From shopping along Orchard Road’s designer boutiques to eating cheap (but tasty!) food at hawker centers, Singapore has it all. I spent this past summer interning at IBM Singapore where not only did I get the chance to learn a bit about management consulting, I also got the chance to discover a part of the world I had not previously been exposed to.
At IBM, I worked in the Global Business Services division. Under the guidance of the Strategy & Transformation lead, I worked on a project where my team helped implement Oracle software that would affect the way the client organization conducted its daily business. Some of the work I did involved creating materials for training sessions, updating process maps and a database, and helping draft proposals to attract clients. One of the coolest things I did as an intern was attend the World Cities Summit and meet global leaders. At the summit, I promoted IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign, which highlights how new innovative systems and solutions can be used to achieve sustainable development.
Outside of work, I had plenty of time to explore the island. The country has a westernized feel because it is exceptionally clean, the national language is English, and has a surprisingly diverse population. Its cosmopolitan downtown is home to 62-story skyscrapers with elegant rooftop bars, three quays, the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, and the Merlion (Singapore’s half-mermaid/half-lion mascot). Hop on the MRT or one of the Mercedes buses (the public transportation there puts SEPTA to shame) and take a short ride to Chinatown, Little India, or Arab Street. These nooks of different cultures transport you to distant places, where upon entering these communities, you feel like you’ve left Singapore.
One thing I learned is that Singaporeans love to eat. Staple foods include kaya toast and chicken-rice. You can find $3 satisfying meals at hawker centers or dine in five-star restaurants overlooking the Singapore River. Name any cuisine, and you are sure to find it on the island.
Given Singapore’s central location in Southeast Asia, travel to other countries is very easy. During my stay, I was able to fly over to Bangkok and do some sightseeing with friends as well visit Jakarta to spend a weekend with family. Both flights were about two hours in length and visas were available upon arrival, so no headache there. With so many cultures and sites to see, I would definitely recommend everyone to visit Southeast Asia!