I Wake up Inspired
Albina Manikeeva, HSE graduate in economics, is vice president for finance at AIESEC, an international student organization. She spoke to us about the opportunities to participate in international study exchange programmes, and professional and social internships.
— How and when did you join AIESEC?
— I joined AIESEC in September 2012 after my first internship as an English language teacher.
— Today you are vice president for finance at the organization. How did you manage to become one of its top administrators?
My progress towards the position of vice president for finance was gradual: first, I was a member of a social entrepreneurship project team, and then I became its leader and organized ten international volunteers who taught English at schools in St. Petersburg. I decided to continue my development and to apply for the position of vice president, and I was successful in the selection procedure.
— You studied well at HSE, but how did you manage to combine studies and work at AIESEC? Did the skills you obtained at university help you at work?
— It was not so difficult to combine studies and work at AIESEC, since I liked what I was doing and saw that it was useful for me. I sometimes only slept 4 or 5 hours a day, but woke up inspired early in the morning and was always ready for the new day.
The skills I received at HSE were useful in my work, when I, as vice president for finance, went through the audit process, submitted various reports to the authorities, and managed the budgets.
But AIESEC also helped me to be successful at HSE: I can now easily speak before an audience of over 40 people for 1.5 hours, I have learned project work, I have developed my teamwork skills and important practical competencies, not only theoretical knowledge. And I had the chance to apply in practice the theory I was taught at HSE.
— What student exchange programmes does AIESEC offer and how one can participate?
— There are two exchange programmes at AIESEC: volunteer internships in such fields as teaching and global issues, and professional internships in teaching, marketing, and hotel management. To take part in this programme, register on the website and choose your preferred programme.
— In what AIESEC programmes did you participate?
— I volunteered twice, in Turkey and Bahrain, and tried various management positions. Today I am part of the national team and conduct various training sessions, coaching and webinars.
— How did your life change after participation in these programmes?
— It certainly helped me gain self-confidence and understood what it means to get out of one’s comfort zone and find solutions for any situation, since as part of AIESEC you participate in all kinds of cases.
But the most important thing is that now I have friends across the planet, who support me and who are always ready to welcome me to their countries.
— What advice would you give to students who want to go on an internship in another country?
— Don’t be afraid to open yourself to the world, and be ready for various situations, including culture shock, unusual food, and other surprises. But I promise that you’ll get to know a lot of people from various countries and will have the experience of working in an international team.
— You are graduating this year. What are your plans for the future?
— I want to try to work at AIESEC in another country, as a national office head, or possibly for a professional internship.