As my six-month internship at VIA draws to a close, I feel a genuine sense of sadness that my time here cannot be extended. Not only has the work itself been extremely enjoyable and rewarding, but, more importantly, the people I have been able to meet have all been amazing. I can confidently say an internship at VIA will undoubtedly be an experience you will not forget.
I have no shame in admitting that before arriving at the company, I was a little apprehensive. My degree back in the UK was in Sports Journalism, and so naturally I questioned my suitability for the role – how could my skills possibly be relevant in a technology company? This self-doubt was immediately put to rest on my first day. A meeting was held with my boss Richard who discussed my background and proceeded to outline what work he had in mind which could align with my skillset, as well as other areas which might be beneficial for me to explore.
I feel as though this instance exemplifies the kind of work environment you can expect at VIA. All your colleagues will be very accommodating and open to your ideas, with there being real room to pursue the kind of work which interests you. One of the main things that surprised me was the fact that the work you do is actually important, too. In previous internships I’ve had this definitely isn’t the case, and so it was refreshing to know that the work you complete is of value to the company.
I was based in VIA’s marketing department and under the supervision of my mentor, Dan. Despite his daily attempts of my Liverpudlian accent and constant dad jokes, Dan encompassed everything that was good about the company. He was very knowledgeable in his field and always provided help whenever it was needed – which was frequently in my case.
From my observations, this kind of behavior is evident in all departments. On occasions when you become unstuck, asking for assistance will never be treated with groans or frustration. Your work colleagues are always on hand to help and everyone in the office is very attentive and willing to give you their time. It is a very comfortable environment to be a part of.
Outside of work, Taipei itself is just a great place to live. Whether you’re into hiking, a foodie, or you like to party, the city is incredibly vibrant and always has activities going on. Even after being here for ten months, I feel as though there is still so much more for me to see and do. What really helps with getting around the city is the MRT. This public transportation system is super convenient and cheap, making exploration in Taipei a piece of cake.
Speaking of convenience, I must mention 7-11. These stores, to me, are a godsend. Being from the UK, shops like this do not exist, and honestly, I believe the possibilities may be endless. Not only are they 24/7 and pretty much present on every street, you are also able to buy train tickets, have them order you a taxi, and even pay your monthly phone bill. I’m expecting them to help deliver babies in the next few years.
If you have reservations about coming due to the difference in language or culture, then these should be cast aside. Taipei is one of the most welcoming cities you’ll ever step foot in – even when you have no knowledge of Mandarin. As long as you have access to the Google Translate app, you’ll get by just fine.
For me though, the best part about living here is exploring the marvels of this island when you have some downtime. Taiwan is most definitely a hidden gem in Asia, because it is still relatively unknown. When people think of East Asian countries they’d like to visit, they think of places like Japan, South Korea or China. Sadly, Taiwan never seems to come into people’s thoughts as a travel destination. Although this is a shame, in a way, it is to your benefit. The island’s many beaches are often almost deserted, and unless you go to a very famous tourist spot (such as Jiufen), you’ll find that a lot of the places you visit will be less crowded, in comparison to more popular tourist destinations in Asia.
Although this blog may read like a paid promotion article for a visit Taiwan page, in all my time here I genuinely have nothing to complain about. Working for VIA will help enhance your experience as you can enjoy coming into work, learn new things, and most importantly, meet amazing people.
Learn more about the VIA Internship Program here.