Mon, May 20th, 2019
Kerrie Drum is an R&D Engineer in County Waterford and is also the IAESTE Dublin Local Committee President. In this post Kerrie describes her recent trip–with Neha Choudhary of IAESTE Ireland in Léargas–to the IAESTE Annual Conference in Cyprus, where delegates from member countries exchange work placements. Kerrie also looks back at what was accomplished in 2018 by the IAESTE Local Committee. They welcomed 10 international trainees to Ireland for their summer placements last year and are looking forward to welcoming this summer’s trainees shortly!
It was at our annual Alumni Recognition event, in December 2018, that the Local Committee met our new National Secretary, Neha Choudhary, and started to plan for our year ahead. The first main event for Neha and me was the IAESTE Annual Conference in Cyprus.
The 2019 Annual Conference was in Limassol, Cyprus in January. The Annual Conference is where delegates from all 87 countries in IAESTE come to meet and discuss IAESTE strategy and goals, as well as carrying out the main business of IAESTE: exchanging international work placements!
One delegate from each IAESTE country attends the General Conference sessions, to discuss and plan the future of IAESTE alongside the board of IAESTE a.s.b.l., who are our management team. In the exchange sessions, countries sit down together one-on-one and discuss what job offers they have raised. The aim is to provide one offer to a country and receive one job offer back. These are the offers that we then promote in our own country when we return from the conference.
After the conference, Neha visited various universities around the country including UCD, NUI Galway, University of Limerick and Trinity College Dublin. Having a physical presence in universities helps with our visibility and lets students know who we are and what we provide. From our experience at university stands this year, we know what to expect when September time rolls in and new students are starting their university life.
We recently had our first Local Committee (LC) meeting of the year in Dublin. We had four LC members, Neha our National Secretary, and Emma Grainger from Léargas, all in attendance. The meeting was very successful, and we managed to discuss everything from our plans for the summer trainees, to our learning from the Connect Conference and our goals for the year.
Over the last year, IAESTE Ireland and the Dublin Local Committee have worked to promote our organisation not only within Ireland but internationally. Last year, we had 10 incoming trainees who worked across Ireland in various companies and disciplines. Every year we host a Summer Reception, where we plan weekend trips to several destinations in Ireland to showcase our culture and our attractions. On these trips, we try to keep the spirit of IAESTE alive by having International Evenings and by promoting understanding and respect for each other’s cultural backgrounds. The Summer Reception is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do it all again this year!
To positively promote IAESTE here in Ireland, it’s important to have a strategy. Social media is a very powerful tool in creating an image. IAESTE Ireland is active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Using the IAESTE Brand Manual, which is a guide designed by IAESTE a.s.b.l., we can keep a consistent design to all our posters and posts. This helps people to recognise us and our organisation.
Event attendance is also important for promoting IAESTE. Neha’s presence at university talks and our presence at conferences shows our commitment to the programme and conveys this to the public.
When new trainees come to Ireland, we are usually their first exposure to the IAESTE world. Bringing them on trips around our country and keeping in regular, informal contact with them creates trust and a positive vibe.
In the past, I have also introduced the trainees to my friends, which then gives them the choice to plan things outside of ‘official’ IAESTE trips or events. Building a relationship between the LC and the trainees is so important for future exchanges.
We have had a successful year with our local committee. We now have nine members and we’re planning on growing. Two new LC members have joined us since the start of this year: Jonathan, who is from Scotland and has had experience with IAESTE Glasgow; and Gosia, who is from Poland and has had over five years’ experience with IAESTE Poland. We are so glad to have these two on board and can’t wait to learn from them!
All our LC members took part in at least one of the events we had throughout the last year, which helped promote the programme even more.
We are recruiting new LC members, so if you like the sound of IAESTE and you enjoy volunteering and international opportunities, please get in touch! We’d be delighted to have you.
Last year, before our outgoing trainees left the country to go on their own IAESTE adventure, we hosted an outgoing information evening. This informal evening gave us an opportunity to present IAESTE Ireland to the trainees. We also gave them tips on what to expect from their traineeships and gave them a contact if they had any troubles or questions. We handed out IAESTE Ireland merchandise (cool sunglasses that I still wear!) to showcase while on their traineeships.
This year we are planning to have the same type of evening for the students going out on summer traineeships. We also plan to have a ‘Welcome Back’ evening in September when the students have returned and settled. This will hopefully encourage them to get involved with IAESTE on a local level and see what else the programme has to offer.
Toward the end of 2018, in December, we hosted our ‘Alumni Recognition and Recruitment’ event in the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. We were able to chat to Irish students about IAESTE in general and about our experiences with it. And of course it was here too that we met Neha for the first time. This was great as it was an informal but friendly introduction to IAESTE in Ireland for her.
2019 got off to a good start and we’re looking forward to the year ahead! You can follow our year online or get in touch with us directly, we’d love to hear from you. Scroll down for details of how to reach us.
You can follow IAESTE Ireland (in Léargas) on Twitter.
If you’re a student and you’d like to find out more, visit the student section of our IAESTE website.
If you’re an employer interested in providing an internship, visit the employer section of our IAESTE website.
Kerrie is on LinkedIn.
Images courtesy of Kerrie Drum. We welcome contributions to ‘Insights’ at firstname.lastname@example.org.