Student internationalizes Beedie experience with AIESEC

Apr 12, 2012

The following article was submitted by Beedie School of Business graduate Esther Chang:

As you learn in any introduction to economics course, life has a lot of tradeoffs. So if your goals are to travel around the world to get a deeper appreciation of life and culture, you will most likely have to trade off a lot time from developing your career.

By participating in an international internship with AIESEC, however, you can make the most of both options. You get the opportunity to experience a foreign (and sometimes very exotic) country in conjunction with professional development.

I graduated from the Beedie School of Business in September 2011 and concentrated in HR and Marketing. As soon as I finished, I travelled to Bogota, Colombia between September 2011 and February 2012 – this proved to be one of the best experiences of my life.

While in Bogota, I worked in an organization that provides English language solutions for corporations, most of which are in the oil and gas industry. My role in this company was two-fold. As a fluent English speaker, I often taught advanced English to managers and employees working at the Colombian head offices, and assisted in editing and proofreading presentations and reports (BUS360 goes a long way!). The end readers of most of these reports were investors or board of directors from Canada or the United States, so the business communication and presentation skills that I gained after years of class presentations and report-writing at the Beedie School of Business were invaluable.

My second role in the company really developed my professional skills. Working as an HR Assistant, I gained experience in recruitment and training and development. The interpersonal skills and teamwork skills I learned through the numerous group projects at Beedie taught me how to work with new and potential employees and how to generate excitement towards working for the organization.

I was also involved in making proposals and presentations to potential clients, and I met with potential language resource suppliers/publishers. In all of these functions I utilized the skills developed at the Beedie School of Business.

The professional experience I gained by working in Colombia was a definite résumé booster, but being placed in a completely different land and culture really allowed me to grow as a person.

I did most of my travelling during weekends and holidays, which was where I feel I gained the most experience in another culture. Engaging and living with people who have completely different ideas about what is important and necessary in life was a real eye-opener. It changed the way I think and it sparked new passions and dreams that I would never have thought possible. Perhaps best of all, I met people I never knew existed, and who I would otherwise never have made a connection with.

I first heard about this opportunity when I received an email saying: “Come to COLOMBIA for a life changing experience.” I can now testify that I did have a life-changing experience, and I would recommend this to any other student.

AIESEC’s job is to take care of you. They help you with housing, transportation, culture shock, and perhaps most importantly, with visas. I would urge anyone to do something different with their life and to internationalize their BBA degree with AIESEC. Go explore and stir your sense of adventure. Go see and change the world through AIESEC SFU and the Beedie School of Business.


AIESEC is the world’s largest student run organization that develops student leaders through a Global Internship and Global Community Development Program. By focusing on youth leadership development, AIESEC offers the opportunity for students to participate in meaningful experiences abroad in a global learning environment. For more information on AIESEC, visit

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