Why going on an exchange will change your life forever

Most people, when they decide to travel, are thinking about holidays: palm beaches, nice fresh mountain air, maybe a cocktail with a little umbrella in it. People treat travelling as an escape route from their “real” life. Little do they understand that life does not begin or end with a holiday. Why not live a bit more when travelling?

The next time you decide to go abroad, ask yourself this: Do I actually want to enrich myself by discovering new cultures or do I rather prefer to discover the minibar of my hotel room? Do I want something more from the place I am visiting? And can I give back something more? The answers to these questions lie in your hands. I guess that relaxing on the beach will also become boring at one point.

We vouch for an international experience because we are seeing, every day, how it changes young people. But we’re not the only ones.

Roman Krznaric, in his book Empathy, devotes a big part of the discussion to how people can get more empathic. He brings a very interesting example of Che Guevara, the famous revolutionary. In his young years growing up in Argentina, he was living quite the good, safe life. His biggest change in his life was when he decided to go on a long motorcycle trip to Chile and Argentina, to see more of the world. He started working with leprosy and people who were suffering from it, being in contact with locals, feeling their happiness and their pain. What Krznaric observes as difference maker for travelling and getting more empathic is:

“So how can we ensure that travel is a way of expanding our empathic vision? Che Guevara provides the answer: we ideally need a project to direct us. Guevara’s project was to volunteer for a few weeks at the leper colony in Peru, and to visit leprosy hospitals and experts en route. He still spent plenty of time getting drunk and dancing badly in pursuit of female attention. But his project brought him into contact with local people and their lives, enabling him to see far more than the Inca remains at Machu Picchu.”

This is what we would want to offer to young people as well: a project, a more purposeful journey. That’s why we are talking to you: you should take the opportunity to leave your normal surroundings and travel to a country with a rich culture. You will be amazed: by the new ways of living, their traditions, their world

Getting an experience is easy, but getting a real experience is far more enriching. You can do this through a volunteering experience or via a professional internship, the choice is all yours.

You can check our opportunities for such an experience as well, and see if you would want to live your AIESEC Adventure.

We want you to be aware of the importance to go on an exchange and live your own story. During our National Exchange Awareness Month we will share experiences with you from people that already went on an exchange.

What are you waiting for? Discover opportunities.aiesec.org today!

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