In the United States, I was told that Spain moves at a different pace. Yeah, no kidding. The nights are endless and slide into morning effortlessly. In the early morning metros, I play a game where I guess if people are going home for the night, going to work for the day, or maybe leaving the club to go to work. Either way, in the morning we all stumble sleepy-eyed onto the metro together. Work is relaxed; the heat takes it out of everyone. My friends and fellow interns—Meggie, Pauline, and Willem— and I all take turns brewing espresso. We stay pleasantly motivated by caffeine and hip-hop in different languages. Willem is building a website, Pauline is writing a marketing report, Meggie is curating content for online marketing, and I’m into marketing research. We sit together, and at lunch we push our laptops back, make sandwiches, and talk about everything. Relaxed right? But then there’s the language…most definitely the quickest part of the culture.
I’ve been in Singapore for about 4 weeks now, and I truly understand why my friends here have said that people who visit tend to fall in love with this city. What am I going to take away from this experience? Definitely a sense of adventure. Every section of this city is incredibly unique; you could spend an entire day just exploring Little India and Arab Street or hiking through MacRitchie or viewing the Gardens by the Bay.
Butler University's Sam Varie takes us on his journey on the Singapore Internship Program working in the Non-profit Industry as one of Absolute's Summer 2017 Intern Heroes To those who said six-weeks...
In university, your responsibilities are simple: get good grades and come to class. Sure, there is always that personal drive to understand and engage in what you are learning, but that is not a responsibility that has been placed on you. In the professional world, your responsibilities start to affect everyone else around you. The focus is no longer just about you; it’s kind of like being in a group project everyday. Your tasks and deadlines, if not met, will negatively affect everyone else’s work as well. That is a big change in pressure.
I honestly did not think there were that many differences between being a working professional in the United States and Singapore, until I attended a career development workshop hosted by my employer’s Human Resources department. The workshop was designed and moderated by Goldman Sachs, an investment banking firm. From my (little) knowledge of the corporate world in the United States, I noticed that Singapore’s corporate work environment is very different from what I am expecting and have heard the US to be like. Here’s how:
My engineering internship has been everything I expected it to be. Full of computer programming, lots of circuitry, and plenty of tinkering. Basically, much more hands on that anything I’ve learned at my university. While I’ve been a part of multiple engineering projects, this is my first internship. Even so, many aspects of the internship remind me of my experience working on a solar car at my university: very hands on, lots of getting my hands dirty, and plenty of figuring stuff out on my own.
My day of travel was nothing less than horrendous—delays, rebooks, lost luggage, the works. I was so tired when I got to Madrid I didn’t even try to be social and watch the soccer game with everyone downstairs. Honestly I felt defeated. I was in a strange environment, knew no one, knew no Spanish, and didn’t even know what country my luggage was in. I sat in my all-white room and cried—because of the time difference my mom didn’t even answer the phone. The moment I decided to feel better was the moment it happened. I opened the window for some fresh air, and sound filled my room. The city was electric. Real Madrid was winning the Champion's League final, and the streets were flooded with screams and chants. The other Absolute girls must have noticed at the exact same time because about twenty minutes from the moment I decided to open my window, we were on the streets chanting and singing too. I was surrounded by so much happiness that night—little boys cried tears of joy and ran wild singing in the streets. Wild-eyed strangers hugged and laughed and congratulated each other. On this night, locals, refugees, tourists—the entire city, and the four new American girls, were united by victory and laughter. We chanted, sang and danced in the Plaza Cibeles under a banner that read REFUGEES WELCOME—and I haven’t felt alone since.
I’ve been in Singapore for about a week and a half now, and without a doubt it’s been the most exposure I’ve ever had to another culture. I have spent a solid number of hours simply walking around areas of the city, observing everything from the way people walk to the signs in the MRT stations that I see everyday. After my short time here, I’ve learned that Singaporean culture, in comparison to American culture, emphasizes kindness and courtesy towards others. At the same time the culture is richly diverse in terms religion, language, and most of all, food.