By Sarah Emery, For The Miami Student
Students at Miami University are about to have a new chance to see the world and build their global leadership skills at the same time.
For that, juniors Ryan Hebein and Jake Zalac are responsible. The two have helped to rebuild Miami's chapter of AIESEC (pronounced EYE-sec), a unique organization that allows students in over 110 countries to intern or volunteer in countries worldwide while learning about global leadership and business.
"AIESEC is an international network," Hebein, who learned about the organization from a friend at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said. "[It is] a way to be immersed in the culture … it is a platform for leadership."
Although the nonprofit organization was originally intended for students in economic and commercial sciences, the purpose of the group has since been extended to include students of all majors. Because of this change, the original meaning behind the acronym has been dropped and "AIESEC" is the official name of the organization.
Hebein and Zalac, along with advisor and economics professor Bernali Gupta, hope that AIESEC will attract dedicated and intuitive students with an interest in developing into global leaders.
"AIESEC can be a platform where students from different universities can live and work in a foreign country and represent [their] university while gaining international exposure developing their leadership in an international environment," Gupta said.
AIESEC focuses on both outgoing exchange, where Miami students can travel to any country witha chapter and be provided with an internship, and incoming exchange, where the Miami chapter itself will host international students and help them find internships in Dayton and Cincinnati.
While AIESEC has been at Miami since the 1980s and has garnered a large alumni base, the group was disbanded for, as Hebein put it, "a lack of determination" in 2011.
This semester marks a fresh start for the global leadership and exchange program. Zalac and Hebein (the President and treasurer/VP of exchange, respectively) both said student response has been encouraging. Over 200 students have expressed interest in the club, they said.
The group will host an informational session at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 in FSB 0027 to both explain the organization's benefits and to welcome guest speaker and group advisor, Eric Anderson.
"Anderson is a former AIESEC member who ran the chapter at Illinois for the majority of his time
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there and received a lot of professional experience … that helped him get to where he is today," Zalac said.
Paul Hamill, a 1986 alumnus who traveled to both Hong Kong and Sweden with AISEC during his time at Miami, reached out to Hebein and Zalac to offer both his support and that of Anderson's, who he connected with while in Hong Kong.
Anderson, a Mason, Ohio, resident who is currently President and General Manager of LensCrafters in North America, credits his own success to his AIESEC internship experience in Hong Kong and, according to Hebein and Zalac, is eager to become involved with the organization that helped cultivate his career.
At the informational meeting, he will discuss his path to a successful career, focusing on the incredible impact that AIESEC has had on his life.
Hebein, a social justice major, said he hopes to volunteer in Central or South America this winter to teach students English. Zalac, a finance major, said hehopes the Miami chapter of AIESEC will soon have enough members to eventually allow students worldwide to intern in Southwestern Ohio.
AIESEC flyer advertising informational meeting.