In HKUST, many of our students spent a term or more overseas through exchange or internship program, nevertheless, India may not be a popular choice for most students but Homan Yueng, student of Mathematics and Economics chose and got the most out of it. Check out Homan’s story to learn his unique experience in his 9-month internship in India!
BSc (Math and Econ)
Can you briefly describe your working holiday experience, and what attracted you to do something different?
I spent 9 months working as a Business Development Executive in a software product company in Hyderabad, India. My key responsibility was to expand our business into the Greater China Region. We marketed our mobility solutions to IT specialists or CIOs through conference calls.
Since getting into HKUST, I was surprised by the fact that a lot of students put 99% of their time on academic or career-oriented activities like business case competition or part-time jobs. I surely did appreciate their determined effort in GPA and career pursuit. I wished I could be one of them, however, as for me I would expect to have a more “romantic” university life.
It’s a big world and I wanted to see more beyond Hong Kong. So doing, I believed it would add value to my whole life. I was lucky enough to have found a platform that provided overseas internship and I dived right in to take up an overseas job placement instead of an academic exchange for a gap year. Firstly, it provided salary that sufficed my livelihood in foreign country and I would not need money from home. Secondly, I could truly immerse myself into a foreign environment. I worked with local Indians software engineers and other interns from more than 15 countries. English was the only means of communication and this greatly improved my language skill. I had not aimed at doing something different but rather followed my heart to wherever it might lead!
What was the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you tackle it?
I faced a situation when I was on my way back to Hong Kong towards the end of my internship. I planned a one-month tour to 9 cities in India. The last 2 stops were Varanasi and Kolkata. I booked my train ticket from Varanasi to Kolkata through a travel agency. And I would fly home from Kolkata. I was expected to I arrive Kolkata 7 hours before the scheduled flight so that I would have enough time to reach the airport.
However few hours before leaving Varanasi, the travel agency informed me that the train, which I have booked, would be delayed for 12 hours. If I waited for the train I would have missed my flight. The agent found me a rickshaw to take me to the train station for there were usually few tickets especially reserved for foreigners. However, when I arrived at the train station, all confirmed tickets were sold out.
The agent left me at the train station and said that he had done his part and there would be nothing more that he could help. So I had to figure my way out of this predicament. I walked across different platforms to seek help but no station officers could advice me what to do. Eventually, a passenger advised me that I could get onto the train with a general ticket and pay additional charges to the conductor on board. Despite I would not be given a bed during the train ride but it was still a lawful trip and this was the usual practice in India! Immediately, I heeded his advice and got on the train. Sitting at the corner of passenger bed at the beginning, I later slept on the floor throughout the 12-hours train ride. I prayed no cockroaches would have climbed over me!
If you had a chance to re-do one thing in between, what would that be? Why?
I wished I could have learned how to play cricket, the national sport for India. In fact, I was not the athletic type so I kept giving myself excuses for not participating in sports. But when I came back to Hong Kong, I realized that there were no chances for me to learn and play the game again!
What would be your next mission in life? Why?
For sure I would start to work after graduation. All my dorm mates vowed to meet in 10 years if not in 5 years.
A group of 20 plus interns from over 15 countries lived together for more than 6 months. We became good friends and were in close ties as if it were our 2nd family. We decided to meet with one another in our respective countries: Hong Kong, Columbia, Bolivia, Belgium, and Russia…etc. in the future. And in fact, I have already met 7 of them here in Hong Kong and in the Philippines. Meeting old friends in different countries could add great values to my travels and I would try to do my very best to actualize our rendezvous!
Any motivational advice to your fellow schoolmates?
The hardest part in planning to go abroad was the time that you made up your mind to go! Once you had decided you moved one step forward, things would not be as difficult as you might imagine. Surely, there would be problems and difficulties but you could always find a way to solve them! It might not be the best way to tackle issues, but we all learned during the process.
We are still young. Don’t be a thinker, be a doer!
Source: Career Guide 2016