Aug 19, 2007

Answer to my grandmother

In past two years I've been traveling quite a lot, which has mainly been to different AIESEC conferences and international meetings. As I've also written before - going to an AIESEC conference is not the same as traveling to some specific country. Yes, the conference takes place in Egypt or Macedonia or Turkey as now, but during the conference you are dragged into a different world that is put together from different nations, set schedule, knowledge and ideas and you barely sense the culture and world outside of the plenary.

Before coming to Turkey my grandmother asked me in a concerned way (yes, she still thinks life outside of your known area is more dangerous than the one you have tried already): "Why are you going to all these conferences? What do you really get out of communicating with all these people?"

In a way the impact of my experiences from conferences might be hard to measure. The international network I have built might not last more than 5 years (if even so much) after AIESEC and I might not use it to the full potential for making business or something else concrete out of it. So if the size of my international network would be the only measure of my success coming from conferences (and I'm talking about personal gains, not organizational, which are obviously bigger) then it would be very hard to explain to my grandmother why am I actually investing so much time into conferences.

But as I've realized the network itself is not that important as the ability to build the network again in any given situation. Simple communication skills, art to talk to people and feel comfortable among different mindsets coming from various religions and cultures. You learn all of this also in your everyday work in AIESEC which is very much team based, but conference situation is the most intense and practical lesson to learn the art of networking.

During my stay in Turkey I won't update my personal blog, but will write regularly in our MC blog which can be found here