Many people frequently ask what the advantages of AEGEE are, and why they should join. Others stress the fact that it is beneficial to gain experience and to add something special to their CV. This is often said, but the final outcome of this is not so frequently shared.
When writing her thesis about AEGEE in Denmark and Spain, Patricia Anthony interviewed several members from Spain asking whether the high activity rate in Spain was due to the large (youth) unemployment in the country. In most of the cases, the answer was “no” or “I don’t think so” proving that AEGEE members are young people with different skills and talents. As a result, it seems that AEGEE members have an advantage in this economy.
David Martín is from Las Palmas where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He is now 23 years old and when he finished his degree he moved to Barcelona to continue his studies there, now with a Master in Energy Engineering. He has been working for Hewlet-Packard since November 2012, where he is now in the TBO department (take back operations), carrying out issues regarding packaging, batteries, electric and electronic devices when they are in their off-life cycle. He joined AEGEE two years ago in Las Palmas. As soon as he moved to Barcelona, he became very active in AEGEE-Barcelona, where he is events responsible in the board.
As many other AEGEE members, he also loves to travel, do sports, learn languages, playing the guitar and get to know people from all parts of Europe. What captures our attention though, is that David got his job because of his AEGEE experience. The AEGEEan interviewed him to get some more information about his story.
The AEGEEan: When did you join AEGEE?
David: I joined two years ago because I had many friends in the antenna who had been trying to convince me to join it for already too many years then. I was the type of person who keeps repeating that AEGEE is a sect. However, Luis (Alvarado Martinéz) was always so insistent that I decided to reward his persistence by giving AEGEE a chance. It was a decision I will never regret.
What was the final drop that convinced you to join AEGEE?
Apart from having a lot of friends telling me to join, I heard stories about people going to Budapest for a weekend at a very cheap price, or other people saying “My summer university was the best travel I have ever done!” All these kind of things along with seeing my friends all the time in Las Palmas with a lot of exchange students doing interesting activities, talking in English, and traveling for cheap prices made me decide to give a try to this association.
What is it that you like about AEGEE?
My main reason behind being in AEGEE is that I love to travel, but it is also because language and cultural exchange are important for me. Moreover, I believe that AEGEE teaches you skills that you cannot develop in the university. I also like getting acquainted with people from different parts of Europe, and so it was also because of AEGEE that I could make some really important friendships.
What have you done in AEGEE?
At the beginning, I got involved in AEGEE by participating in the local events of AEGEE-Las Palmas – events created for the Erasmus world. Suddenly, I became very active in the antenna and my first actual participation was in a Youth in Action project that we carried out in November 2011 (From the roots to the fruits). That was where I learned some of the most important AEGEE basics like volunteering. Later, I attended several events, involving Network Meetings, a Travel Summer University and I also visited the CD house in Brussels. Once I finished my degree, I moved to Barcelona in order to do my master, and I contributed to the organisation of their TSU. Now, I am one of the board members of AEGEE-Barcelona.
The AEGEEan: I have been told that you’ve got a job due to your AEGEE experience, can you tell me the story?
Of course! Well, I started my master studies in last February and I thought about working at the same time, so I began looking for jobs looking interesting for me. This was when I received an offer from Hewlet-Packard. It seemed very interesting for me, so I applied and they called me in order to arrange an interview. The interview was done in English because the department I was to work for was full of people from different countries. That was the first chance I got due to AEGEE because since I joined the association, my English improved a lot! After talking about my CV and my experience, I spoke about AEGEE, saying all the things that we do and all the skills that I have obtained through it, like how to coordinate events, working groups, workshops and to learn languages in the meantime. They realized that I was a really active person full of inquietudes demonstrating that nowadays, a lot of corporations show a raising interest in the power of non-formal education. It appeared that they really liked all the things that I told them. I am not sure why they decided to give me the job but what I do know is that for me, AEGEE served as an important plus which others did not have.
If you were to encourage others to use their AEGEE experience when applying for a job, what would you say to them?
For me, the most important thing is not to hesitate to add AEGEE experience, which you can explain later on during the job interviews, to your CV . Knowing how to take advantage of it and how to explain all the necessary information about it, could be decisive to get a job. It is normal to have a lot of experience but if you don’t know how to sell all this information in an interesting way, then it won’t be appreciated. So be brave and share the knowledge you have learned through AEGEE, it will be worth it.
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København