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Boland Scholar Essay: Gina Palmisano
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Gina Palmisano on the right

 

International Congress 2008 in Sao Paulo Brazil was absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is one of those many adventures that travelers come across so often that are difficult to express adequately to anyone who has not been on the journey. How do you appropriately articulate being in a room with 600 delegates from over 100 countries and territories, plus such incredible alumni and influential world leaders? How does one express the incredible sensation of walking into a room to see my mentor when I first joined AIESEC, who in 2008 was on the MC in Colombia, and is now going to be living in Rotterdam and working for AI? Or, the excitement of dancing before a session with hundreds of other people who have learned the exact same moves you did when you did not even comprehend what "AIESEC " could mean to you? The simple truth is, it is not possible. I realize continuously how each day of IC impacts my life in a new and enriching way, and while I can give glimpses of the joy, growth, challenges, excitement, knowledge and passion, the most important thing is to encourage others to make the plunge and go for themselves.

That is why I am so incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to go to IC through the Jo Ann Boland Fund. If I had not received this scholarship there is no possible way that I could have made the journey, and I would honestly be a less well-rounded, internationally influenced and driven person had I not been given the opportunity to attend. I am a self-proclaimed proud conference junkie. To me conferences are where I see the potential in myself and others most groomed and the spark to be a change agent shine the brightest. They are the foundation for building a stable local community and for brainstorming how to create a better tomorrow, and realizing the implementation process that can actually get everything accomplished. The period right after a conference is when I see people being the most productive because they are riding the high of what they experienced. Conferences provide the environment for expanding your mind and spirit in so many ways including world view, AIESEC competencies, global network, and so much more. Given that AIESEC has a conference somewhere in the world happening almost every single day of the year, just think of how motivated AIESECers around the world are at any given time! I truly believe that this motivation and spirit manifests itself into progress towards a more culturally aware and collaborative world. I cannot help but use a quote I wrote down during a presentation at IC 2008 to sum up the impact AIESEC makes, "The Future Lies in AIESEC. Better leaders. Better world," Martin Stier, Deutsche Post World Net.

Thank you again for providing me with the means to participate in the greatest AIESEC conference of my life to date! I am eternally grateful.

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