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My Southeast Asia Ventures: I once feared spending time alone, but my 6-month internship in Bangkok changed that

Southeast Asia might not be many young Singaporeans’ first choice as a destination for work or study, but some have taken a leap of faith and ventured into the region. TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts of those who have spent time in Singapore’s closest neighbours for a variety of meaningful pursuits.

In this instalment, Ms Jade Yee, 22, who recently completed a six-month internship at a swimwear brand in Bangkok, recounts her initial worry over being alone in an unfamiliar place. However, she soon realised that “if you don’t try to do anything new, you won’t learn or grow”.

I worked so closely with Min and the rest of the small team that it felt like a family working together. My opinions were just as valued as everyone else’s, and I cheered along with everyone else when we had a successful launch.

Because of my fluency in English, Min relied on me in areas of the business that required the language. My Mandarin also had a refresher due to the large volume of customers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

I also became more confident there. In Singapore, I took a couple of dance classes but didn’t feel like I was good enough to continue. Living in a new environment pushed me so far out of my comfort zone that I was willing to go even further.

I signed up for dance classes in Bangkok, and at first, I was nervous about learning in an unfamiliar language and in a studio where I knew no one. But the dance community in Thailand was very welcoming despite the language barrier and I made many friends there.

I even took part in my first ever studio dance showcase in November 2022. I was so moved when my “Thai mum” Min and “family” at Aprilpoolday even visited my showcase to lend their support.

The biggest lesson I learnt in my amazing six months there would be to take the leap. I used to fear spending time alone but I realised that if you don’t try to do anything new, you won’t learn or grow.

During my time there, I had ample opportunity to learn to be comfortable with doing things alone and now I know I can do the same back in Singapore. That said, the Thais are all friendly and very encouraging so befriend them and you’ll experience the country in a totally unexpected way. 

 

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Ms Jade Yee, 22, is a second-year Business undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University. She is enthusiastic about all things fashion and beauty and is currently pursuing her love for dance. 

If you have an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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