I didn’t want to be like those creepy ex-boyfriends that show up uninvited.

Every time someone talks to me about becoming an alumnus, a dinosaur, head for the future, going into the life long connection or however you want to call it nowadays I tell them exactly the same thing, and AIESEC, the problem is that you get so deep into our hearts and go so much into the core of who we become, that letting go is initially a pretty hard thing to do; Accepting that it is someone else’s turn to learn and experience the amazing lessons and friends you gave me was a hard task initially and it required me to make a clean cut, a hard cut. So I wasn’t in touch for a while. I needed to catch up with myself without you.

And as your acronyms changed; Careers progress, people move countries, continents and new lessons are learnt; Life continues and one moves on, unavoidably. It seems that all that time I spent with you passed in a heartbeat and it seems that life is going by even faster than that, if my head could comprehend.

It is only after a couple of glasses of wine and in the company of those who shared you with me that I dare to say things like “Years later and I haven’t found anyone that understands me as well as my AIESEC friends”, because it is once or twice a year that every alumnus, dinosaur, headed for the future or life long connected accepts they are nostalgic. It doesn’t matter really how many years we spent with you we all get it here and there. If there is no wine confession, there will be a cryptic Facebook post.

And you were so good to us AIESEC… Many of us are getting ahead in many ways. The business skills that completed my academic education… You made it happen. May we be successful artists, technologists, scientists or business people, entrepreneurs, activists or politicians, we are conscious citizens in this world thankful to that, which made us who we are today: YOU.

There are few magical moments like having a conversation with a truly inspiring person, a real change agent in the middle of a conference on any imaginable topic only to discover they are too an AIESECer.

And then, the question that I really want to ask you pops in our heads… What is the job of an alumnus? Here is the advice I gave to some soon to be alumni:

  1. Join an alumni association.
  2. Give advice when you are asked for it.
  3. Act as a mentor of current members that want to learn something from you
  4. Chair a conference, a workshop or a local planning weekend when you are asked to.
  5. Get a trainee.
  6. Pass on your piece of history to those that can use it.
  7. Let AIESEC know you are there when it needs you.
  8. Remember ONE roll call and keep an AIESEC T-shirt; you will need it once.
  9. If honoured with the invitation, become a member of a BoA or an auditor.
  10. Show in small and meaningful ways that you will always be an AIESECer.

AIESEC, you have changed so much too. It is hard to keep up with what happens with you in only a few years time but any alumnus can feel nothing but pride when as I went back to you this weekend I discovered

–       You do twice as many exchanges in my country as you did (2000!).

–        You are present in twice as many universities as when I left you (1700!).

–        You change the lives of three times as many students (86000!).

–        You expanded to 30 new countries, making a total of 110

Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of a legacy like that?

We had an identity and now a way; We have done projects, leadership, issue based learning, programs and many more; There was 1996, 2005, 2010 and now 2015; there were green forms, pink forms, Match, Insight, Insight 2, myaiesec.net, the orange one and the blue one and many more will come,  but there is one thing we all believed for the last 65 years and we will believe in forever: Exchange.

AIESEC, don’t let this letter be only the nostalgia of one that remembers the incredible rush of selling, matching and realising a management internship or the feeling of that full bucket of cold water spilling over my head…

For you are not only an organization for us, you are our life long cause. We are out here, millions of us. Find us.

AIESECly yours,

Maria

I am back from an AIESEC National Conference in Germany. Truly inspired by AIESEC’s evolution and success, believing in the impact that AIESEC and its alumni can have together. In this post I think of every AIESEC member in the world, and the two alumni that with their role during my active time in AIESEC , starting in Mexico and until the culmination of my AIESEC International term, changed my life. I am forever thankful to Juan Manuel Ferron and Victor Loewenstein. 

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33 Comments

Filed under Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability, Travel, Uncategorized

33 responses to “Letter to AIESEC

  1. Linda

    As a soon to be recent alum, this is awesome to read. Kudos.

  2. Dear Maria,
    Dear Aiesec,

    So true! Without Aiesec in my life – I would be missing a piece of my heart and my way back then and now.

    Aiesecly
    Christian Severin

  3. Thoughtful as ever, wish to have worked together

  4. Dear Bernd, we are all in this together. The chance is still coming. Will you be in Vienna? I think otherwise meeting sometime is in order.

  5. I Loved it Maria, thanks for sharing it! Feeling completely identified with your words! big Hug!!!

  6. Victor Varela

    Excellent “article” if I can call it that way, found it inspiring. Congratulations, you´re a real AIESECer. I just shared it to the facebook group of the Alumni in my LC 😉

  7. Richard Lucht

    Thank you Maria. I just saw the link, posted on facebook by my former boss, MCP and friend Gesa Doerr. I totally agree!

    Best regards from Berlin

  8. Tripti Shrivastava

    Thanks Maria, loved reading it; that too, just when I’m about to apply for an alumni status.

    Once an AIESECer, always an AIESECer! 🙂

    Love from India ❤

  9. Himanshu Kaul Sahib

    Awesome Maria, for someone who is trying to cope with post AIESEC life this is just the perfect thing to read right now!

  10. cboteros

    I just got this from a friend @Alumni who shared this in our Facebook page for Alumni, and not only enjoyed the reading, but also identified with it totally.

    I also take the opportunity to bring in here another AIESEC related issue since there is an urgent matter to spread it out.

    There is one of us that needs us today, Irma Bejdic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who is fighting to recover after the accident in which she lost her right arm and suffered severe head injuries.

    We are a very large network of people that strive for being Change Agents. Today we can be that change, and do good for the future live of one of our own.

    ONCE AN AIESECER, ALWAYS AN AIESECER!

    More detailed information at:

    http://www.aieseclovesirma.com

    also at:

    http://facebook.com/AIESECLovesIrma

    thank you for reading until here,

    Carlos Botero
    @Alumni from Venezuela

  11. Hien Tran

    Yep, so true Maria! Once AIESEC, forever AIESEC. Thank you for the very nostalgic and pragmatic article. I’ve been an alumnus for 2 year and striving to live with AIESEC values every single day.

    Love from Vietnam 🙂

  12. Rafael Gonzalez

    Very well written and heartfelt my friend. Once an AIESECer, always and AIESECer.
    AIESECly

  13. It seems that your message is going viral 🙂 We’re happy to read you in Vietnam 🙂

  14. Martin Siebke

    Wow.
    So true

    Thank you Maria!

  15. Reading Through your letter Maria, makes me realize that truly AIESEC has touched a million live, and what a recollection of the organisation in the past 15 years or so, love it, keep rocking.

  16. Rendani Ndou

    It was great working with you Marina 🙂 OGX!

  17. Simply and graciously exquisite….loved it from the title.. thank you so much..

    AIESECely yours

  18. Thanks for writing. It inspired me!

    Karen Thigpen, Exec Director of AIESEC Life, Inc.

  19. Jhair

    Truly inspiring! greetings from Argentina.

  20. What is so beautiful about all these comments is they come from all around the globe…just like a true AIESECER….
    Kim Cesena

  21. Sharmin Eliyas

    Maria, I related to your thoughts so well. Each and every word that you wrote, expressing your feelings, seemed as if its a voice from my heart. I too feel the same as you do and I assume that most of the AIESECers would agree.
    This organisation surely has some midas touch which makes an impact on each an every one who comes in touch with it.
    AIESEC is the only place which gives stories to be cherished for an entire lifetime.

  22. We are millions you are right! 😀
    From Argentine I’d like to thank you Maria! GRACIAS!

  23. Thank you for sharing this strong message, Maria. I have felt pretty much the same way for many years and suddenly a few years ago, me and some other alumni discovered that many of us decide to live up AIESEC values for the rest of our lives and that we can be active, present and vibrant in the ALUMNI Association. Thats what the AIESEC FOR LIFE concept is and I invite you and others that read this, to think about it. Lets discuss what we can do NOW within the ALUMNI ASSOCIATIONs emerging throughout the world.

  24. Abdel

    thanks Maria for this great message!

    AIESECELY Yours,
    Abdel, Alumni AIESEC Tunisia,

  25. Apopo

    Wow, superbly written and sums up life before, during and after AIESEC. One thing I like about it is the positive call to action and supporting when you can. Once an AIESECer…
    Kudos to the writer and we are also out here in Ghana
    Cheers

  26. LG

    Beautifully written, and reflects my thoughts on life post-@ exactly. There’s been many cryptic Facebook posts and rum-induced confessions on my part.

    Gracias María

    Luis Gerardo Roa
    AIESEC Venezuela
    Also living in Germany xD

  27. Palak Varma

    Reblogged this on Liberate and commented:
    Just at the end of my AIESEC term. And reading this 🙂

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