How can I be international in my own country?


This weekend I received an invitation to be Chair in an AIESEC conference. A “chair” is the host of the conference, the one that sets the tone. This conference will be for people that want to go in an internship, like the one I did in Romania. My main goal is to make them feel the international environment of AIESEC during my sessions, but this may be a problem because they will be sitting in a small room in the university.  That problem got me thinking: How can I be international in my own country?

First of all we have an international network available in the internet. Last week, I was looking for masters in Marketing and I couldn’t decide which English university was better for me. So I looked up for hashtags in twitter related to that master in different universities. I found out some people that were students in those masters so I’m “following” them on twitter to know more about the student life in that master. I even became “friends” with some of them in facebook and chat with them about why did they choose that university. That don’t know me, and probably we will never meet, but they decided to answer my questions! I know that it is still kind of awkward talking to strangers from all over the world in the internet, and we should be very careful with the information we provide, but in this case they helped me a lot!

Actually, in Portugal it is not very hard to “be international”. I live in Lisbon, and downtown it is easy to tourists walking around, eating in restaurants and enjoying the good weather. In my university we receive a lot of Erasmus students so everywhere I look I see different faces, I hear different languages… In the Portuguese companies we are starting to have more and more international human resources. I’m proud that most of the young people in Portugal are fluent in English and some of us are starting to learn a third language like Spanish, German or French.

I hope that the delegates of the conference will already feel in Portugal some of the international environment they are seeking. But I will also have to make them realize that the best way to get to know other cultures is travelling and experiencing the world!


ps: This photo was taken in Belgium last March. I know that is not a “be international in my own country” kind of picture, but it reminds me how well represented portuguese people are all around the world.


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