Published on: 11-Sep-2018
Internship @ Shanghai, China
Name of Student: Melvyn Koh Nguan Theng
Course: Computer Engineering, Year 4
My internship in Shanghai gave me the opportunity to experience the fast-paced working environment. It was undoubtedly an enriching learning journey. I had a great opportunity of undertaking a 20-week overseas internship in Shanghai. It provided me with many opportunities to develop both my soft skills and technical competencies.
China’s technological advancements have fascinated me the most. Almost everything can be done on a smartphone – from making transactions at a street food vendor to getting on to a public bus or train. It has gone beyond a cashless society where people rely on their smartphones for payments. The rapid growth of digital payments exploded at a rapid pace as it was so rare to see anyone using physical bank notes or coins. This also makes travelling around the country even more safe and convenient.
Besides travelling and having my internship, I was also a volunteer at various non-profit organisations. Being a volunteer has always been in my bucket list every year as I find the joy in helping people out. Voluntary works like helping needy students to raise funds to purchase textbooks for them during my secondary school days have been very fruitful.
Personally, I always feel that engaging in an act of community service through selfless giving can be highly beneficial for our mind, body, and spirit. There’s bound to be lessons learnt after the end of each voluntary service. As my teacher once told me, “Hard work isn’t always about making money, it is about making happiness”. Instead of seeing money as a reward, we can look at life as “a labour of love” and create happiness. I am glad to have the opportunity to continue volunteering even when I am abroad for my internship.
Volunteers at Children Heart Centre (SCMC)
Even if you're not in Singapore on National Day, fret not! There is always an exclusive NDP for fellow Singaporeans in Shanghai!
Shanghai is an unusual place. It's Chinese, but not entirely; its hybrid of Eastern and Western business and social traditions is found nowhere else in mainland China.
Internship @ Pitney Bowes Japan
Name of Student: Pang Yu Shao
Course: Computer Science, Year 3
I had the honour of pursuing an overseas internship programme at Pitney Bowes Japan. The overseas internship experience allowed me to apply what I have learnt from courses in school, and at the same time taught me new skills that are not typically taught in classes. For example, skills such as programming and project management that we learnt during curriculum time and project work now becomes crucial in executing a project for the company, while other essential skills such as organizing and interpreting data and preparing a presentation for executives are skills that would not usually be taught in classes.
In our programming projects, we apply what we have learnt to solve a problem or complete a task that has been assigned. However, the impact of the completed project is often not perceivable by us and would not be used in anyway other than the sole purpose of accessing our knowledge and skills based on what we have learnt during the term.
Embarking on a project during the course of my internship was very different. The project specifications are constantly changing with the needs of the client and real problems were present, waiting to be solved with the use of programming.
Staying in Japan alone for two months allowed me to gain many experiences, not just in work but also the unique way of life and culture. Be it in school or at a workplace, there will be many instances where we would have to work with someone from a different country or someone who comes from a different culture and such experiences will come in handy.
Therefore, going for an overseas exchange or internship would definitely help in further development of technical skills while also developing soft skills such as adaptability in working with others.
Exchange @ Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HUWISU), Germany
Name of Student: Dinh Khoat Hoang Anh
Course: Computer Science, Year 3
It was undoubtedly an amazing experience with GEM Discoverer in Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HUWISU), Germany. The welcome from the hosted university was very warm from the very beginning, coupled with the unforgettable memories that I have shared with friends from around the world, made our language lessons and excursions trips a truly enjoyable experience.
Figure 1: My friends and I in HUWISU’s field trip to Olympic Stadium
During this one month of summer studies, I have not only enjoyed the beauty of the German language, but also the vibrancy of the lovely country. HUWISU often organized guided tours in both English and German for us to immerse ourselves into the diverse culture and history of Germany.
One of the most memorable experiences would be the visit to Reichstag, where we learnt about the struggles of Germany throughout the centuries. There were vivid stories of how Nazis rose and fall and how the Germans showed a united front to learnt from their past mistakes. I am especially in awed about how determined the Germans are to make the country as one of the greenest and safest in the world.
Figure 2: At the top of The Reichstag and inside the Parliament’s debating chamber
Germany is a very charming country filled with historical architectures and palaces. The country also has a very rich art culture and delicious cuisines, making the trip a vastly enriching one. I made new friends from five different continents and have grown more independent and open-minded now and it was all thanks to this summer studies. It was a fun study trip and I would recommend all to take a brave step out of their comfort zone to explore and experience the world with your own eyes.
Figure 3: In front of the Charlottenburg Palace
Exchange @ The University of Sydney, Australia
Name of Student: Laurensia Anjani
Course: Computer Science, Year 3
It was my first time setting foot in New South Wales when I went for a 6-week exchange programme in the University of Sydney. I took a course called Designing Social Media, where I gained insights about the key features of social media design and developed a social media strategy for Osteoporosis Australia. It was a great time doing the course, as I could channel my creativity and interest in UI design.
The recreational activities were the best part of the exchange programme. I had breakfast with the koalas, went whale watching, experienced the annual Vivid Sydney festival, took the ferries to neighbouring bays with scenic coastal trails, visited the famous Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains, and the list goes on. This is definitely one of the best highlights of my journey in NTU so far.
Exchange @ Sungkyunkwan University, Korea
Name of Student: Tan Ying Jie, Tosy
Course: Computer Science, Year 4
My stint in Korea, albeit short, was one of the most informative and interesting adventures I have had.
I am humbled by the hospitality and warmth that this country has to offer. It almost felt like home. I fatefully remembered the very night where we were in Jeju Island and our neighbours came knocking on our door to invite us to join a barbeque party that they are having. They were a group of friends in their forties who were spending a weekend in Jeju Island to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We had nothing to offer except our limited Korean vocabulary and a smart phone with a translation app, which did not stymie us from enjoying a cordial and relax night of light-hearted sharing sessions and delicious food.
I would definitely recommend you to be adventurous and live by the motto of, “you only live once” and to try as much of their local food as you can. It might seem pretty revolting (like the live octopus) but it is not everyday that we get to eat something so unique.
During my exchange at Sungkyunkwan University, I decided to challenge myself by taking different modules from my friends. Social situations were never my cup of tea and I was never one to initiate conversations with others. Being exposed to a total foreign and unfamiliar environment, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone. What does not challenge you, does not change you: besides being able to meet people from different walks of lives and learning aplenty about their culture, it made me a more confident person as well.
All the photographs I have here are an understatement of the beauty that Korea has to offer. Exchange is not only about an exchange of cultures, but also a once in a lifetime opportunity to venture out by yourself (or with your friends) and broaden your perspectives.
Exchange @ McMaster University, Canada
Name of Student: Toni Miharja
Course: Business & Computing, Year 4
Going for an overseas exchange program at McMaster University in Canada was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my university life. While spending one semester in a foreign land seemed daunting with so many uncertainties, exactly through embracing the many unknowns that I found myself set on a journey with many enriching experiences. Looking back, the overseas exchange experience provided me with various new opportunities. In particular, I am grateful for three main opportunities that together encapsulate the key essence of my exchange experience:
1. The opportunity to experience learning in a new environment
Studying in McMaster University was a really eye-opening experience. The modules were taught using a mix of effective pedagogical teaching methods, such as active and collaborative learning, making each session fun and engaging. Asking questions and debating ideas were definitely a big part of the university culture, encouraging me to be more inquisitive and proactive in my learning. Moreover, having the chance to work with the local students for the school projects was a really fulfilling learning experience, allowing me to learn from their expertise and get to know their culture and lifestyle.
2. The opportunity to travel
As a big fan of traveling, 6 months living in Canada provided me with many opportunities to explore the beautiful country and its neighbour, the United States of America (USA). Throughout the semester, I visited more than 25 cities and 50 points of interest. The many trips could range from a proper two-week planned tour, to a spontaneous two-day road trip or to a casual stroll to a nearby park on the way home from school. Together with Kian Woon, my travel buddy and roommate, we explored many magnificent landscapes, went for cultured visits to the museums and met up with friends who are also on exchange in Canada.
3. The opportunity to forge friendships with people from all over the world
During my time in McMaster, I also got the chance to meet other exchange students from all over the world. We went for orientation sessions and excursions to explore Hamilton and supported the Hamilton Bulldogs, the ice hockey team of Hamilton. I am thankful for the opportunity to forge bonds with these people and am looking forward to hosting some of them here in Singapore when they visit.
Overall, the exchange experience has shaped me as a person much more than I could ever imagine before I set out on the fateful journey. With the many learnings and lessons learned, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity that SCSE and OGEM have given me.
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