Internships are generally a hit or miss. We either like them or we don’t. The transition from an educational atmosphere to a corporate atmosphere can be nerve-wrecking – and that’s what students dread. Some people claim their experiences have been a walk in the park (must’ve been a blissful experience!) while others vow to never relive their intern days.
We spoke to two design students Eliza Liaw and Shi Min Wong, who were engaged in the Student Internship Program (SIP) and the Overseas Student Internship Program (OSIP), respectively. Both ladies mentioned their internships were much more than swimming in paperwork and mastering the art of coffee-making.
Meet Eliza. Graduating this May with the Interior Architecture & Design (IAD) Diploma from TP’s Design school, she had the opportunity to work with EDG Design. She was their first intern in the Singapore office.
“They were very interested in what I wanted to learn, so on different days they would let me do different things. It was more hands-on, they taught me a variety of things and let me be a part of their ongoing projects,” said Eliza.
Eliza set up material boards and helped them with their presentation slides and sketches. She even had the opportunity to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to present designs (of F&B outlets) to a prominent hotel group.
Eliza had the opportunity to be a full-fledged working adult as Managing Director, Michael Goodman, of EDG, instructed his staff not to treat her as an intern, but with all the responsibilities of an employee.
“You get to know how the industry functions – like how people think, how people work, what are the realistic things to expect,” said Eliza. “Working there just confirmed what I really wanted to do.”
Eliza was offered a full-time position during her second week with EDG. Talk about making an impression!
Just like Eliza, Shi Min is also in the IAD Diploma. She’s traveled across waters and adapted to a different culture for three months while interning with Steven Leach in Taipei, Taiwan.
“Quite a few people are afraid to go overseas for internships, I was quite hesitant myself, but in the end, it was great,” said Shi Min. “Even if you can’t speak the language, you get to learn how to communicate in other ways – drawing graphics etc.”
Shi Min’s manager allowed her to take control of certain projects – even the design work. With a high level of responsibilities, she faced real-world challenges that she had to manage.
“In school we have two weeks or two months to do up a whole project, but at work it’s only one week or less – I was quite shocked and stressed.”
Learning the reality of things prepared her for the working world. She was also offered a position in the company and similarly, most of her friends had secured their jobs through their internships.
“They got to know what kind of working style they like and some of them realised that they love being in the field, while others realised they were more interested in other things,” said Shi Min. “I think that’s the most important thing – the internship confirms our passion for the subject.”
Shi Min had the opportunity to venture around Taipei and even picked up surfing! She aspires to own her very own interior design or architecture firm in the near future.
Like both graduates, we too feel uneasy jumping out of our comfort zones, and into new environments. But once we get the hang of it, get ready to shine! Internships not only help us learn and grow as a professional, it allows us to create bonds with others and make memories to last a lifetime.
Taking on an internship real soon? Show ‘em what TP students are made of! Strut your best knowledge and have a blast!