My name is Hilla, I’m from Oulu where I currently live and study as well. I’ve been a member of AIESEC for almost two years now but first I need to take you to the autumn of 2017. I was just starting my Early Childhood Education studies at the University of Oulu. I wasn’t really the most self-confident person due to a bad burn out I had experienced six months before. I won’t get into many details about that but I just wasn’t feeling myself at that point in time and I was a bit weary on how would I do in the university life.
During my first week of university, I joined AIESEC through a friend who was a member of AIESEC in Oulu. I decided to join because I was missing an international environment which I was used to during my au-pair year in the Netherlands. However, during the first few months in AIESEC, I noticed how many new things I got to do and experience. I was part of a team which was responsible for finding host families for international volunteers coming to Oulu. During my time in that team, I very quickly had to learn to work in an international team, public speaking and customer service skills. I also noticed how much things I could actually do if I wasn’t so scared of trying. For that, I had a good team leader who encouraged me and supported me through it all.
After the first two months, I was hooked. I was hooked on the constant challenges AIESEC offered to me and the confidence I gained when I got through those challenges. This got me applying for a position to take care of the projects that AIESEC arranges in the Oulu region with different partners like schools, NGOs, etc. and the volunteers coming to those projects. Little did I know it would be the biggest growth opportunity life had offered to me. During that year I was leading a multicultural team of 10 people and got to develop my leadership skills in a whole new level.
In AIESEC we believe that a leader needs specific qualities that are being self-aware, having a solution-oriented mindset, being a world citizen and having the skills to empower others. For me, the most groundbreaking has been becoming more self-aware. For me being more self-aware means that I can acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses and how to work with them, align my life better with my personal values and dividing my time so that I can explore the things I’m passionate about.
Of course, I’ve developed all the other leadership qualities as well. Through being presented with challenging situations on a weekly basis I had to become more solution-oriented. I’ve also become a real world citizen through conversations I have with other members of AIESEC that come from countries like Turkey, Sri Lanka, and South Korea. As a Finnish person it is very easy to just live inside your “Finland bubble” where everything is fine but when you hear how things are in other countries you start seeing world problems on a global scale. For me, that really made a difference in how I see myself as part of the change that needs to happen in this world.
Last but not least, I’ve learned how I can empower others to also make them see their potential. This is a lesson that I’m still learning in my current position as the Local Committee President of AIESEC in Oulu. If you want to develop yourself, acquire essential skills for the future and get to live in an international environment, I highly recommend joining AIESEC. What do you have to lose?
Blog post and photo: Hilla Mettovaara
AIESEC in Finland is recruiting! You too can join as a member in one of our five local offices (Helsinki, Oulu, Turku, Jyväskylä or Tampere). Make sure you apply by 8th of September at bit.ly/joinAIESECFINLAND