Republic Poly student's internship in paradise
Republic Polytechnic students get international exposure with internships abroad
Ever wanted to spend months in paradise, feeling the fine sand on your bare feet, with scenic views of the sea as your backdrop?
Mr Kirwin Lee, 21, got to experience that - but with a twist.
The final-year Republic Polytechnic (RP) student stayed in the Maldives for six months, during which he interned at luxury resort Gili-Lankanfushi.
This was possible with the help of the RP Industry Immersion Programme (IIP), designed to give students a first-hand experience of the work environment and let them apply the knowledge they have gained from the classroom.
Selected students have the opportunity to travel overseas, and even receive financial support from RP's Overseas Internship Fund and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore's Young Talent Programme.
Mr Lee, who is pursuing a diploma in hotel and hospitality management, took on a variety of roles at the resort, from management trainee to butler.
He got to work with colleagues and guests from over 20 different nationalities in the Maldives, teaching him to be more culturally aware, and sensitive to his surroundings and the body language of those around him.
When asked about differences between Singapore and the Maldives, Mr Lee immediately brought up the slower pace of life.
He said: "Singapore's environment is competitive, and learning is extremely fast-paced. In the Maldives, the culture is one with a slower pace."
In the Maldives, Mr Lee also had to work barefoot, which helped him connect with "Mother Earth".
This led to him adopting a more eco-friendly stance in his work.
His lecturer Mr Kunihiro Iwakiri said Mr Lee has become more polished and mature after the internship.
Though Mr Lee was sometimes unable to apply standard operating procedures taught in school due to unexpected situations, he took each challenge as a learning opportunity.
He said: "I went in with an open mind and to learn.
"Whatever happened, I learnt from it."
Widening her horizons in Guangzhou
At the age of 22, few can claim to have worked for a government agency for almost half a year.
Miss Veronica Low was fortunate enough to have interned in China at government agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore for five months under Republic Polytechnic's (RP) Industry Immersion Programme (IIP).
A student at RP's School of Management and Communication, with a diploma in Social Enterprise Management, Miss Low worked in the Guangzhou Overseas Centre.
During the internship, she got to experience how businesses operated in the Chinese market, and assisted in marketing and trade missions between Singapore and the Chinese government and enterprises.
These experiences revealed how cross-border relations between Singapore and its partners work.
"Working in IE Singapore Guangzhou has helped me widen my horizons and balance speed and quality," she said of the internship.
"I (also) learnt to stay humble."
Her work with the local organisations in China taught her to be more shrewd during negotiations, and to be more open to cultural differences.
Ms Joanna Tay, Miss Low's lecturer and internship supervisor, praised her student: "(Veronica) has a can-do attitude, and is a very responsible student."
She said that the internship has helped Miss Low develop into a fast thinker and a more decisive and mature individual. - SIM YAN LING