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My International Internship Experience

Hello! I’m Oliver Hughes, and I’ve been a marketing intern at Wantedly for the past five weeks. I’m from Olympia, WA, USA, and working in Singapore this summer has been an incredible experience I’ll never forget. It’s such a beautiful city, and with this being my first experience outside of North America, I’ve been amazed by the cultural differences and similarities.

I attend Butler University in the United States and am going into my third year this fall. As a marketing and finance double major, this marketing internship opportunity in Singapore was something I couldn’t pass up, and I am beyond grateful that I didn’t. The friends, memories, and experiences I’ve gained here are invaluable. Here are my top three takeaways from this experience:

Singapore is not as Different from the United States as I Thought

With this being my first international experience, I did not know what to expect when traveling to Singapore, but one thing I didn’t anticipate was how similar Singapore is to the United States. Though there are some differences like how cars drive on the left side of the road and the otherworldly heat and humidity, the overall experience of living in Singapore feels somewhat similar to what’s encountered in larger US cities like New York or Chicago. There’s little to no communication barrier, the work-life balance is very similar to what I’ve experienced in Seattle, and in general, I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced any culture shocks. That’s not to say that Singapore isn’t different from Chicago; they are just more similar than what I had previously imagined.

Here are a couple of differences that will stick with me when I’m home in the US:

  1. The hawker markets here are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Back home, we have nothing like the hawker markets here, and I am constantly amazed by the quality of food made for such a low price.
  2. Another thing which I’m incredibly impressed with is how well planned the city of Singapore seems. It’s almost like Disneyland in the way everything is structured to enhance the scenery. The planning, and scale of that planning, are something that I admire greatly.

Wantedly is an Amazing Place to Work

Coming into my internship at Wantedly, I was incredibly nervous. I was flying to a country I was unfamiliar with to work in a position I didn’t know the exact roles of, with people I didn’t know. Many things could have gone wrong or poorly during this experience, but fortunately for me I couldn’t have worked at a greater place. At Wantedly, everyone, especially Andrew Tan, our Country Manager, is extremely passionate about Wantedly’s mission: Creating a world where work drives passion. This enthusiasm is infectious and was a driving factor behind much of the work done during my time at Wantedly. Everyone at work is also super welcoming. I never once felt like I was left out of anything or like nobody was willing to help. The immediate support from the rest of the team I gained when I joined Wantedly was incredible. I cannot thank them enough for making this experience as smooth and beneficial as possible.

Everyone is so Kind Here

In addition to everyone at Wantedly being so lovely, the people of Singapore I’ve encountered are usually kinder and more polite than many people in the US. I first noticed this in my life when I went from living on the West coast of the US to attending university in the Midwest. It’s hard to pinpoint specific things, but everybody on the West coast is plugged into their phone, only focused on what they’re doing and not too talkative. Contrast this with the overall friendliness and amiability of people in the Midwest, and it’s a truly eye-opening insight into how local culture affects how people interact and behave. From my experience, I would describe Singapore as a mix of the two. People aren’t quite as open to public conversation as they are in the Midwest, but everyone I’ve met is incredibly considerate and polite. To me, it is the perfect combination.

As I leave this beautiful country, I would like to thank the people of Singapore for being so kind, welcoming, and genuine. I am in a constant state of awe and appreciation of your country. Another huge thank you goes to the Wantedly team. I could not have been more fortunate as to where my internship was in Singapore. Everybody on the team is incredible and made my experience what it was. I cannot thank you all enough.

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