Leadership, Lifestyle, Travel

Upliftment of leadership potential via cross-cultural experiences

Leadership; is a term that’s frequently used and essential for today’s society, not only for a single country or a workplace but also for the whole world. A true leader is a person who can evolve himself while lighting the fire in others to do better. Every leader’s journey isn’t the same, but all have one thing in common – facing unexpected turbulences and overcoming them with a growth mindset. So how can a person achieve the growth mindset? How can a person uplift his/her leadership? Are cross-cultural experiences necessary for a leader?

This could be explained in different directives, but in simpler terms, a leader who’s brought up with cross-cultural experiences is someone who understands to work and uplift others in a multicultural environment. Cross-cultural leadership skills can pave the way for self-improvement and will be beneficial when working in the modern globalized world.

A cross-cultural experience can affect a person’s leadership approach with more dominance and clear identification for his/her role. A leader is capable and has effectual interaction with his/her team and other aspects of management. Also, a person who is considered a global leader has a great sense of awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and empathy for different cultures, including motives in establishing trusting relationships that will be valuable for them in the long run.

It’s noteworthy that the present leaders need to understand cultural differences in a team or workplace. A leader who understands cultural differences can unlock the best potential of his/her subordinates and will also be crucial for managing his/her own attitudes towards other cultures. The leader needs to be flexible and adaptable so that he/she can keep the team’s momentum going despite any challenges they face along the way. Also, this diversity can be helpful for knowledge enhancement at different levels in the organization.

Most organizations in the present have cultural diversity in their workplace. Creating an environment of different cultural, racial, and ethnics can add more depth and perspective to the organization’s missions, goals, values, etc. It might come practical in a broader perspective and can build more comprehensive expansion and outreach strategies.  An organization with individuals from such diverse cultural backgrounds and thinking patterns can affect organizational behavior in a positive way.  

Next, let’s consider how you can gain cross-cultural experience. There are many activities such as international exchanges. You can volunteer or participate in a program in a foreign country and get the exposure concurrently engaging in a worthy cause. 

With my personal experience as a Global Volunteer Exchange Participant in Italy, I learned about cultural diversity and how it affects the overall community’s existence, and what cultural traits make their nation unique. As a foreigner in Italy, I understood what parts of their culture they appreciate and what adroit traits I could gain from their culture to develop myself. I volunteered as a teacher for Italian students. Meanwhile, I started traveling and associating with natives, and I learned their culture and its strong points. 

Outgoing Global Talent by AIESEC can be another such way to gain cross-cultural experience where you get the opportunity to work in a well-reputed organization abroad. This will definitely help you to gain valuable industry experience in whichever field you prefer, and at the same time, you get the chance to meet and work with people from different cultures.

So, if you are looking to upgrade your skills and be a global leader, there are many ways that you can do so. The best path for you may not be the same for another. But if you select AIESEC for gaining that cross-cultural experience, we guarantee you an experience you will remember for a lifetime, and we will be there with you every step of the way.

 

By Nilaksha Gajaman
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

Read More →

Leadership, Travel

How a foreign internship opportunity could escalate your career prospects

If you are on the look for an internship opportunity, you might not even think of applying for a foreign internship right away. But in today’s competitive job market, having foreign work experience is one of the things that will make you stand out among others.

Here are the ways how foreign internships can boost your career prospects and benefit your journey throughout this modern-day professional world.

 

Opportunity to learn and develop noteworthy skills

Have you heard local interns always complain about how their work is tedious and dull and how they are continuously assigned monotonous tasks? Well, this problem will not be faced if you go for a foreign internship.

If we contrast the scope of skills that a person will gain from a foreign internship and from a local internship, it’s obvious that the range of skills from a foreign internship is much broader and more enriched. A foreign internship gives you the opportunity to pursue soft skills like communication, social skills, cultural understanding, and adaptation. And hey, you can even learn a new language during your stay in a foreign country.

With the foreign internship experience, you can show your future employers that you are good at theory and technical skills, and you also do well in practical and in-the-field work that you have learned by working with internationally renowned employers.

 

It is a value-addition to your CV

Among other wide range of positive aspects, the value addition you get for your CV is one of the most attractive benefits that a person will get from a foreign internship. An applicant with foreign work experience will definitely stand out from others, as global exposure is not something that employers will often come across in CVs. This gives an extra boost to the CV and increases your chances of getting your dream job.

On top of that, you can also get references from your foreign employer to include in your CV, which will surely impress future employers when you are on the job hunt and even make you open for international careers!

 

Helps to build a global network

You can take the first step in building up a global network of friends by taking on a foreign internship opportunity. This comes with meeting new people from different cultures and backgrounds that will give you the perfect opportunity to build a network of colleagues and employers on an international scale and widen your view of the world.

These lifelong friendships might even come in handy in creating business relationships that will help you to advance in your career and achieve your professional goals.

 

Challenges you to push boundaries

Let’s be honest, working as an intern in a foreign country sounds exciting but also challenging at the same time. Most of us like to stay in our comfort zones and stick to the routine activities that we do on a daily basis. But through an overseas internship, your eyes will be opened up to new opportunities, different trends, cultures, systems, and practices that will give an immersive global experience that is impossible to get locally.

This global exposure surely will put you two steps ahead of your colleagues and is a nifty way to impress your future employers.

 

Wide range of fields to choose

You have the opportunity to select from a wide range of internship opportunities from different countries. As the scope of fields covered in foreign internships is broad, an intern can choose an opportunity as per their liking and follow it to a successful career path.

We in AIESEC provide you with a wide range of opportunities along with our assistance throughout every step of your internship journey. Whether you like Marketing, HR, Designing, Sales, Engineering, Web Developing, or even Teaching, we got you covered!

 

Register through AIESEC!

It takes courage and determination to move out of your comfort zone and to say yes to a foreign internship. It may seem challenging to work in a completely new environment, but if you go through with it, you will never regret the decision you made. Besides, you can fill two needs with one deed by checking travel and work experience both on your to-do list by trying out an overseas internship!

So hurry up and grab the opportunities we provide through AIESEC Global Talent and AIESEC Global Teacher to witness your dreams become a reality.

By Dulni Wedage
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in US

Read More →

Leadership, Travel

Why should you select Sri Lanka for your internship?

Internships have now become an essential part of any education program. Internships allow students to work with industry professionals while providing them the opportunity to apply the theory they learn in the class environment to practical use.

When considering foreign internships, in particular, they’ve played a vital role over the past few years, in getting students accustomed to working in diverse, multicultural environments.

If you’re considering an internship abroad, working in South Asia might’ve crossed your mind a couple of times due to the friendly people and the best climate. Out of those countries, Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the year-long tourist destination that you may definitely have heard of, might be the ideal destination for your internship.

Why do I say that?

Well, here are five reasons why you should select Sri Lanka for your internship,

 

01. Sri Lanka’s Economy and Cost of living

Sri Lanka is a lower-middle-income country, and its developing economy is primarily based on agriculture and service. But, Sri Lanka’s literacy rate is 92% – higher than anywhere else in Asia. As a measure of how effectively it has promoted education overall, the country ranks 28th out of 124 nations.

Secondly, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other countries, especially if you’re from Europe or North America. The majority of living costs come from housing, transportation, and food. Basically, one inexpensive meal would be 315 Sri Lankan Rupees, a one-bedroom apartment in City Center would be about 30 000 Sri Lankan Rupees, and a one-way transportation ticket would be 50 Sri Lankan Rupees. 

Cost is low for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals, and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. The cost of clothing and footwear is also relatively low. The communication cost is also low for various expenses such as internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff, and data cost. Moreover, general health care, doctor visits, hospital stays, and medical insurance are also very low.

So the monthly allowance that you earn from your internship will be enough to cover your daily expenses, cover your emergency expenses, and will even save you some money for weekend traveling.

 

02. Easy working culture

Though the official languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil, most internships will not require to know either Sinhala or Tamil since English is now increasingly popular and rapidly used all over the country. 

You get to meet people from different diverse backgrounds and to communicate and work with them. This will allow you to make friends from different cultures since Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious country. If you plan to do your internship in Sri Lanka, you will obviously end up making many lifelong friends by the end of your intern period.

 

03. Helpful, caring population and safety measurements

Sri Lanka people are known as smilers. They all see themselves as hosts to this tiny island. Sri Lankan hospitality is second to none. Foreigners are welcome at any place and occasion, making you feel like you aren’t a stranger amongst Sri Lankan people.  Generally, they’ll greet you by joining two hands in prayer- like manner and saying ‘Ayubowan,’ which means ‘long life.’ 

Visiting Sri Lanka as an intern is also a very safe affair. You can always find help whenever you need it.

 

04. The best South Asian Cuisines and Sri Lanka’s topological beauty

Sri Lanka boasts the best seafood in all of Asia and probably the world as well. ‘Fish ambul thiyal’ (sour fish curry), ‘Kottu,’ ‘Parippu (dhal curry),‘ ‘Hoppers,’ ‘Polos,’ a tangy fish curry in a fancy beach restaurant, or even simple homemade rice and chicken curry, you’ll end up enjoying every single bit of it.

Sri Lanka is a traveler’s paradise, with the beaches with pristine coastline and the tropical rain forests housing diverse wildlife, including elephants, hikes admit lush green hills. Pretty villages and towns add more glamour to this tiny island. Sri Lanka has it all – a tropical climate, sandy beaches backed by lush deep green forests, hilltop hideaways, a diverse-off array of wildlife, and tea plantations. 

There are so many incredible things to experience while interning in Sri Lanka, and everything will be made even more special and unforgettable by Sri Lankan people.

 

05. Support from AIESEC

Sometimes it feels hard to survive in a foreign environment on our own. Yes, it’s somewhat challenging to adapt to a new culture, new weather, and a unique lifestyle. This is why you should select an AIESEC internship above all.  All the concerns you have will disappear with the help you get from AIESEC. You’ll be able to get the help of an EP Buddy during your stay, and you’ll be able to get all the information you need.

Moreover, AIESEC will be there every step of the way before you leave your home country and while you are doing your interning in Sri Lanka.

We ensure you get the visa, arrival pickup information before your intern, and departure instructions after your internship period. We accompany you to the workplace on the first day and ensure that your job description and goals are clear. 

Sri Lanka has a combination of stunning landscapes, captivating cultural heritage, and unique experiences. Interning in Sri Lanka will allow you to see how working is different in developing economies compared to more developed economies. 

So don’t waste any more time trying to decide where you want to do your internship next. Apply now for Sri Lanka internships with AIESEC Sri Lanka.

 

By Ruvindi Kapurubandara
Showcasing Team –  AIESEC in USJ

Read More →

Leadership, Travel

“Surviving alone in a foreign environment is hard” – is a myth

From the beginning of human existence, we encounter and welcome new foreign environments at different stages in our lives, from birth to attending preschool, the first day of school, orienting in university, recruitment in a workplace, visiting a foreign country. These are just some of our must foreign environment encounters, and every one of us has to go through each stage without a doubt.

What is the first thing that we do when we are born? We cry out loud with the pain of adapting to the new environment. When we go to preschool for the first time, we will still cry at least on the first day. The first day of school will still be the same. Now we enter the university since we are somewhat mature and adapted; we don’t cry on the outside but still, cry on the inside. This will be the same when adapting to a new workplace.

However, throughout all these stages, we have a lot of people closer to our hearts to make things easy and comfortable for us. But… 

 

What if we have to survive in a foreign environment on our own?

The stereotypical mindset is that “it’s tough to survive in a foreign environment on our own.” Well, it’s not entirely wrong but entirely correct either.

Well, how can it be correct and wrong at the same time? Let’s see.

 

Why will surviving alone not be easy?

Living under the assurance of our parents, family, and elders our entire life and going to a foreign environment alone where we have to be independent will obviously be challenging.

A new culture, a new living system, new weather, a new set of customs and norms will take time to adapt. During that time, the body will negatively react and make it uncomfortable to live in that environment.

These are just a few of the common problems that everyone might face when adapting to a new environment,

  • Feeling tired continuously; mentally and physically
  • Confusion
  • Feeling isolated due to lack of communication
  • Constant headaches

Now don’t be afraid, all these are natural, and we can avoid them with time by taking proper actions and enjoying our time to the fullest while making all the moments memorable.

 

What can we do to make things easier?

First, it’s going to be new, and that’s something we cannot avoid, but how this ‘new’ makes us feel is something that we can work on.

There are some tips we can follow, and let’s find out what are they,

Have an Open mind

It’s crucial to be open-minded, specially when stepping into a foreign country. With the new culture, there will always be something in traditions, norms, and behaviors that will catch you by surprise.

It’s natural not to have a fully open mind towards the foreign environment. Still, we should at least have it at a level to accept and acknowledge the differences between each other and be respectful towards each other.

Do Research

Research is a must if we are stepping into a foreign environment—the more you research about the country, the lesser the shock and easier it is to survive.

The most prioritized necessity for a human to survive is food, shelter, water, and food. When we are stepping into a foreign environment, all these are different and alien to our bodies. So we need a bit of preparation for what to experience and how to provide our needs. If we know what kind of food we are getting to eat, where we will get to sleep, the way to communicate with the natives, then we are good to go.

A little bit of research helps all the way!

Communication

Interpreting communication as language is a huge misinterpretation. Knowing the language does play a major role in communication, and as we can communicate clearly, but it’s not the only thing that we can rely on.

With modern inventions, translation apps are used more frequently, and they make it really convenient to communicate with the natives. And also, keep in mind, body language is a universal language! 

To survive in a foreign environment, you don’t need to know every expression in the foreign language, but knowing some important ones will help you to avoid inconveniences. Few would be,

  • Do you speak English?
  • Hello/Good morning/Welcome
  • I’m sorry/ Please excuse me
  • Can you show me how to get…?
  • Please write that down for me

Reach for help

Sometimes the best way to make things easy and survive alone is to ask for help. You can ask for guidance from previous exchange participants about their experience, learn from their experience and keep in touch with them. Having a friend in a foreign country or keeping in touch with professional support (buddy partner) can also help.

Surviving in a foreign environment alone will not be easy. It’s going to be a challenge, and the way you face it will make things different.

The more you are ready and prepared to face the challenge, the easier it will be to survive alone.

Don’t be afraid to go alone! Let’s not cry on the inside or outside, and let’s face these challenges with a smile on our faces.

Good luck on the journey to learn.

 

 

 

By Vinuri Bisheka
Showcasing Team –  AIESEC in USJ

Read More →

Leadership

Remote Platforms to Improve the Employability of Youth

“Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and gratification of your ego, then hard work becomes a labour of love”

– Steve Paulina 

The concept of employability stands for achievements such as skills, understanding, and personal attributes that make a job seeker more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupation. Simply, it can be expressed as getting a job that helps improve a country’s economic growth as there’s a direct relationship among these two variables.

When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, a lockdown was implemented in many countries. Organizations had no choice but to have their employees work remotely. When we consider the youth employability statistics, it shows that 59 million young people worldwide are unemployed. With the prevailing situation all over the world, it has been even more adversely affected. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has stated that more than one in six young people has stopped working due to the pandemic.

 

Why is employability through remote platforms essential?

When considering youth employability through remote platforms, the following points highlight its importance.

The increasing usage of technology can empower women to apply remote work practices effectively within the home environment.

During the lockdown, young women confined to the houses got ample time to explore new things through distance learning and to engage in their own small businesses (such as producing cakes, delicious sweets, handicrafts, which were sold online). Even women who used to work for 9 -5 jobs also got an additional advantage with remote working. It provided them with a platform to balance work responsibilities and family responsibilities.

Technology can make a platform that provides an equal and fair opportunity to all.

Electronic learning platforms now provide a vast level of knowledge to youth to build up their skills which in turn will help to improve their employability. These platforms provide not only skills and knowledge but also offer job opportunities for job seekers after completing the particular qualification.

The analysis of gathered data for accurate job matching has been improved with the use of Artificial intelligence and machine learning

The use of new technological applications helps to generate insightful data to improve the skills and generate demand and supply, provide a clear understanding of market gaps among the job seekers and employers. Also, this will be helpful to make regulations and policies to stimulate the job market.

 

Trends in remote working platforms

The demand for retail and delivery services has increased in some regions due to the pandemic. Grocers, Pharmacies and E-commerce marketplaces are sustaining consumer access to essentials- food, medication, toiletries at the same time, striving to keep customers, employees, and suppliers safe.

Even the health care sector has seen an increased demand for care services online. With this increase in demand for online health care services (commonly referred to as telemedicine), e-lancing opportunities are created for developing online chatbots for basic medical advice, microwork such as tagging X-rays, data formatting, and structuring, including cleanups, handwriting transcribing, etc. These will be good opportunities for the youth to engage in work experiences.

 

Developing guidelines for remote work

Some organizations are now adapted for remote working. They have organized staff training and developed guidance and manuals on remote work about the personal and time management scheduling and email guidelines. Most organizations have changed their HR policies, started offering flexible working hours, and adapted their HR policies to recognize work from home. Even undergraduates can easily find jobs while managing their studies and other work due to this.

 

What should we consider when doing remote work? 

Have firm office hours

Though you are getting an opportunity to work from home, that doesn’t mean you can procrastinate your office work, or you don’t have to take care of yourself. Instead, even though you’re working from home, you should strictly stick to the schedules. It will help to get over the stress in the long run and efficiently do the office work. 

Staying healthy mentally

As this is a very tough time for all of us, keeping mental health in check is very important. So without having an extra burden weighing down on your shoulder, it is crucial to have a good work-life balance and work according to schedules. 

In a conventional work environment, we have physical interaction with our colleagues and clients. But with the distance-working mechanisms, we lose this. However, the technology available now has enabled us to keep a healthy relationship with people while minimizing the physical interactions and all the negative consequences that come with it.

How AIESEC uses remote platforms to improve employability? 

To combat all the adverse effects of the pandemic, AIESEC has come up with a way to facilitate internships through virtual platforms specially for social media management, project management, content writing, graphic designing, etc. 

These opportunities provide youth with a chance to gain experience in managing social media, performing market and competitor analysis, generating new content and campaign ideas. Not only that, they will help to improve influencing and negotiation skills, teamwork skills, communication skills, proactiveness, and will even help to develop a mindset for growth.

Success will always come to ones who are hardworking and dedicated. When you are truly honest with your goals, motivation, and skills, you can find work that somehow makes you successful. 


By Hanshi Dinushika
Showcasing Team – AIESEC in USJ

Read More →