Going to University is an exciting and scary chapter in each and every one of us development. For some of us means leaving home behind and moving to a new country or city, while for others is chasing the career of their dreams.
No matter how you feel about going to University, I have to say that to me, it was the best part of the educational system. I never liked school, but University was the time when I realised what career path I want to follow, made friends for a lifetime and made one of the most precious memories so far.
Related: Things School Never Taught Me
It was such a beautiful period of my life not because of the University’s curriculum – hell no! – but because of the organisations I joined the all the volunteering I did.
If you’re a freshman at Uni, or in your second year, consider joining one of these student organisations to enhance your student life to its fullest.
Well… of course I’ll start with AIESEC. I was a member, so it’s only fair I would say.
The organisation focuses on developing leadership skills
An AIESECer has different responsibilities. They organise different events and projectsamongand members have the opportunity to join as a marketing, sales, finance specialist and so on. You learn from older members and is a great learning experience.
It’s a great opportunity to discover what career path excites you and you get to better understand how a company works, since the organisations have a very similar structure and uses business tools.
Location: worldwide, across 127 countries
Cause: leadership, cross-cultural experiences
Best suited for: international students, economy, marketing, IT students, or students who plan to work in an international company or have their own business
BEST is he abbreviation for Board of European Students of Technology.
The overall feel and structure of the organisation is quite similar to AIESEC, but it focuses more on students who study IT, engineering and other related fields to technology. BEST tries to help students of technology more internationally minded and tries to integrate them on the work force through internship and partnerships with different companies.
The organisation is pretty much structured as a company – with departments and VPs. So it’s a great way to boost your career from early stages.
Location: Europe, in 34 countries
Cause: professional and personal development
No, it’s not the pretty blonde from Frozen, don’t panic. It’s actually another abbreviation which stands for The European Law Students’ Association.
As you guessed it, this is an organisation exclusive for law students across Europe. It is run by law students and it provides professional development in the field of law.
ELSA organises international exchange opportunities for their members in order to help them develop their foreign legal system knowledge, form friendships and connections ac across the field.
It has a matrix organisational structure, where members can become presidents or VPs of certain departments, in order to develop their soft skills too.
Cause: personal and professional development
The Red Cross
Probably everybody heard of The Red Cross. Originally founded in Europe, this NGO spread worldwide and is famous for its humanitarian work.
You can become one of the 17 million volunteers or you can become a member.
It is not as career focused as the previous NGOs I mentioned, but it’s a very good way of putting your time to good use and interact with different people. As a member, I got my first aid certificate which is worldwide accepted.
The Red Cross
I personally had the chance to volunteer or interact with all of these organisations and I’m telling you they can bring a tremendous impact in your development as an young adult.
How to find them
Since most of the organisations mentioned here are student-focused, you will find an office in big University
So, if the city you’re going to study has quite a big university, chances are you will find almost all of these organisation. Do a simple Google search of the organisation and the city you’re about to move and see what you get. You can always check out their website, since all have their locations listed in a way or another.
Last, but not least, you can check if you can
How to join
Almost all of these organisations will require you to be a decent English speaker. If you don’t speak English at all, it will be impossible for you to learn and make the most of your experience. Don’t be afraid to practice your English. I developed my speaking skill a lot as an AIESEC member.
Since we are talking about NGOs that get in contact with companies, international institutions and so on, a selection process will be in place to select members. It can be an interview, a letter of intent, an application form or a mix of these. They have to make sure that they select the right members that fit the
Have you joined any of these NGOs or have you considered volunteering while studying? Let me know in the comments below!