Reflections: Conversations with Students on Short-Term Internships (STI)

By the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre

With the school term back in full swing, SMU students who took up overseas internship during the winter term break are now back in Singapore. As part of the Short-Term Internship Programme (STI) offered by the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre, several SMU students were in various ASEAN countries for a 5-week internship immersion. We catch up again with Jasper, Zixuan, Calista and Brian to find out how the ASEAN Short-Term Internship went for them.


Welcome back! What did you each accomplish at your internship?


Jasper (left) and Brian (right) with their colleagues


Jasper: I feel like I accomplished a lot over my internship! During my time there, I managed to assist in transforming work processes within Katadata, overseeing the different business units and improving their workflow to be more efficient. I saw the importance of having camaraderie within colleagues, especially in Indonesia where the culture is all around relationship building.

Zixuan: Through my internship, I was able to take a closer look at cryptocurrency markets and evaluate the profitability of regional exchanges across the board. I was tasked with curating a competitor analysis report, which was used to inform my company’s developmental plans for the new year.

Brian: Over the course of my internship, I was honored to be involved in a wind power project where my work had a direct impact towards the project’s operation. Together with my team, we came up with an optimised timeline and budget for the project. The development of this project will help contribute to the greater good of the society, where it aims to overcome the electricity shortages faced in certain parts of Vietnam and reduce the impact of power cuts which are detrimental to the economy and local livelihoods.

Calista: Through my internship at We Food, I established a data visualisation and analysis system to optimise operations. I really appreciate how my projects provided numerous opportunities to work closely with my colleagues. While refining the usability of the system, they were more than happy to share their thoughts and experiences — my boss was also encouraging and knowledgeable. It was an eye-opening experience which allowed me to understand the company from a ground-up approach, and I really appreciate the people I met and skills picked up over this internship.


How has the ASEAN Short-Term Internship developed you as a person?


Jasper out with his colleagues


Jasper: From this experience working overseas, I have learnt to develop interpersonal relationships with others. I try to prioritise getting to know my peers and establishing a relationship with them first before talking about work.

Zixuan: Personally, this experience honed my adaptability skills. As I encountered several unexpected changes throughout this internship, I was repeatedly pushed to reposition myself and find new momentum. Through changing task requirements, fluid work arrangements and even a company acquisition, I learnt to take a step back and readjust my expectations and routines accordingly.

Brian: Aside from work skills, this experience has certainly developed me as a person. Initially, I was concerned about the potential challenges that could arise from working in a new environment. However, through building closer relationships with my colleagues and learning to be more proactive at work, I gained more self-confidence which helped me overcome the fears that I initially had. I also grew to be more understanding by listening to varying perspectives from my colleagues, and being open to feedback for self-improvement.


Calista out and about with friends in Vietnam


Calista: I learnt to take things in stride. My best experiences from my time in Vietnam were often totally impromptu. I really enjoyed myself on an unplanned trip to Long An where I spent the day with my friends’ family! Being in a foreign environment also pushed me to be more self-reliant and resourceful as a whole.


How do you think this internship experience will be useful in your career?

Jasper: Through this ASEAN internship, I was exposed to many people from different cultures, and learning how to communicate and work with them has been nothing short of eye-opening. I’m certain this will help me in future when working with and relating to people from different backgrounds.

Zixuan: I believe that this experience in ASEAN has helped set my expectations of working in a foreign country, especially in the area of adaptability. As a final-year student, this experience inspired me to be more courageous in taking my first steps into the working world and to go beyond my comfort zone.

Brian: Going through the ASEAN internship was a significant milestone for me, as I had the opportunity to broaden my horizons by experiencing working in a fast-growing developing nation like Vietnam.

I also got to learn about the different emerging industries outside of my home country, and connect with industry professionals through attending networking events, industrial visits and company visits in Vietnam. This allowed me to consider the work opportunities available overseas.

Calista: For me, this internship has provided clarity on the fields I’m interested in pursuing. I appreciate that I got the opportunity to work for a firm which prioritises sustainability and health in every aspect of their operations. It really shows through their products and work ethics, and made this a fulfilling experience for me!


Any last thoughts on the ASEAN Short-Term Internship Programme?


SMU students back from their respective internships


Jasper: To anyone thinking of signing up, I would say go for it and step outside your comfort zone to work abroad. It will be an eye-opening experience to say the least, and you will gain both interpersonal soft skills as well as hard skills on the job. You will get to experience things you would not get to in Singapore!

Zixuan: If you’re looking to grow and push your personal boundaries — go for an ASEAN Internship!

Brian: Don’t hesitate to sign up for the ASEAN STI Programme as the overall experience is definitely worthwhile. Besides work, you get to make interesting discoveries about the country’s culture, experience living like the locals, travel around the country, expand your connections abroad and gain valuable experience through company visits and networking sessions. So do sign up for the AIP STI programme to gain a first-hand experience of what working abroad is like.

Calista: If you’re someone who thrives on change and appreciates exploring the unfamiliar, the STI is the perfect programme for you. It’s a totally different experience visiting a foreign country as an intern as compared to a tourist, and I would definitely do this again!



The ASEAN Internship Programme (AIP) and Short-Term Internship (STI) are part of the offerings provided by Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre (DKHMCC) to encourage students to build up an international network and be Global Citizens. Apply for a Summer AIP via OnTraC now.