Does AIESEC really care about you?

"AIESEC is a non-profit, student-run organization that offers students opportunities to see the world in ways they have never seen before"
 If you are reading this blog, I am sure you have heard that before.

AIESEC brands itself as a humane organization with integrity that genuinely cares about your future and whether you will have a chance to explore foreign countries.

AIESEC information sessions seem to focus a lot on you, the potential exchange participant: the student who is going to risk time, money, and safety for life-changing internships.

The reality, however, is discomforting. And much of it can be traced back to AIESEC's operation model.

At the end of the day, AIESEC is all about numbers, performance, and nice looking charts. Every year, the headquarter of AIESEC issues a set of performance indicators (ex. number of EP matched) that it expects each chapter to reach. In order to meet those expectations, AIESECers tend to focus a lot less on sending people to enjoyable internships than on adding extra numbers to their year-end report.

Source: http://issuu.com/aiesecinternational/docs/annualreport1112

The fee that you paid initially for matching is divided among your home chapter and the chapter that you will be exchanged to. To improve their performance, some AIESEC chapters will knowingly accept more exchange participants than their capacity, on both the incoming and outgoing side. As a result, after the acceptance of your fee, AIESEC delivers poor customer service and empty promises. During their time oversea, some EPs may even find themselves without a job (even though they have been matched) because the chapter abroad simply does not have the resources to host that many interns.

If the AIESEC's internship service is really all about the exchange participants, AIESEC should not have emphasized on quantity over quality.

AIESEC does not rely solely on exchange participants to generate income. On the other side of the spectrum, AIESEC serves as a global provider of affordable human resources(you) to mainly small, medium-sized businesses. Therefore, the bigger the pool of available exchange participants, the better AIESEC can prove that it is big enough to handle the business.

Once a company is convinced by a local chapter, it will pay the chapter a fee (around 3 -5 times of the EP matching fee) to list their job offerings on the database. In some places that are desperate for funding (which frankly is the case for many chapters), the AIESECers there are less inclined to conduct quality & background check on the internship providers before they sign. After all, the only thing that matters at the end is the amount of internships (TNs) they contributed to the database that year. That can also explain why the volunteering program contains many problems.

Effectively, you have paid for a service with no consistency in quality. With AIESEC, you can never be too sure about what you are going to get at the end.

Friday, February 28, 2014
Posted by John Smith
Tag :

The 6 AIESEC Values - What They Actually Mean

AIESEC claims to have six main values, activating leadership, living diversity, striving for excellence, demonstrating integrity, enjoying participation and acting sustainably. Here's what they really mean.



1. Activating Failure  Leadership 

There are leadership experiences all around you -whether it be taking the lead on a group project, or starting your own business. There is no intrinsic aspect of AIESEC that makes joining the organization a leadership experience. After all, by joining AIESEC, you are not becoming a leader but merely becoming another worker in the hierarchy. Go become the next Steve Jobs or Angela Merkel or Warren Buffet. That's leadership. 

2. Living Incompetently Living Diversity 

To give AIESEC some credit, giving students a multicultural experience is one of their main selling points. If only they could do so without giving people terrible experiences.

3. Striving for Inferiority Excellence

See #5) enjoying your money. AIESEC is quantity over quality.

4. Demonstrating False Advertising Integrity

"We are consistent and transparent in our decisions and actions." 

There's nothing transparent about how we deal with EPs. AIESEC has tons of information  brainwashing sessions, where we aggrandize the quality of the internships and tell you how "you can be a part of the solution" (whatever that even means). None of these said sessions will tell you the multitudes of complaints AIESEC receives, and the type of lowly work you will be doing on your internship.

5. Enjoying Your Money Participation

It's all about quantity when it comes to AIESEC. LCs are ranked based upon how many EPs they raise and then match (send abroad); we just need to get you EPs out of the country, regardless of how terrible we know your internships will be.


6. Acting Recklessly Sustainably 

There's nothing more reckless than sending students abroad without adequately ensuring their safety. YOLO.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Posted by John Smith
Tag :

AIESEC Egypt - My Bad Experience with AIESEC Cairo University's Local Committee

Here's another AIESCAM EP testimonial from Egypt.

source: http://guidecosmos.blogspot.ca/2013/04/aiesec-egypt-my-bad-experience-with.html
Not the AIESEC way at all

How i got to know AIESEC

I was introduced to AIESEC through one of my friends who went on an internship with them and during that time i was starting to believe that it's time for me to start having some international experience and to travel abroad to see a different culture through a big organization that has many followers across the world.So i signed up with AIESEC through my LC (local committee) which was the one in Cairo university in June 2011, they asked me to pay EP fees (exchange participant) to be able to get my profile on myaiesec.net and start the matching process. They explained that these fees are used to fund housing for the interns that will come to Egypt and that they don't make any kind of profit. I paid the fees which back then were 1000 EGP and i got matched to the LC in Kiev, Ukraine

Read on to get to the part about the scam.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Posted by John Smith

Top 5 GCDP Internship Problems

As a former EP manager, I can attest to the endless complaints I deal with over the summer. Here are the top 5 most common: 

1. The Local Chapter (LC) didn't take care of me

A common problem is when the LC you're going to is a no-show. You arrive at the airport, thinking that the receiving LC will pick you up and bring you to your accommodations, but you end up having to find your own way in a strange new city. Not only is this false marketing about the services AIESEC provides, but it is also extremely dangerous. Take for instance Masuno Yurika, a Japanese universeity student whom was sadly raped and killed on an AIESEC internship after taking a taxi alone from the airport to a nearby train station. The biggest flaw in the AIESEC structure is that your home LC has no idea which LCs are good and which LCs are bad. AIESEC members come and go, so the quality of foreign LC change constantly. 

2. I don't have work to do 

So you thought that you would be doing high level, intellectual work, be it working with other NGOs, universities, or museums. Think again. False marketing is riddled throughout the AIESEC database. If an internship sounds too good to be true, it is. 

It is common, especially in China, India and South America, for EPs to get forced into teaching english even though your TN states a completely different job description. The people running the organization then collect the money you've earned for them.

For instance, one of my LC's EPs went abroad to China believing that he would be managing a university research project on China's education system. However, when he arrived at the LC, they brought him to an elementary school and told him he would be teaching English for the next 2 weeks until the project was ready. Once the two weeks was up, they told him that it would take another two weeks. The truth was that the project never existed, and this EP ended up spending his summer doing work he didn't sign up for. 

3. My living conditions are disgusting

When you sign up for a GCDP program, you are told that you shouldn't expect 5 star residences. Sure, it can be a part of the experience -but the accommodations should at least be livable. Whether it be too many interns stuffed into the same room (can anyone say fire hazard?), or a lack of filtered water or cooking stoves, EP's should be provided with at least the basic amenities.

One of my EP's told me that her group was provided "accommodations" in a hospital ward in Venezula. Another EP who stayed at an intern home told me that she had $90USD stolen from her wallet while she went out with the other EPs. Enough said.

It's not ok for companies to lie on their TNs about the accommodations, but unfortunately, there is no means of quality control. As well, scams are plentiful as many interns are taken advantage of and told to pay absurdly high rates for their living spaces, much above market rates.

source: http://aiesecchandigarh.blogspot.com/

4. There are no other EPs, and I'm all alone 

You were told that you would be spending your summer abroad with wonderful people from all over the world, giving you the opportunity to build up your international network. Often, this is not the case. Many companies hire only one or two EPs due to cost constraints. EPs end up spending their time abroad completely alone in a strange city, especially if the receiving LC is unresponsive and irresponsible. Add on to that language and cultural barriers and you have yourself a terrible experience abroad.


5. I'm having problems with my internship or accommodations, but no one can help me 

My last and most important point is that you CANNOT believe for one second that AIESEC can take care of your needs when you're abroad. The home LC has no way of helping you when you're half way around the world. Sorry, but you cannot rely on me, your EP manager, to fix your issues even if I want to -all I can do is send a couple of emails to your receiving LC, which will likely be ignored. Sure, you can file a complaint with the bureaucratic mess that is AIESEC International, but that too will  likely be ignored. 

Monday, October 21, 2013
Posted by John Smith

Exchange Experience with AIESEC in Beijing, China

**LC = Local Committee. GCDP = internship but unpaid. GIP = internship, paid. PKU = Peking Univ. RUC = Renmin Univ. EP = Exchange Participant.
It’s my story when I went to Beijing last August (2012). I just moved it from another place to this blog…because I wanna share to wider readers.
This is a story of my second exchange experience with AIESEC with GIP program (two years ago I went to Beijing for a GCDP program, which was a bit messed up too, but this is another story).  My EP ID is: EP-In-ID-US-2012-1445 and the TN ID of my program is TN-In-CN-PK-2012-1984 via AIESEC PKU.
This program is an Education Training program where I can teach English in China as an assistant teacher for one semester, started from September 2012. In the TN form, it wasn’t stated that only NATIVE SPEAKERS or WESTERN PEOPLE could apply, so I applied and got accepted by a girl named Gujing in May 2012. The interview process was very quick and I got accepted right away.
Yet several problems happened before and during my stay in China for a short one month. It was an exceptionally bad experience. To make it easier to understand, I will put this story into some parts. I wrote this solely for a ‘warning’ and ‘sharing’ purpose to other future-exchange-participants/people in general so they won’t experience the same awful things like us because of this company and a certain man called Larry (*9 people who were in the same project with me from many different countries). I don’t intend to do a libelous act nor put the blame solely on one party.
Click to read on.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Posted by John Smith

Considering a GIP internship? Think Again.

"Global Talent is an internship program that gives you the opportunity to take on a cross-cultural professional development experience with professional companies from around the world."
Sounds pretty neat, eh? But before you pay the so-called "matching fee", you may want to know the truth behind their enticing claims. 

"You will get to work at the most prestigious companies"





P&G, PwC, UBS, ING, Microsoft: you name it, AIESEC has it. The organization is simply so great that all these companies have flocked to become its business partners. And you, a prospective intern on its service, will soon be welcomed to the headquarters of these companies, where you will spend your holiday developing life-essential, professional skills in a foreign country. 

This dream will come to an end when you officially become an exchange participant. Just like the real world, jobs at these big shot companies are in high demand, and quite frankly, as a first year university student or a graduating senior who has no previous work experience (which is probably why you have decided to join this program in the first place), you will never get those jobs. 

Generally speaking, each of those named AIESEC partners has a maximum of 5 job listings on the database (once you pay, you will gain access to a database with "thousands of internship opportunities"). Assuming each country recruits 300 interns every year (this number varies from country to country, but in this case let's pretend it is the global average) and there are 124 countries, there will be 37200 like-minded students who also have access to these opportunities. If you are ready for such competition, why don't you apply for a real job instead? Did I mention that it's free? No middle man there to collect a so called matching fee. 

And that was a conservative estimate. Globally, AIESEC has 100,000 members and they all have access to the job listings. Some of these people are local chapter presidents, vice presidents, or even just general members that have been in AIESEC for years. If the corporate partners receive a lot of applications(which they will), why would they pick you over the current AIESEC members (AIESECers)?

"You will make money while gaining valuable work experience"




Okay, first of all, that applies to all the jobs in the world. But, through AIESEC, you may actually lose money by participating in their program.

Yes, it is true that the company will pay you during the internship. However, since AIESEC does not provide accommodation or food when you are on the Global Talent Program, all your salary will be contributed toward your living expenses. And don't forget about the cost of the flight and other travel expenses. Most importantly, don't forget about the matching fee, which I will provide more information in the next section.

If you are really interested in an internship abroad, you will probably find cheaper alternatives that do not bind you to the same restrictions that AIESEC will impose on you.

"You are paying for the service"




After you officially become an exchange participant, your local chapter will assign you a person (an exchange participant manager), who will be directly responsible for your internship search process.  The quality of that service depends on the person and varies depending on the chapters. A good manager will provide constant feedback, encouragement, and job suggestions for you. However, in the case where the person provides no assistance to your job search, just remember that you have paid for the "matching service". 

In my opinion, the only reason that justifies the matching fee is the access to the database on myaiesec.net. However, many AIESEC chapters have recently begun to hide the database from EPs, since they "don't think the exchange participants are capable of identifying suitable internships; [access to the database] will create inefficiency and dissatisfaction." 

It must be even more comforting to know that the database you have paid for is filled with job listings that even the AIESECers believe are scams.

Technically, the matching fee also leads to services abroad, including airport pickup, free sightseeing, and automatic friendships with AIESECers abroad. Depending on the chapter that you are exchanging to, your experience with AIESEC will vary. In many countries (namely China, India, and Romania), you should not be expecting any of those promised services. Since most AIESECers are either clueless volunteers or evil schemers, they have no interest as to whether you will actually enjoy your international experience as long as you have paid the fee. 

In information sessions, they preach about the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone while highlighting the supportive AIESEC global community. Let me give you a realistic scenario:
Imagine you have just landed in the underdeveloped airport of India after 23 hours of travelling. Unable to speak the language, you were told to stay in the airport until an AIESECer comes and picks you up. Five hours have passed and no one has shown up. All of a sudden, an Indian man offers to carry your baggage and runs away with your bag. You have now lost everything except for the contact information of the AIESECer. Now, you are really stepping out of your comfort zone! 
*This happened to a past exchange participant*

"You will become a part of the global community"




Whether you liked your exchange experience or not, you will never be able to leave the AIESEC family. Given that you have survived your experience abroad, you will return to school, where your local chapter will shamelessly harass you for exchange testimonies, information sessions, and being featured in other promotional materials. 

If you actually enjoyed your internship, you may to share your experience, after all, it would have been nice if someone else did the same for you a year ago. But how many times do you actually want to do that? If they are really desperate, you may end up talking in every information session and in every exchange participant related event. To AIESECers, EPs are just free promotional tools to be used. 

"The program is highly flexible and refundable"

In the likely case that you won't find anything appealing on the database, AIESEC will eventually offer you an opportunity somewhere. Your manager will most likely recommend you to try the Global Citizen Program (volunteering) this year in order to build up your CV to be more competitive in the paid program next year. For more information regarding why the volunteering program is even worse, please refer to the review for the volunteering Program.


AIESEC makes money when you pay the matching fee; it does not provide a full refund ( in some chapters, the fee is even non-refundable!) since it "undertakes a selection process to ensure that candidates who are entering our exchange programs have the have the best chance of finding an internship". They will deny you a refund on the grounds that the "matching service" is already rendered. You have to prove that you have exhausted and considered all internship options AIESEC offers, and found no suitable ones, for the partial refund to be processed (around 53% of the matching fee). Statistics have shown that the number of exchange participants who have passed the review board and paid their fee, but remain jobless, is substantially larger every year. 



If you are debating whether an AIESEC internship is right for you this summer, proceed with caution.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Posted by John Smith

What really is the AIESEC Volunteering Program?



Although you may never land a job with the paid internship option, GIP , AIESEC is still able to offer you countless opportunities from its volunteering program, The Global Community Development Program/ Global Citizen Program.

AIESEC has an abundance of internships that require interns with no professional skills. They are generally unpaid, but the host will provide "free" accommodation and food (that you are entitled to when you pay your initial matching fee). But what will you actually do while you are on exchange?


AIESEC's volunteering program can be divided into 3 main categories:

Education

The AIESEC database is filled with education jobs located all around the world. The only criteria required to sign up for this program is the ability to speak English and a means to pay the fee. You are given the choice to teach students of various education level: elementary, high school, and university.

The program is highly flexible and you are usually not given any specific instruction as to what you should teach. The reality is that you will end up babysitting the elementary and high school kids for 2 weeks, given that the job is actually available (for more information, please refer to the 5 common problems of GCDP)

Social Awareness

AIESEC has partnerships with numerous NGOs around the world. As an exchange participant of this program, you will be working in disadvantaged communities filled with HIV AIDS patients, sex workers, and/or mentally-disabled children. Similar to the education internships, you will most likely be teaching the community life-essential skills such as knitting and sewing. Some job descriptions are honest and clearly state that you will most likely only be accompanying the disadvantaged population of the mentioned communities. It is essentially a babysitting job, for adults. 


Cultural Promotion

This category incorporates elements from both the teaching and the social awareness program. You will be promoting your own culture by bringing flags, music, clothing, and food to a foreign country. You are rarely given any real task as the job descriptions for this kind of internships are usually vague. Essentially, this is just a program that allows you to go sightseeing in the name of an international internship.

Friday, January 25, 2013
Posted by John Smith

Mission

A site dedicated to spreading the truth about the "world's largest student-run organisation", AIESEC. Whether you are a potential exchange participant or current member, we will bring you the facts you need to know. If you have your own story to share, feel free to send it to us as a guest submission.

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