Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Only in AIESEC...

Here is a fun account of the alumni ski weekend by Alissa Ginsberg. Enjoy!

Another AIESEC Adventure

The man asked me to read my credit card number aloud, “Yo soy ciego.” Not the words you want to hear from the mouth of a man behind a steering wheel, but it was raining and I was lucky to have gotten a taxi in the first place. We headed to LaGuardia International Airport, but for this AIESEC adventure the domestic terminal was all I needed. Four hours later, I awoke to the sunshine and crisp spring air of the Colorado Rockies. Perhaps a bit of jet fuel in the mix, but it was clear my weekend getaway had begun. A short drive through the mountains, and I arrived at the 7000 square foot mansion where I was to stay for the next three days. This was no crashing on a beer-stained couch the night before Cabrew. It started off fairly tame – introductions, a drink… or two. Gradually, more sun-baked faces tracked snow through the halls and filled in the kitchen. Every good party starts in the kitchen. I listened jealously to stories of a day spent skiing, snowshoeing, hot-tubbing and napping. My time would come.

By dinner, twenty-six alumni were sharing stories of their year in Egypt, their six years in Argentina, and their childhood in Estonia. After college, I had moved to Los Angeles, where I knew not a soul. Some guy who had spent a summer in Greece made a presentation once at an LC meeting. I remembered him for his red plaid pants and the sign his Athens Welcoming Committee had greeted him with at the airport: “Tristan Hendy is Trendy.” Hadn’t he moved out to LA? I looked him up, and sure enough, he was soon my closest friend. One day, he was nothing but a catchy phrase, and the next I was living on his couch. Only in AIESEC. Two years later, I moved to New York knowing but two people and remembering the names (and legends) of a few more. It took only a week for me to feel like I was on a traineeship right here at home. And now, two hours in Colorado, a state where I knew not a soul, I am at dinner with twenty-six friends. I spent a weekend cooking, snowboarding, discussing international politics, and several other activities not fit for print. I came home with a goggle tan, a hangover, and a pocket full of business cards.

At some point all those smart, go-getter kids from college had grown up. They still know how to party, but along the way they had gone and got. They have started the businesses we had talked about starting, they went the places we had talked about traveling, and they were the people we had talked about being. I went snowboarding the following day, yet I came home talking about my aspirations, my beliefs, and what the people I know are doing to make the world a better place. Only in AIESEC.


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