AIESEC increasing cultural awareness

Photo courtesy of Shiva Rathore

For students searching for work opportunities abroad, AIESEC at Tech is an invaluable tool. The organization offers both paid internship and volunteer opportunities abroad, and conducts national and international conferences each year.

The primary mission of AIESEC is to aid students in achieving leadership experience in cross-cultural settings.

Meghan Lowther, third-year INTA, is the current president of the Georgia Tech chapter of AIESEC and believes that the opportunities she has gained through AIESEC have profoundly influenced her life.

“The main thing about AIESEC, and the thing that has brought me back, is that we encourage and provide practical learning experiences. Whatever you do, it is always going to be challenging because you encounter people from different backgrounds and beliefs,” Lowther said.

AIESEC has maintained the same goals since its founding.

“The organization was started after World War II by European students to encourage cross-cultural exchanges,” Lowther explained.

For this reason, the name AIESEC­ — Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales — stems from a French phrase. The French phrase roughly translates to International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences, though the organization mostly goes by its acronym now.

Today, AIESEC is the largest student-run organization in the world and is located in over 100  countries around the world. Its focus is to connect students with leadership opportunities in cross-cultural environments.

“The chapter was founded at Georgia Tech in 1967. There are currently 40 chapters in the US and AIESEC operates in 120 countries,” Lowther said.

Students can participate in and benefit from AIESEC’s services in a variety of ways. Lowther is preparing to go abroad with AIESEC this summer, and has experienced the positive impact of attending AIESEC conferences.

“We have national conferences every summer and every winter. There are also a number of international conferences,” Lowther said. She will be attending a conference in Peru.

The conferences are an incredible opportunity to meet people of different backgrounds and encourage meaningful discussions.

“We have a very practical way of achieving our mission statement. The holistic process is incredible — it is practical and open to everyone; it builds bridges,” Lowther explained.

AIESEC accepts international students to the United States and provides opportunities abroad for students in the United States. The opportunities abroad include both volunteer positions and paid internships.

The organization offers unique connections in many fields, and the international demand for English-speaking students is something that Tech students benefit from.

“One of my good friends went to Japan to work for a software company as a third year, and ended up working in conjunction with a branch of Microsoft. He got a full-time position at Microsoft when he came back,”  Lowther said.

Additionally, there are a variety of programs to accommodate the interests and schedules of any student.

The programs are very flexible; volunteer programs can last anywhere from three to six months, and the Global Talent internship program can last between three to twelve months. Scholarships are also available.

AIESEC at Georgia Tech currently has 32 active members and they have recruitment opportunities each semester.

However, the organization is not member-exclusive; anyone at Tech can utilize the services of AIESEC.

“We’ve experienced quite a bit of growth in the last year or so,” Lowther said. “Our mission as a committee this semester is to cultivate global change through local leadership, and find a good number of students to go abroad and have these experiences.”

To learn more about the Georgia Tech chapter of AIESEC, you can visit for information regarding applications, partner countries and program descriptions.