My 2019 began with 6 incredible weeks on the Thailand Internship Programme coordinated by UC PACE which offers a unique learning experience by immersing students in a new culture.
Along with 13 other UC students, our weekdays were spent interning in Bangkok and staying at Mahidol University, while our weekends were filled with adventures across rural Thailand and Vietnam!
For my internship, I was placed at a company called HUBBA which provides co-working spaces to tech startups, digital nomads and other small businesses. They have a diverse customer base, who I would interview and collect data from in order to inform improvements to HUBBA’s services. It was such a special experience to learn and adapt to a foreign work culture.
For us as students, being globally aware and open to new cultures is more important than ever before. The range of activities included really gave us a wonderful taste of Thailand. By the end of the programme, we had a greater understanding of Thai culture.
The most memorable moments for me would have to include feeding the baby elephants at Sai Yok National Park, learning Thai boxing, eating all the street food and being welcomed with a traditional ceremony in the rural village that we stayed at. Wherever we went, we were welcomed so warmly, and any language or cultural barriers were overcome with the kindness of the Thai people.
We were also fortunate enough to visit the New Zealand Embassy in both Thailand and Vietnam where we had some fascinating discussions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff, including the ambassadors of each country.
As I reflect on our time in Thailand, there is really not a single thing that I could fault about this programme. It was beyond any of my expectations. When people say that something will be a “life changing experience”, I tend to be a little skeptical. I was proved wrong and I would recommend you to experience this for yourself.