- Internship Duration: 24 weeks
- University: Carleton University
- Internship Program: Hong Kong Internship
- Industry sector: Human Resources
- Internship / Job tittle: Graduate Trainee (Recruitment Researcher and Finance Assistant)
- Key assignments: Helped the consultants to source candidates for legal, risk, compliance, sales, marketing & private banking industry sectors. Assisted the internal finance team with payroll and preparing various financial reports.
Having lived in Kenya for 18 years and then moving to Canada for university for 5, I grew accustomed to a very laid back, relaxed, quiet life. But life in Hong Kong is nothing like that – especially the quiet part.
What are you doing in Hong Kong?
I graduated from university in 2012 and decided to start off my career with something different like an internship abroad. Next Step Connections helped me secure a 6 months internship with an international recruitment consultancy, and the nature of the business is just like Hong Kong – fast paced, busy and exciting.
Being an international company, the culture is more relaxed and open. I was a bit hesitant as I don’t speak Cantonese but I quickly learnt that it is still fairly easy to get by and it hasn’t been an issue at my placement so far. And when all else fails, I just point.
Since the nature of the recruitment business keeps everyone constantly busy, I’ve had a chance to try out a few different areas of work. I’ve helped the consultants for legal, risk, compliance, sales and marketing and private banking as well as assisting the internal finance team with payroll and preparing various financial reports. I did not expect this level of responsibility and work being an international intern but the amount I’ve learnt in such a short period of time is fantastic!
My professional advice for students and fresh grads
If I had to give any advice for an internship abroad, it would be to apply for your internship well in advance. Interview processes can take some time depending on the company (I had 4 rounds of interviews before getting an offer) and visa processes can take some time too. If you’re used to the big apartments/houses with backyards and decks, don’t expect any of that here. Because of the lack of space in this big city, apartments can be very small and very expensive but it’s all part of the experience.
All in all, my experience so far has been great. I love where I work and the people are very supportive and very helpful and most importantly, I’m getting great work experience. I’ve got the opportunity to learn and train in areas that I might not have been able to and at the same time, I get the chance to live in and explore Hong Kong. Of course it’s challenging but that’s what makes it fun!
Having lived in Kenya, India and Canada I thought I’d adjust to life here quite easily but that was not the case. Nothing can prepare you for the rush hour train rides to work! My first week here I missed 5 trains one morning because I was so overwhelmed but I quickly learnt that I just have to do what everyone else does – push. That being said, the public transport system is quite convenient and organized. With such a large network, it’s really easy to get around.
There’s lots to do and see in Hong Kong but one thing I will always remember is happy hour, where drinks can be as cheap as USD$3. The food here is comparatively cheaper too, which makes going out and exploring all the more fun. My favorite places have to be the rooftop bars and restaurants because you can enjoy a meal with a fantastic view of the skyline. The best part is that there’ll always be a new place and different types of food to try everyday thanks to the cultural diversity of Hong Kong.