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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - AIESEC helps students connect overseas

AIESEC helps students connect overseas

piseychan

One young Cambodian lady has been able to travel around the world through the world’s largest youth-run organisation - AIESEC.

Pisey Chan, 25, first became involved with AIESEC  in 2009 when co-founder Jan Bartsch came here to set up a Cambodia division of the organisation.

Chan was a student at Pannasastra University and attended a small AIESEC recruitment function.

“They said they had more than 110 countries all over the world, and I was looking for an international opportunity so I could go out and see the world,” she said.

Since then she’s been to eight countries: Vietnam, Thailand, Kenya, Taiwan, China (Hong Kong), Canada, Korea and Indonesia.

She had been a typically shy Cambodian girl and struggled to speak to strangers.

“The changes that I experienced, personally, the change in me is that I became somebody who was confident in myself and I learned about my own strengths and weakness.  These experiences of travel changed my point of view,” she said. “It was not just about doing it for yourself, but the fact that your actions can affect people around you,” Chan said.

But it wasn’t so easy to get into AIESEC.  She submitted an application and went through a selection process to a short list.

“Only people who are really passionate and want to make an impact to society are selected, so you need to have leadership and skills and make an impact.  They are also looking for people who are willing to learn,” she said.

Chan was able to get employment from AIESEC on the International Team and used her salary to pay for trips to international conferences.  She also got support from Coca-Cola to go to Hong Kong.

“Right now I feel like I’m in the grey area, and this is the first time stepped into the corporate world, and a lot of things I learned in AIESEC, I can apply, but I’m still a student, maybe not really experienced enough, so somehow I need to try hard to find more experience and networks,” she said.

The name AIESEC was originally a French acronym for Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales, which translates to English as the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences, although the original name is no longer in use, just the acronym.

Chan visited Hong Kong in October and was the first female AISEC Cambodia member to join the Discover 2012 conference with 250 other people in attendance from AISEC Hong Kong.

As for her future, Chan says shhe’s going to apply to various universities for a master’s degree abroad in marketing.

“I’m passionate more in marketing and event organising, and I want to use two levels of that, and I believe education will add more value to my future career.”

Eventually, she would like to have her own organisation with young partners who take their own initiative, working in the corporate sector and solving problems.

“Of course we need to have financial sustainability, but I want my company or organisation to make use of the young talent of Cambodia, creating jobs for them, and making impact on them. It is not just about having the company and the money, but how can the company involve the young people and make impact to them and for the society as well.”

Chan doesn’t see herself as a stay-at-home person, but rather someone engaged in working in support of other people, and helping them solve their problems.

“I want to help people who are struggling, old or homeless people, what will they do?” 

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