I was super excited when I was chosen to go to Singapore for the Global Talent Program through AIESEC. As a 5.5 years old AIESECer, after two years working in the Member Committee for AIESEC in New Zealand, I really need a short break before jumping into my master's study. I can either go back to China and find an internship or I could go on an AIESEC exchange to explore another culture and have an abroad working experience. Without further thought, I decided to just apply. And yay I got it! (#youneverknowuntilyoutried) 😀
Ironically speaking, though I am 25 years old, and was the Member Committee President of AIESEC in New Zealand. I actually only had 3-months’ official working experience in “the society”. Also even though I have taken a variety of leadership positions in AIESEC, I believe “the society” would be really different than the safety bubble. I have been to Singapore for a short visit in the past, but I have no idea about the actual culture itself, such as how do people work with each other? What are some customs I need to adapt to as an international? What kind of budget would I need to maintain to live a life in Singapore? I had tons of questions before but luckily I have AIESEC Singapore’s local EP managers there to support me. Both EP managers Erika and Jas are super nice to me. They answered all my questions and let me know a lot of local tips, such as which hawker center locals go to, or which spot to go to to watch the fireworks, and etc. Those are the things I would never know if I simply search Google, and I really appreciate that.
Super thanks to my EP manager Erika that I found my accommodation one week before I arrived in Singapore. I have tried so many channels online but a lot of them either didn’t fit my needs or they have already rented out. I eventually managed to find an apartment that is a 20mins walk away from my office and I would live with my landlord. She is Singaporean Chinese, and we actually came from the same ancestral home! The world is really small 😀
On my first day of work, my EP manager had breakfast with me and walked me to the office. It was really nice having someone there with you because I was indeed nervous! After the brief introduction, I met my boss and eventually everyone in the office. HipVan is a really young company. You can see a lot of young faces here (usually in their 20s, or early 30s). We always play pop music in the office, and I could feel the young and free spirit of the company.
Working as a business analyst, my job is to help the CFO and the buyers to analyze all data (operations, marketing, finance, and logistics) and to drive insights. In the 6 months, I have built the Merchandising Dashboard, the Refund SKU Dashboard, and Real-Time Inventory & Products Dashboard. I have also tried things that are out of my field, such as managing the price tags of the furniture showroom, helping the product managers to ensure the data in different channels are accurate, supporting the company’s subproducts team by growing the email lists, and more. Though my jobs are a little “on-demand,” I sometimes felt lost with what I needed to do, it was a great opportunity for me to talk to other colleagues and learn from them. I appreciate working with my colleagues in HipVan. They are all really kind, supportive, and caring. My company is especially flexible with the working hours, so as long as I got my work done, I could leave my work early, which was very different from my impression of Singapore’s working culture that everyone is overworking.
In my spare time in Singapore, I went to the gym, explored different hawker centers, museums, events, social meetups, and shopping malls. I even went to Malaysia and Indonesia on the two weekends because they are so close to Singapore! Besides meeting with the AIESECers in Singapore, I usually hang out with a lot of ex-pats working in Singapore. On Wednesdays, I would go to “Ladies Night” to have some wine to relax with my girlfriends. I also got to meet a lot of my friends around the world in Singapore (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia) !! Singapore is indeed a central hub of Asia and people love to come here! My colleagues usually will organize some social events every month. It was so easy to go around Singapore and it’s a country that has a great cultural diversity, which is a mix of Asian and Western cultures. And everyone speaks English, so it’s really easy to go around without any trouble.
Overall, I really love my Global Talent experience working in Singapore. Without the EP manager's help, I wouldn’t have avoided a lot of troubles. I really appreciate HipVan and AIESEC in Singapore for providing this opportunity for me to come work in Singapore for 6 months. It was a really fruitful, fun, and learning experience that I will cherish throughout the rest of my life!