Fri, Oct 19th, 2018
The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, or IAESTE, was founded in 1948 at Imperial College, London. National organisations from ten European countries met in a post-war effort to promote better understanding between countries and cultures. Since 1948, the association has grown to include more than 80 countries and has exchanged in excess of 340,000 students worldwide. IAESTE exchanges around 7,000 students annually and plays an important role in giving technical undergraduates practical work experience and a global perspective. And on 20 October, IAESTE organisations across the world celebrate #IAESTEDay.
To mark the day, we’re looking back at the experiences of some recent IAESTE trainees from Ireland. IAESTE trainees gain invaluable industry experience while getting a first-hand insight into foreign cultures and languages, making lifelong friends and gaining unique life skills. Our trainees look back on their time with IAESTE with fondness and maintain their active involvement in our programme through the IAESTE Local Committee, keeping the spirit of IAESTE alive down through the decades!
“I went on my IAESTE traineeship to Tunisia in the summer of 2016 for 7 weeks. I was living with 30+ international students in a suburb of the capital city Tunis. The local committee organised trips away every weekend to different parts of the country and activities for us after work during the week.
Because of this, I got the chance to go on a camel in the Sahara desert, ride in a 4×4 over sand dunes, travel to a remote island paradise on a Pirate ship, and swim in the Mediterranean sea! I met wonderful people from all over the world and got to practice and learn words in new languages, while sharing my own English and Irish languages with them. Living in an Arabic society, I learned the ways of a culture and religion completely different to my own. Because of my IAESTE experience, I have been noticed by employers as being adaptable and open-minded, and ready to take on any challenge that is thrown at me. I have also developed a thirst for travel and for understanding other cultures and traditions. Happy IAESTE Day 2018!”
“I was lucky enough to spend this past summer in Yantai, China, working as a technology development intern at Wanhua Chemical. Throughout the three months, I gained valuable knowledge about working in a laboratory environment, friends from countless countries, and an appreciation for the Chinese culture, food, and language. IAESTE allowed me to meld both work and pleasure as I expanded my technical expertise while also experiencing the taste, smells, and sights of many Chinese cities.Looking back, I have many fond memories including swimming in the “Gold Beach” at night or eating rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival.Although the culture shock and language barrier proved difficult at times, I can confidently say that my time spent abroad has helped me to mature as a person and as a future chemical engineer”.
“During my IAESTE traineeship in Prague I met some amazing people from all around the world through their Local Committee events. In addition my work placement was challenging, stimulating and I learned a lot about the professional life of a scientist. I would recommend a summer with IAESTE to any student seeking a professional placement abroad in an exciting new country.”
If you’re a student of a technical subject at third-level in Ireland and would like to travel for relevant work experience, you can apply for the programme online now. Find out more about the programme in our IAESTE section.
Images courtesy of Kerrie Drum, Fiona Gallagher and IAESTE China. We welcome contributions to ‘Insights’ at firstname.lastname@example.org.