Are you planning to go on an AIESEC exchange? Whether you’re a student looking to gain international experience or a recent graduate looking to make a difference, an AIESEC exchange can be a life-changing opportunity. Trust me; you are going to have the most amazing time of your life.
However, before you embark on your journey, there are a few things you should know to ensure a smooth and successful exchange. Here is a checklist of the 10 most important things you should know before going on an AIESEC exchange.
- Apply For Your Visa In Advance (You Can Do The Visa Process By Yourself – It’s Pretty Simple)
- Plan For Your Flight Tickets
- Have An Expectation Setting Call With The Host Entity (Ask For Accommodation Pictures)
- Have An Outgoing Preparation Seminar With The Home Entity
- Always Keep A Copy Of All The Documents With You and Your Loved Ones
- Prepare Yourself With The Project and Its Requirments
- Pack A Few Souvenirs From India – Indian Flag, Fridge Magnets, Post Cards, Sweets & Namkeen, Gifts
- Apply For ISIC Student Discount Card
- Gather Information About Sim Card, Local Transportation, Food Delivery Apps, Online Taxi Apps, Transportation From the Airport
- Pack Your Bags and Organise Your Stuff Smartly
#1 Apply For Your Visa In Advance (You Can Do The Visa Process By Yourself – It’s Pretty Simple)
Begin preparing for the visa application process as soon as you receive your invitation letter and other documents from the AIESEC Host entity. To ensure ample time in case of delays, start the process at least 2 months in advance.
Additionally, it’s recommended to apply for the visa directly through the embassy rather than using an agent, as the process for popular AIESEC Exchange countries like Nepal, Egypt, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Europe, etc., is generally straightforward and easy to understand. This will also save you from paying agent commissions and potential uncertainties with regard to processing time.
You can read my blog on How To Apply For Turkey Tourist Visa In India? And Schengen Visa Is Free For AIESEC Exchanges! Here’s How To Apply For Poland Visa In 3 Simple Steps For AIESEC Exchanges to get a proper understanding of the visa process.
Please Note – Countries like Turkey and the EU(European Union Countries) do not require confirmed flight tickets for visa applications. Only reserved flight tickets/flight itineraries are required for the visa application. Therefore, if you are planning to go for an AIESEC Exchange in Turkey or the EU, always book the flight tickets only after you have received your visa.
In case you still have any doubts regarding the visa process or the documents for any of the countries you are planning to do an AIESEC Exchange in, you can even reach out to us over Instagram or email. We will be glad to help you out with our best compliments.
#2 Plan For Your Flight Tickets
After confirming the dates of your AIESEC Exchange, book your flight tickets as early as possible to take advantage of lower fares. To avoid potential issues with flight disruptions or cancellations, it’s best to book directly through the airline’s website instead of using third-party sites.
Additionally, if you are a student, try looking for student fares, as some airlines may offer perks such as additional baggage allowance or discounted rates.
#3 Have An Expectation Setting Call With The Host Entity (Ask For Accommodation Pictures)
Having an expectation setting with the host entity is the most important aspect of preparing yourself for an AIESEC exchange. Please keep the following things in mind –
- Make sure to have at least 3 expectation-setting calls with your host entity. One before applying for your visa. Second, before booking your flight tickets, and third, a week before your departure date.
- During your expectation-setting call, emphasise the following pointers –
- Ask for accommodation pictures before your departure. Do not proceed with the exchange if the host entity denies sharing the accommodation pictures with you.
- Confirm if your accommodation is in a dorm or with the host family. If your accommodation is with a host family, ask the AIESEC Host entity to establish communication between you and the host family.
- Make sure you have all the details you need with regards to the accommodation. Ensure that you have the same accommodation for the entire duration of your AIESEC exchange.
- Take note of the person who will be picking you up from the airport. Get in touch with that person at least a day before your arrival. Sometimes, the AIESEC host entity does not pick you up from the airport. Instead, they provide pickup from the nearest bus station or railway station to the town. In this case, get a proper clarification well in advance.
- Get a proper understanding of the project, its needs and requirements.
- Get in touch with your EP buddy (a person who will be in touch with you throughout your AIESEC Exchange). This person will be your first point of contact in case anything goes wrong.
- If in case you are not able to get the details about the points mentioned above, immediately get in touch with your home entity to clarify the same.
Please Note – I would personally request not to proceed with the AIESEC exchange with the concerned host entity if in case any of the above-mentioned details are not provided to you before your departure. You can request a change of host entity.
#4 Have An Outgoing Preparation Seminar With The Home Entity
The Outgoing Preparation Seminar (OPS) with the AIESEC home entity is your first touch point to clarify all your doubts and questions you may have with regard to the AIESEC exchange. The Outgoing Preparation Seminar (OPS) is usually conducted 1-2 weeks prior to your departure date.
The Outgoing Preparation Seminar (OPS) is a training program organised by the AIESEC home entity for individuals who are planning to go on an AIESEC exchange program. The seminar is designed to prepare you for your upcoming exchange experience.
During the seminar, you will learn about the cultural and social norms of the country you will be visiting, as well as information about the host organisation and the specific project you will be working on. You will also receive training on intercultural communication and problem-solving, as well as health and safety guidelines.
You will also have the opportunity to interact with other AIESEC exchange participants who are also going on exchange. Moreover, the Outgoing Preparation Seminar (OPS) will also help to gain insights from returning exchange participants. You will also be given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you might have.
In addition to the above, you will also be given the opportunity to develop your leadership skills and to get a deeper understanding of the impact that you can make through the exchange program. It’s also an excellent opportunity to make friends and network with people from different countries before the exchange starts.
#5 Always Keep A Copy Of All The Documents With You and Your Loved Ones
It’s essential to always keep a copy of all the important documents with you and your loved ones when participating in an AIESEC exchange program. This includes your passport, visa, invitation letter, insurance policy, and any other important documents related to the exchange. Keeping a copy of these documents with you at all times can help to ensure that you have easy access to them in case of an emergency.
It’s also a good idea to leave a copy of these documents with your family back home. This way, if something happens to your original documents and you’re unable to access them, your loved one can send you a copy of the documents you need.
In addition, always keep physical copies of the documents with you; it’s also a good idea to scan and email copies of the documents to yourself or upload them to a cloud storage service. This will provide an additional backup in case you lose your physical copies.
Ensure that you have multiple backups in case something happens to the original documents. This will give you peace of mind and help to ensure that you can access the documents you need when you need them.
#6 Prepare Yourself With The Project and Its Requirments
Preparing yourself with the project and its requirements is an important step when participating in an AIESEC exchange program. Before you depart for your exchange, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with the project and its objectives, as well as the skills and knowledge that will be required to complete it successfully.
You should research the project you will be working on and try to understand the specific challenges and issues that the project aims to address. You should also review the role and responsibilities that you will have within the project and what the deliverables are.
In addition to familiarising yourself with the project, it’s also important to ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete it successfully. This may include language skills, technical skills, some presentations or other skills that are specific to the project.
By preparing yourself with the project and its requirements, you will be better equipped to make a meaningful contribution and a significant impact on the host community. Additionally, it will help you to understand your role and responsibilities in the project. It will make it easier for you to communicate with the host organisation and other stakeholders (the place where your project will be).
#7 Pack A Few Souvenirs From India – Indian Flag, Fridge Magnets, Post Cards, Sweets & Namkeen, Gifts
Another important aspect to consider before going for an AIESEC exchange program is to pack a few souvenirs from India to share with your new international friends. This can be a great way to share a piece of your culture and to create lasting memories of your exchange experience. Indeed, one of the main objectives of an AIESEC exchange.
You can carry some popular souvenirs from India, such as the Indian flag, fridge magnets, postcards, Mehendi cone (Henna), some sweets, and namkeen. These items are relatively small and lightweight, making them easy to pack and travel. You can find these souvenirs easily in gift shops near you.
When going on an AIESEC exchange, you will be making beautiful connections and some long-lasting friendships. Offering them gifts that represent India, such as traditional Indian clothing like sarees, kurtas, dupattas or jewellery like jhumkas or bangles, will be a great way to showcase your culture and hospitality to them.
In addition to the above, you could also pack some traditional Indian sweets or snack boxes like Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Kaju Katli or Samosas. These items are a great way to introduce your host community to the flavours of India and create a memorable experience.
#8 Apply For ISIC Student Discount Card
Students who are planning to go on an AIESEC Exchange can also enjoy lots of discounts and benefits with the help of the ISIC student discount card. Do read my blog on What Are The Benefits Of An ISIC Card (International Student Discount Card)? Here’s A Step By Step Guide Explaining Its Application Process, Benefits, Features, And Validity!
#9 Gather Information About Sim Card, Local Transportation, Food Delivery Apps, Online Taxi Apps, Transportation From the Airport
Another important aspect to consider before going for an AIESEC exchange program is to gather information about local transportation and other practical information that you may need while on your exchange. This includes information about local sim card providers, food delivery apps, online taxi apps, and transportation from the airport.
Before you depart, it’s important to research the different sim card providers in the host country and to find out which one offers the best coverage and rates. You can check these details online. This will help you to stay connected with your loved ones back home and to navigate your way around the host country with the help of google maps.
It’s also important to research the different transportation options available in the host country, such as local buses, trains, and taxis. See if you can download any mobile applications for easy navigation. This will help you to plan your transportation ahead of time and to make the most of your exchange experience.
Additionally, look for the popular food delivery apps and online taxi apps in the country you will be visiting so that you can order food or take a taxi ride at any time. This will be helpful for your daily commute or from the airport and will make your experience more comfortable.
Lastly, ensure you have all the information about transportation from the airport to your accommodation. This will help you to plan ahead and avoid any last-minute stress.
Overall, gathering information about local transportation and other practical information is an important step in planning for your AIESEC exchange program. By doing your research ahead of time, you can make the most of your exchange experience and navigate your way around the host country with ease.
#10 Pack Your Bags and Organise Your Stuff Smartly
Packing your bags and organising your things smartly is an important step before going for an AIESEC exchange. Before you depart, it’s important to make a list of all the things that you need to bring with you and to pack them in a way that is both efficient and practical.
One way to do this is to use packing cubes or compression bags to organise your clothes and other items. This will help to save space and to keep your things organised and easy to find.
In case you are visiting a country during the winter, do pack warm clothes, gloves, sweaters and other necessary things. Pack appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather, and consider packing a small umbrella or a rain jacket.
Lastly, you should also pack a small backpack or a cross-body bag to carry your essentials like your passport, wallet, phone, and other items that you may need during the day. This will allow you to keep your hands free and to have easy access to your things.
Overall, by packing your bags and organising your things smartly, you can make the most of the space in your luggage and be well prepared for your AIESEC exchange. This will also help you to carry your luggage efficiently if you choose to travel to other places during your AIESEC exchange.
AIESEC exchange is definitely the perfect way to explore cultural exchange and make lifelong connections. Do keep the things mentioned above in mind to have a perfect AIESEC exchange experience.
Do reach out to us in case you have any doubts or questions regarding any AIESEC exchange.