My journey within AIESEC started one year ago. As I was scrolling online during a well-deserved break after the courses, an online announcement got my attention. The Local AIESEC Committee of Louvain-La-Neuve was recruiting new members to join their association as they do every semester.
They were looking for dynamic people willing to be part of a youth association and make a change. And so was I.
I never was part of an association so it was hard for me knowing what to expect but I took my courage into both hands and I decided to apply. Back in the time I couldn’t have any clue that this decision would bring a such huge change in my life.
Once the recruitment process was over I got selected and I joined the association as a member of the Talent Management Department. Hopefully I was not the only “newbie”, as AIESEC likes to call people entering the association, as I was recruited alongside other local and international people.
A couple of weeks took us to be introduced to our tasks and our new environment and as I was enjoying my first steps within the association I learnt my very first lesson about AIESEC: the AIESEC environment is so wide and rich that you’ll never stop from learning from your beginnings until the end, growing as an individual days after days & weeks after weeks.
The weeks went by and I increasingly started to find my feet. I got more and more involved into my Committee’s activities as I was noticing the positive results coming out from our actions. Hard work does pay off, as we say in AIESEC, and its benefits are priceless.
Hard work does pay off, as we say in AIESEC, and its benefits are priceless.
It made me looking to endorse more responsibilities and it lead me to apply for a Team Leader position. It was the next step in my AIESEC journey and taking this decision was easy for me. AIESEC is a platform where each individual is free to express their ideas and test themselves, and once you got used to its environment it naturally pushes you to endorse more responsibilities and grow as an individual.
After six months spent within the association, I became leader of a team of five people. As I was lacking shared knowledge from my predecessor, I had to step into a new environment and test myself. It made this experience for me the most challenging so far but the most rewarding as well as I learnt the most during this experience.
After a month my soft skills such as time management, motivation and communication got significantly better. Leading a team makes you realize that it is not only about the numbers and the performances but also about the people. I learn to be more empathic, more flexible around my members’ needs and I improved my communication.
As we were experiencing good and hard times, I learnt a lot more about my strengths and weaknesses as well.
As a Team Leader I went obviously through a lot of failures and missteps. It is part of the process and it makes your learn. Beside, I knew that I was surrounded by like-minded people which I treated not only as colleague but as brothers and sisters. Failing in this condition makes it suddenly a lot more positive and instructive.
As a Team Leader I went obviously through a lot of failures and missteps. It is part of the process and it makes your learn.
For the majority of students like us, those new learnings are priceless considering the fact it is hard to learn them from the educational system. It makes it even more relevant for me as the university education in Belgium generally lacks practical simulations.
Therefore and looking back at my Team Leader term, I could only recommend everyone to try out for this opportunity. From this experience you will not only learn the most about the people and how leadership works, but you will also learn a lot more about yourself and how you deal with your own limits.
As I am finishing this letter, I am now heading towards new opportunities and new challenges awaiting for me. I wish you a successful continuation in your AIESEC journey, and I am looking forward to meet you on my AIESEC journey. Cheers.
— Alexis Van der Plancke.
Team Leader and member in the Talent Management department of AIESEC in Louvain-La-Neuve (2019)
You want to live a similar experience to Alexis? AIESEC is recruiting new members! Check out more here: aiesec.org/membership