When you hear about an internship abroad, are you eager to strive for a life-changing experience, or do you fear change?
The most significant difference between a university student and a high-school student is the degree of freedom. You can choose what you want to accomplish, as long as you are willing to take responsibility for your decisions.
Last summer, I chose to do an internship in Inner Mongolia. It was the most valuable experience I have ever had.
I was studying tourism and hospitality management and had the opportunity to work at the well-known Shangri-La Hotel in Inner Mongolia. My colleagues were caring and would motivate me during anxious times. Their words of encouragement helped boost my confidence.
However, there were still low points. I was saddened after a customer blamed me for no reason. My manager noticed I was sad and told me about his experiences after a similar incident. I learned that what matters most is not how others see you, but how you see yourself. You can’t please everyone.
We should never look at ourselves negatively. We should embrace our good sides and work on our weak points. During this internship, I realised that change is not only about the result; the journey matters most.
I also took part in City University’s Singapore auditing internship programme. To be honest, I was never keen on being an accountant, but the programme changed my view. During my internship, I did auditing work for six clients. Auditors are outsiders – they check the accountant’s work at different companies. I saw the industry in full; it was as satisfying as seeing scattered puzzle pieces joining together.
I did repetitive tasks at first, but this was understandable since the senior management was unsure of my abilities. I treated every task with respect and asked questions to show my curiosity and attentiveness.
Later, I was given more important tasks. This recognition motivated me to learn even more.
I had a setback during my first client engagement, however. The client realised I was new and lacked confidence, and was unwilling to send me the requested documents. I didn’t get upset; instead, I improved my interpersonal skills and eventually gained confidence – some clients even mistook me for a senior auditor!
If I had not applied for overseas internships, I would never have experienced real working life or such a steep learning curve.
I am not here to encourage you to take part in as many internships as possible. Instead, choose your life, your attitude, and become the person you want to be. University life is about the willingness to experience!