Campus slowly empties during the summer break. Many students go home to their parents or to faraway places. Not all of them, though. Sanne Swinkels is writing her thesis, finishing up her honours project and, on top of that, she just started her full-time year as a board member for AIESEC.
Sanne Swinkels in the AIESEC office. © Lotje Hogerzeil
Surprisingly, she does have time for a coffee in the sun on Monday morning. ‘Although I reserve my mornings to finish my thesis’, says the 21-year-old student in International Development Studies. ‘In the morning, I’m much more clear-headed; it’s most efficient if I use that time for the more intense brain work.’ After she has done enough, she moves on to the AIESEC office in the afternoon. Here, she and the other four full-time board members dedicate at least five weeks of their holidays to prepare for the AID, to assign a new local advisory board and to arrange the board’s financial books.
Where does she find the energy for all this? ‘I have been very lucky this past year – I first spent a semester in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and I just got back from a research project in Ireland. I feel like I've been on holidays for seven months. I gained so much inspiration that I can use for both my thesis and honours project, and I am ready to start with some real work experience now at AIESEC.’ All the traveling motivates her to give all she has as a brand new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the student organisation. ‘My time abroad was the most eye-opening experience of my entire student life. Through AIESEC, I want to offer this opportunity to other students as well. I believe there isn’t anywhere you learn more than outside your comfort zone.’
She does not have a clue yet where she will end up for a master’s after finishing her bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies. ‘I have to admit – due to the fact that I travel a lot, sometimes I’m afraid that I will lose track of my friends here. I have considered doing another internship abroad from September on, but right now, I’m very happy that I’m staying for another year.’