Through STEP, I participated in an eight-week marketing internship provided by the Fisher College of Business in Singapore’s central city district. I worked at Marken, a pharmaceutical company for clinical trial logistics, and focused on tasks tailored to increasing branding and awareness of Marken in the marketplace. I coordinated with various team members across the Asia-Pacific region, enhanced the social media platforms, and transformed branch success stories across Asia into Marken case studies for publication.
While being in Singapore, I developed a deeper understanding of myself and my global mindset. Before my internship and living experience in Singapore, I had never solely been on my own more than a couple weeks and it was my first full time internship. While I viewed myself as an independent, outgoing, self-starter type of girl in the comfort of Columbus, I questioned how true that was leading up to my departure overseas. Over the course of the summer, my initial assumptions about myself and work experience exceeded my expectations. By the time my internship concluded, I realized that I gained confidence, improved my work ethic, and appreciated my independence.
There are so many events that took place while living and interning in Singapore that led to my self-transformation. To start, my confidence grew through my work environment. Like any other intern starting on their first day, I was quite nervous to meet my boss and coworkers and receiving my first projects I would be working on over the course of the summer. However, my nerves eased as I met my supervisor and boss that were more than thrilled to have me joining their team. By the end of the day, I was excited to start on the projects they had prepared for me. The following weeks, I was able to take initiative and really develop my own operating procedures and events for the company. The fact that my boss trusted in me to coordinate across the Asia-Pacific region to transform their social media platforms, start new advertising campaigns, and plan a philanthropy event boosted my confidence and faith in myself.
Expanding on my internship, my work ethic transformed by working in a global setting. I had developed a strong work ethic at OSU working in the Office of Global Business, providing marketing and program management assistance for directors and interacting with students. I had to maintain a level of professionalism, reliability, and accountability. While I carried that work ethic with me in Singapore, I learned that a culturally diverse work environment requires a different kind of work ethic. I had coworkers from Malaysia, the Philippines, China, and the UK, each culture different than the other. I learned that I had to adjust my work style to fit with the multi-cultural and multi-locational teams I was working with. Instead of always putting business first, I built relationships with my coworkers and supervisor by happily joining them to eat local and share about myself all while presenting myself respectfully. It is one thing to learn in a textbook that working with diverse cultures requires a change in work habits, but actually experiencing it and making that change is crucial to successfully working abroad.
After being back in the states, I really appreciate the independence I had while in Singapore. Not only the physical independence I had being away from my parents or close friends, but the independence I had to freely engage and learn about myself and the world. Most evenings or weekends, there was a group of us that regularly made plans to different destinations, sometimes hitting the top touristy places or eating in local hawker centers and experiencing local culture. However, there was one weekend that I was alone to do whatever I pleased. I took the chance to truly see Singapore and the local areas. I had an open mindset to whatever came my way that day. I explored Chinatown, Little India, and all the local shopping. I dined with a few of the OSU international students, eating at a hotpot that had stomach, liver, and all sorts of unknowns to me. While that weekend came and went, it was very important to me because I had the freedom to explore so many different cultures on the island and there was nothing that seemed to stand in my way of doing so.
My time interning in Singapore was immensely important to the development of my personal and professional goals. I gained such an eye opening experiencing being placed in a country that is home to so many diverse cultures, and yet I still felt a sense of belonging. My confidence grew knowing that no matter where I travel or work in the world, I will be able to adapt and emerge myself into the culture to succeed both personally and professionally. I will continue my travels abroad and hopefully one day obtain my goal of working internationally, using this experience as a stepping stone to get there.