When I began studying at university, the urge to go live and work in another country had been growing intensely. Then, in April 2019, a unique opportunity was presented to me: complete an eight-month internship in Taiwan. I had only read the subject of the email when my heart began to flutter: I wasn’t even sure where Taiwan was geographically, but somehow, I knew this was where I was meant to be.
After three months of emails, phone calls and Skype interviews, I accepted a position at VIA Technologies, Inc., and before I knew it, I was flying out of Montreal. In the middle of my 18-hour flight, I finally acknowledged something really important: this was my first time in Asia and I had no idea what to expect.
My first day in Taiwan is one I will always remember. I went walking in Ximen with my newly acquired friend and soon-to-be fellow intern, Simona Petrova. It was a hot August day and the area was filled with people, vendors, ads and noise. A few hours later, we stumbled upon a parade,(up to this day I have no idea what it was about) and people started taking pictures not only with us, but also of us. Seven months later, Simona is now one of my closest friends and we often recall this day with hilarity and fondness.
Different Work Environments
When my internship began, it was definitely a change of pace from my previous work experiences, which mainly consisted of working irregular long hours on my feet. During my first few weeks, I learned what happens backstage in online promotion, trade show planning, and product development. Honestly speaking, I quickly started questioning my place at VIA, feeling like a fraud, thinking… who am I to say I understand what marketing really is from just a few classes at my university? Now, seven months later, I still have a long way to go before calling myself a marketing expert, but I have absolutely enjoyed learning and building my confidence, one promotion at a time.
Life in Taiwan
If you would ask me what impressed me the most about Taiwan, I wouldn’t be able to answer. Between swimming with turtles and mountain scooter rides, I’ve been continually impressed; even simple things such as weekly visits to different night markets still amaze me. A major bonus of Taiwan, in my personal opinion, is the amazing weather all year long. Coming from Canada where sub-zero temperatures are normal, the beautiful tropical weather of Taiwan is one in which I thrive.
Being a planner, I decided before my flight to create a bucket list of things I wanted to do and see, so I’d be ready to maximize my time in Taiwan. The list was pretty long, it had about fifty items and counting if I remember correctly. I’m not sure where this bucket list is now, and I have no idea if I have completed everything on it, but I wouldn’t trade these last seven months for the world. I’ve not only grown immensely as a person, but I’ve created life-long friends and memories that I will forever cherish.
No word will ever be powerful enough for me to describe how I am feeling about this once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve acquired hands on experience which no school would’ve been able to properly prepare me for, and I’m so thankful to have learned it all in an environment dedicated to shaping young professionals.
Starting an internship doesn’t mean you are running out of time to decide where you want your career to go: it simply means you are trying out different options. I took these last few months to really think about what I liked and didn’t like about my internship. As it happens, you don’t need to absolutely love everything you do. I’ve also come to realize that people often think marketing is about promoting a brand or a product, when in fact, it is a much broader, more complicated topic than that.
So if you are out there, reading this blog still wondering if you should apply for that internship, but you are too worried about whether you have the skills or not, take a leap of faith. You never know how you’ll end up changing your life.
Written by Kristina Rogojina, Intern at VIA Technologies, Inc.