Steven Jordan (far left) and other delegates at EuroXPRO in Estonia in early 2011
Steven Jordan, the current LCP of AIESEC Purdue, received a Boland Scholarship to travel abroad earlier this year to an international conference in Estonia. Written below is his open letter to the alumni of AIESEC Life who generously afforded him this opportunity. Many of you will be able to relate to his experience! Enjoy the trip down memory lane!
"To AIESEC Life,
My name is Steven Jordan, and I am the 2011 Local Committee President at AIESEC Purdue. At our Summer National Conference in 2010, I was lucky enough to have received the JoAnn Boland International Scholarship. A year later, I can easily look back and see how it has shaped my life and AIESEC career in many more ways than originally anticipated.
Last August, I was the VP of External Relations in my LC. It was my second term on the Executive Board, and at the time, I was unsure of what my next step would be. I had dedicated so many hours to this organization (and not enough hours to my classes or sleep), so I did not know if I wanted to run for LCP. After many weeks of contemplating and soul-searching, the JoAnn Boland award was actually one of the factors that helped me decide to make the best decision I have made in my life. I truly felt that if did not run I did not deserve the award. So after careful consideration, I took the plunge- I ran for LCP 2011 and won.
I decided to use the scholarship to go to EuroXPRO 2011 in Estonia. EuroXPRO is a high-level conference for only MC and select LCPs. I was fortunate enough to be approved, and had one of the most memorable experiences I have had in my life so far. Fortunately for me, the conference partially coincided with my Spring Break, and I was able to arrive earlier than any other delegate, and really explore Estonia on my own even before the study tour. I had not been to Europe since I was a small child, and had little knowledge of Estonia or Eastern Europe in general. What I saw amazed me! The city of Tallinn was older than any city I have ever set foot in and much of its history was well preserved. I especially loved their beach- not because of the beautiful sand, but because it was covered in snow and there were icebergs in the water! It was truly a unique sight. It has sparked in me an appreciation for and a curiosity in Eastern Europe that I did not have before the conference.
I had been to many conferences before, but EuroXPRO was not what I had expected. I anticipated a typical “how to” conference with sessions on “how to lead your Executive Board,” “how to increase performance,” and other sessions of that nature. Instead, it was a conference much more meaningful. Instead of a conference that instructed “how to,” it was a conference that asked us “what can we all do?” For the past year, AIESEC has been developing a new direction and strategy called “AIESEC 2015.” AIESEC 2015 rebrands AIESEC so that we can have a greater global impact, even for students that are not the typical AIESECer. Much of the conference was based around discussion on AIESEC 2015, and they sought out our ideas on how to improve AIESEC internationally and to help develop AIESEC’s strategy for the next five years. I feel lucky to have participated in such a diverse and thought-provoking forum of ideas.
The most important thing I got from the conference, though, was the network. I interacted with amazing students from almost every country in Europe and from every region of the world. Fortunately, technology allows me to keep in touch with and continue talking to many of them. I have learned more about the realities of AIESEC in different countries, which helped shape our Outgoing Exchange for the summer. I still receive AIESEC and non-AIESEC advice and knowledge from all around the world. When my LCP term is over, I am planning on applying for an MC position somewhere in the world, and if not the United States, it will likely be in a country with students I met at EuroXPRO.
I give a sincere thank you to the alumni who donated to this award. Your generosity has allowed me to explore a new country, to make my impact on AIESEC 2015, to make many new friends, helped push me to take this LCP role, and will possibly shape the future of my AIESEC career."