You´ve applied, you´ve been accepted. Well done! So, are you ready to go on the exchange now? To facilitate the upcoming procedure, on here I´ve put together a short checklist for everything you have to remember doing before going on the exchange. At the end of the article, you can also find a printable for you to print out and check off as u go.
1. You got accepted!
After you´ve got the good news, remember you have to say yes to the opportunity. Get back to them as soon as possible! After confirming the opportunity, you´ll get sent a contract you´ll have to sign. Also, remember to pay the £450,- fee so you can get to the final stage of approval.
2. Attend the OPS
During the Outgoing Preparation Seminar you´ll be told about everything you need to know about the upcoming adventure: During the seminar, we will provide valuable information about the course of the exchange. Also, you´ll be introduced to the AIESEC community and everything we can offer: you´ll learn about the importance of AIESEC in the world and why it is important to do these exchange programmes. Further, you´ll be told about something called cultural shock. That means that, depending on the country of destination, you´ll be facing not only a different language but also a completely different culture, habits, and beliefs. These will affect your expectations, but also might throw you off track as soon as you arrive. In order to prevent the latter, you´ll be told about the history, culture, political situation of the country, and much more. Based on this information you´ll be able to set your goals and expectations for the upcoming adventure!
3. Plan your exchange – the formalities
Now that everything´s settled, the planning for the exchange can start. There are some things you have to consider up front, in order to make the trip going as smooth as possible. First things first: get documents. Do you need a visa to go to the country of the opportunity? If so, apply for that as early as possible. Do you need something else to go to the destination, like a passport? Or vaccination? Do you have valid travel insurance that covers the whole stay abroad? Getting these things can take forever, so the earlier you take care of that, the earlier you can lean back and enjoy the adventure.
4. Get everything settled
A next step would be to book a flight. It is your responsibility to get to the destination of the opportunity in time in order to start the internship/volunteering on the date set by the partner. Sometimes it is recommendable to get to the destination one or two days in advance in order to get the first glimpse at your new environment. Please let us know when and where you´ll be landing, so we can come and pick you up from the airport. We also accumulated some tips for you in order to help you to get the most affordable flight. Read them here.
5. The packing
Something that is often underestimated is the packing process. Depending on the form of the exchange you will stay abroad from a couple of weeks up to a year. Packing for such a long time requires some serious skills. so that you don´t end up with luggage twice as heavy as you are. A good tip here is to write a packing list. get on the internet and gather more information about the place you´re going to: How is the weather there? Do they have seasons? Do you really need four different rain jackets? Also make a list of all important information details, like the one of your emergency contact person back home, the AIESEC entity from your country, as well as the information of the AIESEC entity of the hosting country. Further, put down some emergency numbers like the International SOS, phone number and address of the embassy of your home county in the hosting country, and a few emergency hotlines like the police, the ambulance, etc.
6. The big day has come
This is the day you´ll be embarking your adventure. As soon as you´ll land you´ll be collected by someone from AIESEC at the airport. They will get you safely to your accommodation. Further, you´ll be introduced to your Buddy, who will be your most important contact person for the time of your stay. Your Buddy will help you to get accustomed to your new environment. You will also meet plenty of people from AIESEC so you won´t be alone. Further, you´ll go through an IPS – Incoming Preparation Seminar – where you´ll get some more information about what is to come.
7. The adventure
You´ll start your work/volunteering, make new friends, get to new destinations and develop yourself. This is your journey, go and make the most out of it! And in case you need help at any stage of the process feel free to contact your AIESEC contact person. Also, stay in contact with AIESEC during the whole process, as we can provide valuable information and help at all times.