To kick off my AIESEC experience after landing in Taipei on Dec 29th, 2011, I had my first local dinner with a lot of friendly trainees from all over the world at this popular Modern Toilet restaurant.
When I first found out that I was going to eat my first dinner in Taiwan out of a mini toilet bowl, I was quite nervous and a bit disgusted. Surprisingly, the food tasted great, though I still had a hard time retrieving my appetite even when it was time for dessert. This shocking yet unique dinner foreshadowed all the eye-opening experiences I was yet to encounter on this trip.
Fast forwarding two days, I arrived in Kaohsiung City by the famous high speed railway and with the help of AIESECers. There began my one-year AIESEC Global Internship Programme (GIP) at an electronics manufacturing company called Orient Semiconductor Electronics. I was extremely nervous and felt lost at the time since I didn’t know what to expect. I only knew four employees in the company because they had previously emailed me with warm greetings prior to my arrival. However, I got a lot of support from AIESEC members; they helped me with getting accommodation as well as adapting to the new culture.
At work, my title was Business Development Specialist and my duties included conducting research on new customers and markets, answering emails, organizing manufacturing schedules to ensure deadlines were met, and occasionally assisting other departments with their job functions, such as purchasing materials. This job position was very critical to the company. Under my manager’s supervision, I had to control the processes and schedules of new projects while keeping all team members on task by holding weekly meetings with the engineers to discuss the manufacturing requirements set by our customers and issues we had encountered.
Since I worked with so many people from different departments, I really took the chance to make a lot of friends at work. Not to mention, I also joined the company’s yoga and badminton clubs, which gave me plenty of opportunities to build good, long-lasting relationships with my colleagues. I really tried to be as proactive as possible by participating in every company sponsored event, dinner party, and sports activity.
I feel that I was very fortunate to have such amazing coworkers and mangers. Many of them invited me to travel or dine with their families and friends during the weekends. We climbed mountains, sunbathed on beaches, sailed on boats, toured nearby cities, and ate delicious authentic food. I even got the chance to be on a speedboat and to take part in a traditional festival that happens only once every three years.
On top of all these amazing experiences, I also participated in many AIESEC events where I had the opportunity to make friends with people all over the world, many of whom I still keep in touch with even today.
The AIESEC events that I enjoyed the most would be the Trainee Conference and Global Village in Hualien City. I got to experience Taiwanese culture with foreigners who were just like me. For our last day of the conference, we set up the Global Village event where we introduced our cultures and customs to the local people and tourists. I also got to meet another Canadian, so that was a bonus for me.
All of this is just a fraction of my incredible AIESEC experience in Taiwan. This internship helped me build my leadership skills and taught me many valuable lessons. If I was given the chance to reconsider this opportunity, I would definitely do it without any hesitation.